The Harold watch

Apple has a fancy new watch, which can be customized to cost $10,000 if one is so inclined. I have a cheaper model. It costs about $2,500. It also comes with rain protection, night illumination, a radio, and a small but useful storage.compartment.

$2500 analog model (Also available in rust).
$2500 analog model (Also available in rust).

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

9 thoughts on “The Harold watch”

  1. Mine cost about $100 each; one makes 12 cups of coffee in about 10 minutes, and the other heats a cup of coffee in a minute.

  2. I have inherited a nice solar powered watch very like this. It has kept perfect time without batteries or winding since 1700, provided you make the right adjustments for magnetic north – the table engraved on the back is a bit out of date. I have no idea whether it served some aide-de-camp at Malplaquet or on which side.

    Only old people like us wear watches now. The young all keep their mobile phones with them every waking minute, including an accurate watch and calendar. The screens and keyboards of smartphones are the smallest compatible for regular use with human eyes and fingers. What is the point of a Dick Tracy wrist communicator?

    1. Watch and calendar are fine. Who cares? But the phone's use as a texting device is a problem. There has been a lot of talk about driving while texting, but almost none about the problem of walking while texting.

      It's mildly terrifying to be walking down the street and see someone coming at you, eyes glued to the screen. Come on people!! Look where you're going. Surely that message can wait a few minutes. and if not, how about stepping to one side, stopping, and dealing with it rather than endangering everyone in your path.

    2. My problem is this – I keep my iPhone in a pocket of my shoulder bag. The cloth is fairly sturdy and apparently sound absorbent. When I am out on the street, I do not hear the ring tone. I certainly do not hear the beep of a new message. I could use something that alerted me that my iPhone needs attention. I would pay something for such a device, just not very much.

    3. So, is that a joke? Or did people really have solar power in the 1700s? If so, the wikipedia entry needs work.

      I would say, the point of a Dick Tracy watch is just to have fun. I agree that no one needs one really. I mean, maybe a serious cyclist or some such, but still, most of us can be away from the phone a couple hours and nothing bad happens.

      Personally, I find those little calculator watches kind of sexy, now that it is cool to be a nerd. Still not necessary, of course. Just fun.

  3. Since you need an iPhone to use the Apple Watch, and since the iPhone does everything the watch does, only better, Apple has finally produced an ideal Veblen good: something no one needs and everyone wants.

  4. Well, given that there are 100 million people who aren't millennials and therefor don't use their phones as watches (my wife and all her friends keep their phones in their purses. How about your wives, gentlemen?) there are a few other features that might be useful. But don't let me stop the snark from rolling along: your "get off my lawn" vibe is kind of funny, if a bit predictable and a little sad.

  5. I actually heard a thrilled business reporter explain that the Apple watch would LET YOU TELL THE TIME WITHOUT HAVING TO LOOK AT YOUR PHONE.

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