Serif in Education

To do the job or not to the job, that is the question!

Whilst reading an article on watches, it made me think.  Do advances in technology (say for example in computing) necessarily make things better? Or do they in fact add unnecessary complication to our lives?

Take watches as an example.

The article I was reading examined the art of Breguet luxury watches, and was talking about how the original maker, Swiss-born Abraham-Louis Breguet, opened his Paris workshop in 1775 with the task of selling watches to some of the most eminent figures of modern history.

The watches were designed for functionality as well as beauty and boast many technical achievements, such as automatic self-winding mechanisms (referred to as “a perpetual”), the pare-chute and the tourbillon. Breguet himself can also claim responsibility for the first-ever watch designed to be worn on the wrist – a true innovation and a commission from Caroline Muarat, the Queen of Naples and sister of Napoleon, in 1810.

Written by the Telegraph, (see link here: it talks about the features of the watches he made (and the company still make) to this day.

These features include:

- Engine-turned gold or silver dials (still meticulously engraved by master craftsmen using equipment designed and built more than 100 years ago)

- Distinctive watch handles in blued steel

- Some feature the original Arabic numerals

- Etched with a “secret signature” somewhere on the dial – originally an anti-counterfeit measure

The watches have stood the test of time. Their unique features have become an attraction.  Manufactured some 240 years ago, still with the same reputation they had all that long ago today.

And now we look at the future of watches – a new era of wearable technology.  Where your watch controls everything you do (and tracks what you are guilty of not doing too, in the case of exercise!).

Read your email. Reply to a text message. Even Apple itself says the Apple Watch “isn’t just something you wear. It’s an essential part of who you are.”

According to reviews I can see online, most people who own an Apple Watch seem to like it.  However a survey from Fluent (An Advertising agency) found the reasons Apple Watch owners list for not buying a next-generation Apple Watch were that 34% of owners said the price was too high, 31% said the device just wasn’t useful enough to justify buying, and another 16% simply said the device is “ugly.”  In fact, a successful analyst (see article here: has actually estimated sales will fall by 25% this year.

So what is it that is important to people, and is it true that sometimes the true NEED for a product is overlooked in manufacture?

Is it that the product you buy is the one you want to do the job it is intended to do?   And that job (if you are buying a watch of course) is simply to tell the time and look attractive on your wrist!

Computers are there to do a job. There are many ways in which computers can help to do a job. But without the brain which can see the NEED for the job a computer is required to do, they are rendered pretty useless. In other words, we don’t necessarily need fancy gadgets or complicated websites. It is important for pupils to learn that functionality and usability is a priority, before aesthetics.

If you can do the job in a quicker way is there any need to over complicate it and add bells and whistles?

Food for thought I think!