When it comes to discussing the deficiencies of a particular artifacts design, it represents the matter of a crucial importance to be able to identify the extent of this items compatibility with currently predominant socio-cultural discourses.
The reason for this is quite apparent in order for a particular design to be considered thoroughly efficient, it must be reflective of peoples discourse-related existential anxieties/expectations (Foucault, 1978).
In its turn, this provides us with the objective reason to suggest that the conventional design of circularly shaped mechanical/quartz wristwatches, which features hour, minute and second hands, can no longer be considered discursively relevant, because it does not reflect the actual realities of a post-industrial living. Let me begin arguing the case from afar.
Even though that there can be few doubts, as to the fact that conventional wristwatches do allow their owners to keep a good track of time, these watches design mirrors what is now being proven a theoretically fallacious concept of the universe.
After all, throughout the course of the early 20th century (when a conventional design of wristwatches came to its prominence), people had very few doubts, as to the orderly essence of the universes workings. Back then, scientists saw the universe as a giant complicated mechanical devise.
The idea was that the universe was a huge and intricate machine that obeys orderly mathematical rules. If you knew the rules of how the machine was configured to start with, as you turn the handle over and over again, it would behave in an entirely predictable way.
In essence, the universe was believed to be a huge cyclically functioning celestial mechanism, which in turn implied the predictability of its observable manifestations. Hence, the philosophy of the mechanical wristwatches design it was meant to uphold the peoples Newtonian view of the surrounding reality and their place in it.
Just as the planet Earth revolves around the Sun in a thoroughly orderly and predictable manner, so does the hour-hand in mechanical watches. The movement of the minute-hand reflects the Newtonian subtleties of the Moons rotation around the Earth.
In its turn, the movement of a second-hand can be well seen, as such that reflects peoples deep-seated expectations, concerned with the Earths rotation around its own axis, which causes watch-wearers to experience the sensation of a cyclical flow of time.
As Aveni (1989) noted, On your wrist, you may see yet another mechanism we have made to control both the passage of events and the rhythm of our behavior. This devices very shape conveys the notion of the daily round of time and the natural form of the sky (p. 88).
This explains the metaphysical significance of many mechanical watches complications, meant to predict evolutions in the celestial sphere, such as the moon-phase indicator.
Apparently, by wearing these watches, people unconsciously strive to overcome their growing suspicion that there is in fact no God in the universe, which in turn makes them more emotionally stable.
Nevertheless, as history goes on, it becomes increasingly harder for people to remain thoroughly comfortable with the cyclical passage of time, which they get to observe on their conventionally designed wristwatches.
This is because, due to the recent discoveries in the field of physics, the concept of the universe, as a fully predictable celestial mechanism, has grown hopelessly outdated.
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After all, in light of these discoveries, the universe appears to be not a mechanism, but rather an organism, which continually evolves and which will eventually age and die, due to the forces of entropy.
The discovery of the uncertainty principle by Werner Heisenberg in 1927, created objective preconditions for the earlier mentioned discursive development to occur. According to this principle, it is fundamentally impossible for researchers to be simultaneously aware of the atoms location and its speed.
This is because, contrary to the classical conceptualization of an elementary particle, the theoretical provisions of quantum mechanics point out to the fact that the atoms actual location is being spatially dispersed the same atom can be found in a few different locations, at the same time (Heelan, 1975).
The discursive implications of the uncertainty principle are quite apparent the universes workings cannot be predicted by definition, because the universe itself is being made out of fundamentally unpredictable bricks, commonly known as atoms.
Thus, the conventional design of mechanical/quartz watches, which extrapolates the philosophical significance of the 19th centurys scientific conventions, can no longer be considered fully attuned to the discourse of relativity.
Yet, this particular discourse nowadays defines the qualitative aspects of the 21st centurys living. Partially, this explains why, as of today, it became a commonplace practice among many people to complain about the fact that, while wearing conventionally designed wristwatches, they experience the sensation of having no control over their own lives.
Apparently, while being exposed to the visually observable movement of minute and second hands, people have no other option but to consider the possibility that they themselves are nothing but the replaceable elements of a social machine.
Therefore, it will not be much of an exaggeration, on my part, to suggest that, as of today, there are a number of discursive preconditions for the classic design of wristwatches to be radically revised.
Instead of serving the function of prompting people to lead socially-responsible lifestyles, wristwatches should serve the function of increasing the extent of peoples emotional comfortableness with the notion of a godless and chaotic universe, in which the flow of time has an unmistakable relativist subtlety.
Mapping the dimensions of the problem
Given what has been said earlier, the conceptualization (mapping) of the discursively relevant design for wristwatches should be concerned with the following:
a) Abandoning mechanical movements. As it is being the case with the design of just about every life-enhancing gadget, the design of wristwatches must reflect the practical implications of an ongoing technological progress.
Therefore, the practice of powering wristwatches with mechanical movements can no longer be deemed appropriate. After all, as compared to mechanical wristwatches, battery-powered quartz and digital wristwatches are being much more accurate and price-friendly.
