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Editorial - Your children's education could be slowly killing watch brands

Editorial Your children's education could be slowly killing watch brands

The "traditional" watch industry appears to be facing a worrying threat...

There is nothing like a click-bait style headline to get your attention, is there? The quartz movement may not have killed off the mechanical watch (although it came very close) and the smart watch has failed to lead to the doom and gloom that certain commentators were predicting a couple of years ago. But news this week suggests that the "traditional" watch industry is facing an altogether more worrying threat to its existence.

The UK has been shocked over the past couple of weeks by stories that some schools were removing analogue clocks from exam rooms because students were unable to read them. Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), even went as far as to suggest that "having a traditional clock in the [exam] room could be a cause of unnecessary stress." 

It would appear that what is second nature to the more mature generation should not be taken for granted amongst the young. Having grown up with digital devices, they are more familiar with reading the time in a digital format. UK reality TV star Joey Essex, for example, appears genuinely unable to tell the time. It’s easy to poke fun at him, but who knows how many other less-famous people of his generation have the same problem? Luckily for Mr Essex, it does not stop him flaunting a gold Rolex as a fashion accessory.

So should watch brands be reserving a proportion of their marketing budgets for education? Should the Swiss Watch Industry Federation and the FHH be lobbying governments worldwide on the importance of learning to tell the time? How can we expect the next generation to grasp retrograde displays and grand complications if the youth of today are already having trouble mastering reading the industry's most basic three-hand design?

Perhaps this is a problem that is too big even for the Swiss watch industry. If, like me, you commute to work every day, you will undoubtedly be surrounded by people looking at, listening to or talking to a small rectangular device. Those not doing so are now the exception. On a much-delayed and heavily overcrowded train (very unusual for Switzerland) last week, I was approached, along with my fellow standing passengers, by a Swiss TV reporter who wanted to film us because she was preparing a report on our addiction to mobile phones. As I looked around, there wasn't a single person in the carriage who didn't have their eyes fixed on a phone. But then again, when you're standing on an overcrowded train, there are few other ways to pass the time...

The first numbers ever used date back to the Sumerian writing system that was recorded over 5,000 years ago. The Sumerians had signs for 1, 10, 60, 600 and 3,600, setting the foundations for the base 6 system that is the very cornerstone of how we tell the time and how we divide a circle into degrees (which is indispensable for anyone who grew up needing to read maps and navigate with a compass). It would be a shame to lose this legacy that has endured for millennia just because our overdependence on our smartphones makes things far too easy for us. 

Lecture 5 Comment(s)

12 May 2018
ANDRE Chardon
Apres la casse des maths moderne et de la lecture méthode globale nous sommes revenus en arrière 30 ans plus tard, il faut bien rémunérer les apprentis sorcier pour poursuivre une évolution idiote au nom de la modernité . Pourquoi certaines montres connectées ont pour cadran des aiguilles digitales. l 'heure c'est l'heure , les minutes sont les minutes et pareil pour les secondes
7 May 2018
Fernandez Rafael
What a scary thought, the future looks dark without certain arts and abilities that are rapidly disappering from our lives.
7 May 2018
jean-pierre Emery
sans s'appesantir sur l'addiction des téléphones portables: une expérience intéressante, des étudiants ont fait pousser du cresson dans 2 endroits semblables, un sans interférences externes l'autre sous influence Wi-fi. résultat, le cresson sous influence wi-fi a crevé et l'autre a poussé normalement. a méditer ! donc militons pour la montre mécanique.
7 May 2018
tRES ETONNANT CET ARTICLE... Pourtant Les enfants apprennent rapidement et aisement, seulement, dans ce cas précis, peut être que la nouvelle generation de professeurs des ecoles ( deja addicts aux smartphones depuis longtemps ) sont peut etre, eux mêmes, tres peu a l'aise avec la lecture de l'heure analogique, et ont du mal à comprendre l'interet d'enseigner quelque chose qui leur est inutile....et non spontané
7 May 2018
Julie Tift
It should be very worrying to everyone that children aren't being taught how to tell the time - anyway it can be told/read. Why is it such a problem? it was never a problem for us at school/home when we were young. what are the teachers doing?