As recently as a half-decade ago, time seemed to be running out for the wristwatch. With cellphones, iPods and other clock-equipped devices becoming ubiquitous, armchair sociologists were writing off the wristwatch as an antique, joining VHS tapes, Walkman players and pocket calculators on the slag heap of outmoded gadgets.
The wristwatch “may be going the way of the abacus,” declared a news article in The Sacramento Bee in 2006. The Times of London had it “going the same way as the sundial.” The Boston Globe, in a 2005 lifestyle feature, was more definitive: “Anyone who needs to know the time these days would be wise to ask someone over the age of 30. To most young people, the wristwatch is an obsolete artifact.”
The “sundial” of the wrist is experiencing an uptick among members of the supposed lost generation, particularly by heritage-macho types in their 20s and 30s who are drawn to the wristwatch’s retro appeal, just as they have seized on straight razors, selvedge denim and vintage vinyl.