Even though that, as of today, mechanical watches continue to enjoy popularity with many intellectually inflexible people, this state of affairs will not last forever, as it is being inconsistent with the objective laws of history.
b) Abandoning minute and second hands. Ever since the notion of design came into a practical prominence, it never ceased being considered synonymous with the notion of improvement.
In its turn, the notion of improvement cannot be discussed outside of how improving the design of a particular device result in its simplification without affecting the concerned devices functional integrity.
As Balazs and Brown (2000) argued, The design simplication problem is the problem of nding another design that has the same function as the original design and its complexity is less than that of the original design (p. 2).
Therefore, it will only be logical, on my part, to suggest that the improved design of a wristwatch should feature the absence of minute and second hands. This is because, as it can be seen in the picture below, a thoroughly effective timekeeping can be well accomplished with only one hand.
There may be only two objections to this particular method of a timekeeping the fact that the majority of watch-wearers will find it hard to adjust to it, and that this method is not being just as accurate, as the conventional one. These objections, however, can be successfully addressed.
First, once people realize the advantages of tracking time with only one hand, such as the absence of a time pressure, for example, they will be willing to switch to it.
The sheer swiftness, with which people switched from to , during the course of the early 20th century, validates the legitimacy of this statement.
Second, the realities of a post-industrial living suggest that wristwatches no longer need to be capable of indicating the passage of short periods of time (e.g. minutes and seconds). This is because, as of today, the notion of a time-efficiency has been deprived of its original discursive significance.
The validity of this suggestion can be well illustrated in regards to the fate of Concord supersonic passenger planes, which have been declared economically unfeasible and consequently retired.
The reason why it happened is simple even though these planes were capable of flying over the Atlantic ocean within a matter of four hours, they were not offering passengers a de facto opportunity to beat the time.
This is because, due to the safety-ensuring measures, implemented in todays airports, the process of passengers registering for the flight and boarding the plane, takes as much as 5-7 hours.
Therefore, there are no good reasons to believe that, due to not having minute and second hands indicating the flow of time on their watches, the concerned individuals would suffer from the extent of their existential competitiveness being severely undermined.
Quite on the opposite without being constantly reminded that the time is money (the subtle message, conveyed by conventionally designed watches), the wearers of single-hand watches would be more likely to effectively address their mentally unhealthy anxieties, in regards to their realization of their own mortality.
c) Abandoning circularly shaped displays. As it was mentioned earlier, the circular shape of wristwatches originates out of its original designers assumption that the universe s functioning is being essentially cyclical.
Nevertheless, along with being conceptually fallacious, this assumption has a number of the counterproductive effects on its affiliates. The foremost of them is the fact that, while wearing conventionally designed wristwatches, people are being subtly prompted to believe that their life-experiences are bound to reoccur periodically.
In its turn, this makes them less capable of grasping life-advancing opportunities and consequently undermines their chances to attain a social prominence. This simply could not be otherwise, because while assuming that these opportunities come and go, people do not quite realize the social implications of their existences spatial limitedness.
Therefore, the discursively sound design of wristwatches must feature a rectangular display, so that the watch-wearers may be indirectly reminded of the fact that the observable emanations of the surrounding reality are being dialectically predetermined (causes define effects).
In its turn, this should provide the concerned individuals with an additional incentive to think twice, before deciding in favor of a particular course of action hence, making them more existentially fit.
Scenario for what could be
In light of the earlier outlined theoretical/discursive premises, which I believe justify the introduction of a revolutionary new design for wristwatches, the identification of resources that may be deployed, within the context of advancing this design, does not represent much of a challenge.
First, I plan to take advantage of what appears to be the foremost qualitative aspect of todays living in Western countries namely, an ongoing de-westernization of public discourses.
Whereas, even as recent as a few decades ago, it used to represent a commonplace practice among Western politicians/educators to assess the reality through the perceptual lenses of euro-centrism, this has now effectively ceased to be the case.
This, of course, establishes objective prerequisites for more and more people to be willing to express their opposition to the Judeo-Christian mechanistic worldview especially if they happened to be ethically visible (non-White). Wearing unconventionally designed watches will come in particularly handy, in this respect.
Second, I will utilize the fact that the realities of a modern living naturally prompt many people to grow increasingly concerned with exploring their sense of self-identity.
After all, as of today, only not particularly bright individuals continue to believe that, in order for them to be considered productive individuals; they must adhere to the socially upheld conventions of a behavioral appropriateness.
This is exactly the reason why in todays Globalized world, it is specifically the peoples strive to attain an individuation, which appears to affect their purchasing choices to an ever increased extent.
Therefore, while being exposed to wristwatches, designed in accordance with the earlier outlined design-guidelines, the individuation-seeking potential buyers should be naturally prompted to find them aesthetically appealing.
The rising popularity of those watch-making companies that specialize in manufacturing unconventionally designed wristwatches, such as MB&F, Devon and Romain Jerome, validates the legitimacy of this suggestion.
The picture below exemplifies my vision of how a modern watch should look like. This is only a schematic design, of course.