Slow Watch review: Life is better when you go by approximate time [Video]

slow watch review

What would happen if you took a standard watch, removed the minute hand and only let it make one rotation per day? You’d get the 24-hour Slow Watch.

This unique and eye-catching watch doesn’t just look different – it’s designed around an entirely different philosophy for incorporating time into your life. Read on to learn more!

I’ve been testing out the Slow Watch for about 6 weeks now. And never before have I had so many people come up to me and ask me about my watch. It’s eye-catching and beautiful, in my opinion. There are a number of customizable designs available, but mine is an anthracite case with a dark brown leather band and a blue dial.

Yet despite the Slow Watch’s attractive craftsmanship, most people approach me because they realized my watch is missing a hand and that something also looks a bit off.

They’re right. It’s a bit off. Here’s how the Slow Watch works:

It lacks a seconds or minutes hand and instead features a 24 hour dial. Each tick mark on the dial represents 15 minutes. The Swiss movement is accurate – it just isn’t precise. You can tell time to within around 2 or 3 minutes, but not down to the exact minute or second like a standard watch.

And that’s kind of the whole point.

The Slow Watch doesn’t care about minutes or seconds. The whole idea is that people shouldn’t get too caught up in seconds, wasting their lives worrying about the difference that a couple minutes makes. Instead, people should spend their hours doing the things they love and enjoy, not fretting over which minute in the day it is.

That’s the idea, anyways.

And now you’re probably in one of two groups. You either read that description and thought, “That’s a nice philosophy” or else you scoffed at the concept and consider it “not something you can use in the real world”.

If you find yourself in the second category, then do me a favor and give me 4 minutes of your time to tell you why I was once like you, but have since fallen in love with the Slow Watch. Or approximately 4 minutes – I’m wearing my Slow Watch right now and so I’m going to have to sort of judge these 4 minutes by feel.

Why the Slow Watch makes life smoother

I used to be addicted to time. By that I mean the exact time. I wore a digital watch because I didn’t just want to know what minute it was, but I wanted more granular data. Was it two minutes to nine o’clock, or two and half minutes?

And while always knowing the exact time made me feel good, I knew it wasn’t always healthy. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to find ways to live my life more naturally. Nothing too hippy dippy, but just feeling a bit more connected to the actual world as opposed to the digital world.

And so when I heard about the Slow Watch and its “live your day more naturally” ethos, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

The watch is beautiful of course. The simplicity of the single hand matches well with the conspicuous yet not over-the-top 24-hour dial. The case is classy and the leather band adds even more natural vibes to the design. And with 10 atm water resistance, I don’t have to worry about the occasional splash or swim.

But while I love the look and build quality, it still took a few days to get used to the watch. Living in a 24-hour clock country meant the 24-hour time wasn’t an issue – but the single hand was. With only 15 minute intervals on the dial, I was rarely reading time more accurately than +/-5 minutes. But over the first few days it turned into a game of me reading the time aloud every few hours while my wife rolling her eyes when I cheer about how close I got that time.

Within a few days I was regularly landing within 2-3 minutes of the actual time. A few times I’d even hit it exactly or be off by a single minute. As I grew accustomed to the Slow Watch, I learned to read it quicker and with greater precision.

Now 6 weeks later I’m usually within +/-2 minutes, which is pretty much as good as I need. I don’t really want it to be any more accurate than that, largely because I’ve totally bought into and accepted this “minutes aren’t critical” philosophy. I get up around 06:00, I eat around 08:00 and I try to be at my desk by around 09:00.

If I get up at 06:03 and eat at 07:58, then no harm, no foul. My life goes on just as it always did, minus a bit of stress over the time. The world keeps turning and the set keeps setting, right on schedule. Time continues on, whether I’m aware of the exact minute or not.

I normally try to walk my dog in the afternoon around 16:00. But if I take her out at 16:05 now, she’ll be fine. She doesn’t know the exact minute either and I can tell she’s pretty content with life. In fact, if I looked as happy as my dog looks most of the time, I’d say I’m doing something right.

Sure, there are times when knowing the exact time can be helpful. Fortunately, I live in a modern world and have a very expensive timepiece in my pocket known as an iPhone. If I ever need the exact time, I pull out my phone and glance at the lock screen. It takes about two seconds longer than looking at my wrist – an amount of time that isn’t even perceptible on my Slow Watch. And if the amount of time isn’t perceptible, then why would I ever care about it?

While I relied on my phone more in the beginning, I almost never check the time on it anymore. Even for important things like flights, my Slow Watch is all I need. I recently flew to NYC for work to test ride the yet to be released Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle (it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it). I had a flight at 09:00, but it’s not like it mattered if I got to the airport at 07:41 versus 07:43. I got there about an hour and fifteen minutes before my flight and that was that. The lack of precision in the time was actually comforting to me. I used to stress out about airport times, always doing the math to get my precise leave-the-house time. Now I get to the airport around an hour and half before my flight. No muss, no fuss. And no stress.

In a time where watches are getting smarter and doing more, sometimes it’s nice to have a watch that does less. All I want to know is approximately how far into the day it is. That’s all I need out of my watch. And that’s all the Slow Watch gives me.

If the hand is on the left side of the dial, I’ve only started my day. If it’s near the top, I’m about half way through. And by the time it reaches the bottom, I should really be heading to bed. It’s basically a fuel gauge, but for my day. Like a time gauge, I suppose. Wait, what’s another word for a time gauge?

Of course there will always be people whose lifestyles don’t afford them the kind of luxury that “approximate time” offers. If being at your desk two minutes late would get you fired, then this might not be the watch for you.

In the grand scheme of things though, two minutes isn’t going to change much of anything in most of our lives. But learning to forget about what two minutes means, and instead focusing on what you could be doing with the minutes in your life, that actually could have a bigger impact on our lives.

Oh, and the fact that my wife thinks my Slow Watch looks sexy on me, well that’s just icing on the cake.

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