Do You Wear a Watch to Tell Time?

The last time my phone broke I went into a full-out panic—not because I would have to sell my soul to buy another (which I did, and so if you’re confused about why the pupils of my eyes lead into a dark abyss, there you have it) but because I had no idea how on earth I was going to wake up for work the next day; I don’t own a clock, my rooster quit a few weeks earlier, and as for watches?

I own three…but none of them actually work.

They do, however, decorate my arm in the most complimentary fashion when paired with a few bangles and the band around my wrist which designated me Of Age to drink at a Taylor Swift concert.

Leandra also wears watches as decoration. In fact, a few years ago she used to wear two at a time. It looked cool but confused everyone and if you’ve read her book (SHAMELESS BUTT-PLUG: if you haven’t read it, check it here) then you know that while the two men she fully accosted on the subway had no problem with her all-denim ensemble of the day, one did ask, “Why the fuck are you wearing two watches?”

Because watches have become jewelry. 


One could argue that watches have always been designed as a type of jewelry, but up until the omnipresence of the cell phone, watches had a purpose other than decoration. I think my dad is the last human being I’m aware of who actually uses his watch to tell time. It’s called an Easy Reader because the numbers are so large and the face lights up should he be confronted with a time-telling scenario in a dark room.

It may seem we’re really hating on phones as of late — or at least questioning their effect on our own generation. No matter what, we still need them, and I’m probably going to call back the asshole who has my collateral soul to see if I can possibly upgrade to the newest iPhone model (maybe he’d take a toe or something. I just really want the gold case!), but what if we turned back time and started using watches as watches again?

Let’s do it together. If not for the sake my soul or our Gen-Y happiness, than perhaps in the name of Lewis Carroll and his very late white rabbit. I can’t bear the thought of reading Alice in Wonderland to my future daughter and having to explain what a pocket watch is.

And now it’s your turn, Chesire Cats and meme-y kittens; tell us, do you wear a watch to tell time? Will you? Should you? Or do you just let it dangle off your wrist like an awesome piece of jewelry?


 Plaid-o-watches, found here: Braun x Dieter Rams at Mr. Porter, 24/7 Wrap Around watch and Moustache Face at ASOS.  Gold, orange, pink and white watches are Leandra’s own. They may or may not still tell time. Street style image: photographer unknown, (and if you know, tell us!). Illustration by John Tenniel from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, photoshopped by Charlotte Fassler.

  • I totally use mine to tell time. If my phone is in my bag or pocket, I’m not pulling it out just to check the time if I’m wearing a watch. That said, it has definitely taken me half a day to realize my watch battery was dead, so it’s not like I’m glancing at it constantly.

  • Katla Einars

    I always wear watches to tell time. I have many different styles and colors, they all work and are all used so I can know what time it is. There are so many reasons not to keep checking my phone just to know the time. Watches also look so much better than pulling out a phone.

  • My phone is always with me so I don’t need watch at all

  • matestinha

    My golden watch (yes, it has to shine as well as tell time) accompanies me every day so I can know what time is it. As a matter of fact, it happened as a collateral effect of iPhone fever – I couldn’t stand my hands in constant search for my phone to tell time as every once in a while it ended up in browsing Facebook or whatever else (to the point that when I locked the phone I have already forgotten what time it was when I took it). So I bought a wrist watch.

    And yes, it worked.

  • Eline Dekyvere

    I use mine to tell time, but my boyfriend doesn’t. That’s probably why he likes the modern square type watches and I prefer more classic ones.

  • Jessica

    I loathe the chore of digging my phone out from the depths of my purse to figure out what time it is. When using the iPhone in all its glory, I bypass that telling front screen displaying the time and date, swiping (thanks, iOS 7) directly to the passcode prompt to do/access whatever it was I was trying to do/access. I hardly ever remember that I can glance up to the top of the screen to tell the time – when asked, I flick my wrist slightly counter-clockwise and glance at the roman numerals to give an answer.

