Haute, Smart, or Not?: Editor’s Letter, December 2014–January 2015

In November, I tried out my first smartwatch. It was the M1 model from Meta Watch, and I was test-driving it for the “Wrist Management” write-up, a review of four smartwatches currently on the market. It took me a couple days to figure out I had downloaded the wrong version of the Meta app, which explained why I couldn’t get the watch to sync with my phone. Duh!

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to traditional watchmakers about their new tech-focused competition, and I was anxious to see if the watch’s smartness proved compelling enough to trump my old-fashioned dumb timepieces.

My ambivalence on the topic suggests there are no easy answers. I liked getting some distance from my phone; the notifications on my watch let me know if I was missing any important texts, calls, or emails without having to slip down the rabbit hole of my inbox to find out. Plus, the rose gold–plated version of the M1 looked great on my wrist.

Ironically, one of my favorite displays on the smartwatch was the analog dial. There’s something subversive about touting old-fashioned technology on a newfangled device. In fact, during my test run, I relied on the time-telling function most of all—which makes me wonder if all the hoopla over notification alerts is simply a reflection of their novelty.

My favorite display on the cool-looking Meta M1 smartwatch? The analog face, of course.

The outlook for wearable tech is just one area of scrutiny in our must-read 2015-in-preview feature, “The Fantastic Forecast,” a rundown of 10 topics that will impact the jewelry industry this year, including recycled diamonds, designer collaborations, and Apple Pay.

A casual reading of the list will tell you that the pace of change in our industry is quickening—from the mobile revolution that’s enabled consumers to pay for products and services with simple swipes of their phones, to the obsession with lifestyle branding that’s seeing jewelers branch out into new categories like home decor, handbags, and fragrances.

Congrats to Eric Fisher and JCK’s Mark Smelzer on the birth of their son, Nolen Brown Smelzer Fisher (aka No B.S. Fisher)!

Even the price of gold, which seemed lodged just under $2,000 an ounce, has shifted downward fairly rapidly, paving the way for more jewelers to incorporate the metal into their collections. In “Hello Yellow!,” senior editor Jennifer Heebner surveys the market and finds a slew of designers delighted by the prospect of working with gold again.

As we look to the year ahead, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the changes both big and small swirling around us. For those who knew designer Scott Kay or were touched by his work, his untimely passing in early December, noted with grace by news director Rob Bates, has made the industry feel like a lonelier, less interesting place.

Kay’s legacy offers a valuable reminder that in order to triumph against the odds, you can’t take no for an answer. On that note, huge, tear-filled congratulations to my friend and colleague Mark Smelzer. On Thanksgiving, he and his husband, Eric, welcomed their son, Nolen, into the world, and, when he was just 9 days old, I got to meet him. Like his papas, Nolen is a chill little dude. Here’s wishing them—and all of you—the Happiest of New Years!