I recently conducted a survey asking readers what technologies they have relinquished. Much to my surprise, watches topped the list (replaced in most cases by the clock in a cell phone). Personally, my watch is my most used mobile equipment. Always on, featherweight, quick to read. Every couple of years I check out what’s available for watches as tools and I come back to the model I have worn 24/7 for 20 years: a classic Swatch Original. I wear it in the shower, swimming, and while I sleep. It’s what a watch should be: waterproof, nearly indestructible, accurate, and radically legible. Clear, black-on-white glow-in-the-dark numbers (no hour ticks) in an analog face. Day/date optional. And best of all, at $40 the Swatch is probably the cheapest rugged watch you can buy. Luxury watches perplex me: what are you getting extra? Sure, the plastic wristbands of the Swatch wear out and are cheaply replaced every five years, but you’ll lose a Swatch before it crashes. There are other models for making a fashion statement; for a straightforward design worthy of Apple, look for the Original (or Classic) Gents or Ladies. It is still the best bargain going for a personal timekeeping tool.
A cool tool is anything useful that is superior to comparable items. If you think this tool is inferior suggest a better one. You are welcome to insult a tool, but comments containing insults to individual people will be deleted. Corrections of fact are always welcomed, if stated politely. Recommendations of better tools are dearly wanted and may be elevated to the front page.