    I wear a gold Michael Kors watch daily to tell the time, and to anchor two or three more choice jewelry pieces. Yes, it looks like part of a carefully selected stack, but it’s not just for decoration.


  • Clare K

    When I was about 18 I had a Karen Millen wristwatch that consisted of a leather strap with a small silver padlock on it. The watch face was on the padlock. I loved it and recieved many compliments and curious questions . Maybe I should go back to wearing it if I can dig it out – I’m sick of holding a phone in my hand all the time.

    • Some Man

      Then maybe you should put your phone away.

  • Chrissabella

    Love this post … and sadly I only use my phone to tell the time so sometimes when i cook or do try do boil a perfect soft egg and don’t have my phone on my I do panic a little 🙂

    This is a great reminder for fixing my lovely watch and start wearing and using it again!

    Chris x

  • Artemis Grey

    I do use my phone to tell time. I do it simply because I am a strange sort of person who cannot wear watches. No matter how fine or expensive they are, they all stop working after varying amounts of time. And I’m not talking years. I’m talking months. At best. Cheap watches suffer the same fate. I’ve had several looked at and the professionals all ended up scratching their heads and saying ‘There IS no reason for it to not be working.’ On occasion, after the watch sat at the jewelers for a few days, it spontaneously began to work. Only to stop shortly after I put it back on my arm. Anyway, my phone has thus become my ‘watch’. I still own one beloved man’s Bulova, which I wear on rare occasion, but I don’t dare keep it on for long.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I’ve actually heard about this! I have another friend who claims that she makes all her watches stop working. You must have a cool superpower.

  • Iréne Shûkriya-Dutta Scharief

    I use my watch to tell time all the time, unless I have my phone on my hand 🙂

  • Wind-up bird

    I always use my watch! I won’t buy one unless I can actually use it to tell time (i.e. I don’t buy watches that lack numbers or an equivalent), because then it really is just a bracelet.

  • Katerina

    I LOVE watches and do wear them for the time. Not only can they be a great statement piece, but hey, they’re actually useful!! I find it a little sad that we just hold onto our phones 24/7 to “check the time”, which then leads to you just “checking facebook” and “posting on instagram” and before you know it, you’re finding out your exact coordinates because you’ve gone through every other app on your phone. Place your phone in your bag/pocket/ anywhere but the palm of your hand, and why not give in to another trend from way back? The good ol’ wrist watch. Pairs very well with a cropped tee.

  • SigneFejrskov

    I wear a watch every day, both to tell time and also as decoration. That’s why I have 6 watches, each in their own different style.

  • Ashlyn

    Yeah…I have the same Timex Easy Reader that you mention, and have actually used it to tell time in a dark room! They look just like the Weekender but are cheaper.

  • fbcreations

    I am picky at watches as I am with shoes. I own two that I have coveted since I was 10 and finally was able to own them. I wear them (one at a time). I feel naked without and look at them for the time. Does that mean I belong to Gen X?
    Also, when I see people referring to the phone for the time I find it un-chic. Don’t mean to offend anyone, it is just my opinion. It’s like for Americans calling the bathroom toilet sounds off, same idea.

  • Edye

    I wear a beautiful watch almost daily- black leather band, gold faced, and diamonds at 12,3,6, and 9. It has required a 650.00 new battery for months now. doesn’t bother me though, I don’t wear it to tell time.

  • Whitney

    I do wear a watch on a daily basis, as a matter of fact, my wrist feels naked without one. I started wearing them because I actually forgot how to read a clock, but anytime someone asks for the time, I still pull out m y phone to check. Silly me..

    • Lynn

  • bloomaglow

    Definitely use my phone as a clock, watch, etc

  • Emilie

    I use my watch to tell time .. it’s the sole purpose of it!
    I’ve always thought it was considered as jewelry though, I absolutely love a good watch.
    Every time I get new one it’s always for something particular, like my first ever watch, the first one I bought for myself, the one I got for my 18th etc.. They all have sentimental values and I love all of them and if I’m not wearing one I feel naked. (Just like if I’m not wearing my rings and necklaces I feel like shit.)

