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Getting More From Each Moment

The alluring NoWatch promises to enhance your life experience by measuring stress, sleep, and other biorhythms — but not time.

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OVER THE PAST decade, I’ve been routinely captured by empirically backed best-selling authors collectively positing that our understanding of reality and human existence is all wrong — or, at best, extremely limited. My introduction to this genre of paradigm-shifting science began with the aptly titled, “Reality is Not What it Seems” by the world-renowned, ardently democratic theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. In it, Rovelli employs layman’s terms (mostly) to break down the physics of our lived environment into microscopic particles. Along the way, he debunks human notions of time — a subject he dives more deeply into in his subsequent book “The Order of Time,” in which he declares: “Time is ignorance.”

On a philosophical level, I’m captivated by how these books illuminate an evolution in human knowledge and right current misconceptions that science is a fixed factual state. Rather, science is a systematic study, a pursuit of knowledge with no end. On a tangible level, these treatises prepared me for the arrival of the NoWatch in my mailbox.

Self-defined as the world’s first “awareable,” NoWatch is timeless, insomuch that its face is a sustainably sourced, natural gemstone, without a clock. Encased within a gold, silver, or rose-gold frame, the stone of your choice (eight are available, ranging from rose quartz and tiger’s eye to malachite) floats above a tiny bio-sensing device and is affixed to an Italian vegan leather strap. This Philips-manufactured technology continuously measures small changes in its wearer’s skin surface to interpret stress and provide other cognitive insights: whether you’re overstimulated, understimulated, or just right. It’s also designed to track sleep, heart rate, and movement, with the bio-data appearing on the NoWatch app, so you can access it at will, without being tied to the constant distraction of real-time feedback.


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That’s because, unlike traditional “wearables,” NoWatch doesn’t aim to optimize your life. Rather, it aspires to enhance your experience of it. Its data provides you with the tools to do so by identifying stress triggers and areas of opportunity (walk more, sleep more, meditate), but also by sending occasional vibrations to your wrist (three to 12 times a day, depending upon your preference) — all with the goal of making you more “present.” To that point: NoWatch is pronounced “now watch,” not “no watch,” because, as its tagline asserts: The time is now.

As someone who believes that the keys to holistic health lie in intuitive balance: eat well, sleep enough, exercise, don’t stare at screens too long, I’ve been historically skeptical of tech-fueled wellness offerings. But NoWatch’s live-in-the-moment promises seduced me. Also, it’s beautiful.

The device’s stylistic cues recall the only other watch I’ve ever coveted: La D de Dior, with its minimalist band and circular design — the one of my dreams has a Klein Blue face, similar to NoWatch’s lapis lazuli stone offering. This aesthetic attention extends to NoWatch’s packaging, which is compostable; its streamlined charger, which doubles as a stone-changing magnet; and its app interface. When the device is synching with the app, the screen graphic appears as a dynamic full moon.


Unlike traditional ‘wearables,’ Nowatch doesn’t aim to optimize your life. Rather, it aspires to enhance your experience of it.

My reticence to embrace digitally connected wrist devices was (in my mind) validated for my first few weeks of wearing the NoWatch, when only occasionally did it seem to transfer data to the app, despite it registering as “connected” and my rebooting it several times. It turns out the problem was user error, and the solution was even simpler: I wasn’t wearing it tight enough. After I ratcheted the band up a notch, the transfer was seamless and provided actionable insights, such as that walking during calls measurably reduced work-related stress levels. But it was the NoWatch’s mindful buzz that bestowed unanticipated value.

Each time I felt the gentle vibration, I followed the directions outlined in the app’s literature: I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and consciously rooted myself in my surroundings and the present moment — an approach to life improvement that recalls cognitive behavioral therapy. Doing so creates or strengthens related neural pathways, improving your ability to remain present and making it easier to return to that state. Additionally, the introduction of these small acts of self-improvement continuously tethered me to the person I aspire to be, validating the popular notion that the key to making great life changes lies in introducing incremental ones.

Each buzz invited me to refocus my energy and attention, notably on the people in front of me. After all, if, as Rovelli argues, existence is marked by our interaction with other entities, rather than by a linear chronology, engaging with the world around us is time best spent.


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Our Contributors

Erin Dixon Managing Editor

Erin Dixon is the managing editor of Departures. Previously the managing editor of the arts and culture journal Dossier, she has worked and written for a variety of international magazines and publishing houses, ranging from Vogue, Kinfolk, and GQ to Phaidon, Workman Artisan, and HarperCollins.

Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator

Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.

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