Traditional vs. Smartwatches: Which Are Better?

In the world of watches, there’s a frequent discussion comparing and contrasting traditional watches with smartwatches. Each has its own set of features and benefits, but it boils down to personal preference — what do you need for your lifestyle, your day-to-day activities, your wardrobe?

Ultimately, the one non-negotiable factor for a watch is that it accurately tells the time. Other than that shared ground, the two types of watches in question have little in common.

Sure, a smartwatch can tell you who is calling, alert you of upcoming meetings and maybe even track the number of steps you took all day. So with those features available and ready to be strapped onto your wrist, why do many people opt for a more traditional watch build?

Why do people still prefer traditional watches?

From the art of the craft to the materials used, there are several reasons why many people still prefer traditional watches over smartwatches.


There is a true art and craft to the making of a traditional watch. Watchmaking, and specifically luxury watchmaking, is a trade that is held in high regard for good reasons — it’s incredibly specific, takes time to learn and has a long history.

And, traditional watches hold their value over time — the thing itself is a symbol of time passing, making it a sentimental gift for occasions like weddings, graduations or promotions. Traditional watches — especially high-quality ones that are built with endurance in mind, like ours at Hook+Gaff — have a significantly longer life span than their smartwatch counterparts. Besides regular maintenance and occasional cleaning, traditional watches don’t need anything to stay up-to-date, whereas smartwatches quickly become outdated.


One inarguable edge that traditional watches have over smartwatches is durability. More specifically, Hook+Gaff watches feature superior durability to most watches on the market because they were built to put up with salty days on the water, hot afternoons on the golf course and wet mornings in flooded timber.

Smartwatches are typically made from low-cost materials, because their main feature isn’t sturdiness. Conversely, Hook+Gaff watch designs revolve around performance-proven materials that can stand up to outdoor pursuits. The cases on Hook+Gaff watches are made from long-lasting materials like a high-grade titanium, brushed surgical stainless steel, or surgical-grade stainless steel.


The classic aesthetic of a traditional watch simply never goes out of style. Sure, watch faces vary and watches come in all shapes and sizes, but there is something timeless about a classic watch. Of course, some smartwatch makers have attempted to create a more sleek design, and plenty of hybrid watches are attempting to achieve something in the middle — but it’s just not the same.

Battery life

Even if you can get on board with all of the bells and whistles of a smartwatch, there is one major drawback in every iteration of it: a short battery life. Like your smartphone, a smartwatch must be charged up before use. On average, a smartwatch charge will last you about 18 hours of use. That’s not quite a full day. On the other hand, watches with Swiss quartz movements typically operate anywhere from one to three years on the same battery, and an automatic mechanical watch doesn’t need a battery at all.

So, which is better? Traditional watch vs. smartwatch

Here at Hook+Gaff, we receive one question pretty commonly: “What can your watch do that my smartwatch can’t?”

Our answer to that: Everything.

The reality of life in the 21st century is that we wake up to technology, drive with technology, work with technology and come home to watch technology. Building a watch that intentionally moves us away from that constriction to screen time was a leading factor in the very first Hook+Gaff creation.

In a world that moves so rapidly, it’s hard to feel like there’s enough time in the day for the things that truly matter: family, hobbies, passions and friends. We didn’t want or need a watch that talks to us when we’re spending time doing the things we love. So, we built a watch that can keep up with the action-oriented, high-impact, outdoor-centric lives we lead — and all the while remind us to slow down and enjoy life’s joys.

Hook+Gaff President Michael Sims puts it best:

“People are engulfed in their smart devices. And I wanted to escape these things. We made a watch because we wanted to remind people that leading a life with time well spent is more important than the busyness of everyday life. At the end of my days, I want to look back and know that I spent my days wisely. And when I look down at my Hook+Gaff watch — yes, it speaks to my lifestyle, yes, it’s a classic aesthetic — but it’s a constant reminder that every second that goes by is time spent. I want to know that I’m spending my time wisely — spending it with the people I love doing the things I love to do.”

To hear everything else Michael has to say about how Hook+Gaff got started and why it’s different, watch the full video now!


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