    I do use my phone as an alarm clock though !
    (My phone broke once and I was genuinely wondering how I woke up before that ha)

  • Long live the watch! I use it all day everyday and frankly feel lost without it. Although, I am guilty of always checking my phone.

    Your Friend, Jess

  • This was such a delight to read. Thanks Leandra for brightening my day with your thoughts on the classic watch.

  • marita_hunt

    Yes! I have a little $15 aluminum Casio watch that i’ve had for years and has become one of my dearest possessions, both as jewelry and a time piece. I think that the fact that it’s useful has helped it to become more precious. Its influence on everything else that I wear has definitely increased over time too.

  • Stone Edward Estok

    When I’m being serious I wear my Cartier. When I’m out I wear my non working classic leather strap no name.

  • Jacqui

    Uh, I’m 20 and I use my watch to tell time..

  • Bangs Zaldivar

    I buy watches for its colors, design, size, etc. When the battery expires, I wear them anyway to match my outfit, and my current state of artfulness. My phone shows time perfectly.

  • Ali

    I too, have three watches. All of them happen to tell time, but when the battery dies, what are the odds of me actually replacing it?
    I got a watch because I usually don’t have my phone at work so as of right now my watch is the ONLY way to tell if the time is passing. So, not only is it a perfect accessory but it is serving its proper purpose, for now.

  • Scott Poborsa

    I use mine everyday. I love the style a watch can add to my outfit and I find it brings back some great pre-cellphone memories every time i look at it and read the time in its awesome analog fashion. I have various watches that match various sunglasses and outfits and all of them are super simple but very impactful for an outfit. I am all for bringing back watches both as functional style

  • Jill

    I totally wear one to tell time. I love watches and always have! I own about ten of them. And I would NEVER wear one just as a “bracelet” – sorry, Leandra, and anyone else who has done this…it makes no sense to me.

  • Fani Guda

    I wear a watch 24/7. I can not live without it.

  • crispusbett

    I still wear my watch today..but then again only when I have worn a short sleeved shirt. Worse, Even in those cases, My phone still serves me well. My watch as you clearly said, is just a decoration:)

  • Marta Pozzan

    Wearing a watch is kinda old fashion, but they go well with cuffs…

  • Sharon

    I once wore two watches at once. Not for aesthetics but my paranoia. What if my phone runs out of battery and one suddenly breaks?

  • joice oliveira

    My uncle watchmaker known and graduated. Once told me … what time is in the eyes of those who live in a hurry! Kisses /

  • Yes I do. Love watches and own seven of them. All of which, work pretty fine. I only use my phone to tell the time if I am not wearing my watch. Also, if I have my phone in my hand I still check my watch.

  • Stefany

    Since my phone broke two years ago, it was totally time to get a watch to tell time. Since then, my watch collection has been growing, as for time telling in first case but I think a timepiece can actually dress your whole look up if you will to. And you can always count on your watch if the battery on your phone is dying.

  • I use watch as what it is made for: to tell time. But sometimes i would like to try wearing more than just one–you know, just to annoy people.

    Cheers from Jakarta,

  • Lisa

    Yes, and it’s the right time, the only thing I make sure tells the right time. I have two watches. I want better watches, more classic, more quality but I don’t want to pay a lot for them because they aren’t necessary, they are just nice. In the same way a real book is nice not a kobo not a kindle.

  • Alejandra

    It wasn’t until the day I was taking off my watch and realized I put it on upside down that not once did I look at it to check time during the day…

  • jassyonyae

    I don’t have a watch, and would love to for work so I am not tempted to look at my cell phone

  • Paulina Reyes

    I can’t leave my place without my watch. I wear it to stay in control, to keep track of the time…

  • JessePinkman

    I wear a watch because I forget what time it is one second after I look at the time, so a phone would have to constantly be in my face. My watch can take nonchalant glances all day. And aslo to know the day and date, because those arbitrary things mean nothing to me, but I need to know sometimes.

  • John

    Check this watches if you really want to impress and be remarked: