watches - analog vs digital


TimeNavigator’s response to “Discard Digital Watches? Not So Fast!”  This was an earlier post about the Detroit School System’s going back to teaching with analog clocks.

When I was a young computer analyst, I was what some might call an “early adopter”  … you know, that guy that runs out and buys every new electronic gadget that comes out.  So when the first affordable digital watches came out, I knew I had to have one.

My first digital watch was a beauty. It had (I thought) a real coolness factor. Get this … it used red LEDs for the numbers! You had to press a button to get ’em to light up and shine through the watch’s dark crystal. And you could see what time it was in the movie theater without being irradiated by the radium dial on your wristwatch!

(Glow-in-the-dark wristwatches with radium dials … now that  was cool … Too bad someone had to figure out that they were not as safe for your health as first thought. Especially for the manufacturers.)

The first thing that struck me about my new watch was this. It told you the exact time, but it wasn’t so good at giving you’re a sense of where you were in your hour or day.

To know that, it took mental arithmetic and a mathematical interpretation of the result to sense whether a new hour was just starting, halfway through or almost over.

Now for a computer analyst, doing that calculation was trivial. But the fact remained that you had to be numerate (you know, the numeric equivalent to being literate) to use a digital watch to sense how far you had gone through an hour … or the day.

I still loved my cool digital watch. To this day, I drift back and forth between wearing digital and analog watches. Each format has its uses and pleasures.   — JLF


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