Fashion or Function? The Orient CEZ05002B

December 30th, 2010 | 1 Comment

The debate about fashion over function is nothing new, especially in the case of wristwatches like the CEZ05002B.

There are many complications watches can have, and they all have some functional purpose. Power reserve indicators, semi-skeleton dials, and tachymeters are all examples of complications that add a functionality to a wristwatch beyond its normal timekeeping abilities.

But people don’t always use these functions. For some, it’s a matter of what looks good.

They’ll sport a tachymeter watch like the Orient CFM00001B but never use the tachymeter to measure the speed of an object. They’ll wear a chronograph watch but never use the alarm. The Orient CEZ05003B, its black-banded brother, looks cool, but some don’t actually use it to check the date. That’s what calendars or cell phones are for, right?

The History of Wristwatches
I’d guess the shift from wristwatch complications as practical and functional details to their merely aesthetic appeal has to do with the advancement of technology as a whole. Sport watches used to be designed as essential tools for adventurers, but that’s changed as new technologies have come along to replace them.

The Rolex Explorer II, introduced in 1971, was geared toward cave explorers. The Explorer series is still very popular today, but for very different reasons. It’s worn as a fashion accessory and hardly ever sees the inside of a cave.

Diver watches, which are able to withstand the harmful elements of saturation diving, used to be essential for divers to measure elapsed dive time. Today, however, small computers can be used to do the same thing, so a diver watch isn’t essential. Many people wear them who don’t even dive.

Aviation watches used to be necessary for navigation, but thanks to GPS, they’re no longer needed and are worn as a fun and sporty fashion accessory.

The Future of Wristwatches
What does this mean for the future of wristwatches? Although they’ve morphed from necessary tools to fashion accessories appreciated more for their aesthetic appeal, like the Orient CEZ05002B, the industries and athletes they were manufactured for were the initial inspiration behind their design.

Will the future see design inspirations stemming from newer industries? That’s the question one member on the forum WatchUSeek posed:

“So the question is, have these kinds of watches become nothing more than fashions rather than the work horses they were designed to be? And if so, what industries are going to drive watch design forward in the modern world?” he asks.

The appeal of these models was largely due to the consumer’s desire to be like the role models who wore them originally. Someone might buy an aviation style watch because they want to be like a famous aviator like Charles Lindbergh, or they might purchase the CEZ05002B racing watch to be like their role models in the racing industry.

So when the industries they were created for no longer need them, will the watches still hold that appeal, or will new role models, bikers and runners, for example, shape watch design as a response to a new generation of people to aspire to?

Or will divers, racing watches, and aviation watches continue to be popular for the same reasons, even though they’re not used by divers, racers, and aviators today?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

  1. 1 Comment | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Jason on Jan 11, 2011

    While I am one that carries multiple “things” that keep time; for some unknown reason I find myself being more drawn to watches in the past several years that ever. I seriously doubt that wrist watches will disappear, especially in the case of luxury brand watches, which do fulfill the niche of jewelry as well as functionality. It’s similar to the concept of driving luxury cars. Does anyone really NEED to drive a car that costs $100,000+ with 500+ horsepower? No, but it sure can be fun!

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