do people in 3rd world countries have more cellphones than wristwatches?

I think the cheapest wristwatches I have seen are around $10. That’s quite a bit, and seems to be approaching the cost of a low end cellphone. So are wristwatches much cheaper in poor countries? Or do people invest in a cellphone (which is a necessity and also can show time) but do without a watch?

And how much do minimal, no-frills cellphones cost in poor countries anyway?

A related question, which fellow Dopers might or might not be able to answer is, could wristwatch price be pushed down closer to $1 or so? Frankly, I am just a bit surprised that such a primitive gadget sells for so much money.

The cheapest digital watches cost 99p in the U.K. back in about 1988, but why would you need a wristwatch if you have a cell phone?

By the way, the cheapest cell phones here are about £10.

Anectodal, obviously, but I’m seeing more people here in the U.S. who don’t wear a wristwatch any more, choosing to use their mobile phones for that purpose. See the second paragraph in this article:

Wrist watches are usually fashion accessories, with fashion markup, that also happen to perform a function. You can find $1 watches if you look around.

I wear a wrist watch so I can be lazy and not dig my phone out.

That’s me - I, personally, own more cellphones (1) than wristwatches (0). I keep on intending to buy one, but the good ones are expensive, and the cheap ones look cheap.

They’re man-jewelry, and while I have nothing against that, it’s an expense I don’t need.

I don’t get this. Do cheap watches look just plainly ugly because the manufacturer couldn’t be bothered to spend a bit more on a sleek, if no-frills, design? Or is it being implied that regardless of how they look, they look different from the expensive ones?

What is the underlying engineering design and business logic at work here?

Materials and workmanship. What’s the difference between a cheap car and an expensive one?

A cheap watch usually has a plastic band, is plain, frequently has just a single dial and only tells time. $8 watch

An expensive watch is a piece of jewelry.
It frequently has a metal or leather band, is much more decorative, has multiple dials and functions. $400 watch

And then you get into watches with gemstones or precious metals.
$1085 watch with diamonds
$4760 watch with diamonds, mother of pearl and 18karat gold

Tastes of Chocolate, I would prefer to focus on digital watches below $15. E.g. I am quite happy with my Casio - it probably does not look expensive, but it is compact, convenient and not ugly to my eyes.

I have duly noted Baron Skinley Von Clipper’s mention of $1.5 watches and can only wonder why I am not able to find them up online nowadays.

(raising hand) That would be me. And my wife as well.

Ebay search for “wristwatches”. Buy it now, sorted by price.

For just $.99, shipped, you get: “Totally new shape of bracelet watch which combines wellbeing and sports look.” Also “design theme of the bracelet watch is soft minimalism and sensual emotion” What’s not to like?

LOL, what’s not to like is sensual emotion bit. It looks cheesy and ugly.

I have a couple of wristwatches, mostly for fashion purposes. I don’t have, or want, a cellphone, so without a wristwatch I’ll have to beg total strangers to tell me what time it is… Back to third world cellphones: my husband said he was watching a TV show on, maybe Animal Planet, and a native in Africa was attacked by a huge boa constrictor. The snake was going to choke and kill him, and he got saved by…calling for help on his cellphone. Had to laugh! Africans being attacked by snakes have more cellphones than us.

The OP wants to focus on digital watches. IME, digital watches typically fit into one of three camps:

  1. Very inexpensive (and look it). A basic watch, but probably fits what he’s thinking of for use in poorer countries.
  2. More expensive, with additional functions, which tend to appeal to engineers and others who want to use it to double as a calculator, alarm clock, etc.
  3. Much more expensive, with functions such as GPS, heart monitor, etc., which are used by athletes.

I rarely see digital watches today which even attempt to pass as “fashion watches”.

One interesting factor to consider in the question of cell phone popularity is the nature of the available infrastructure in the country.

Consider Brazil, not necessarily third world, but it is the country I will use for my example.
In the 1970s, my wife’s family were on a waiting list for many years before they were allowed to have a phone line. Even by the early 90s, it was possible for the owner of a telephone line to rent the line out for a substantial sum every month. And the line had intrinsic value.

Sort of like the taxi medallions in New York, but not nearly as pricy.

The problem was that Rio de Janeiro just didn’t have the telephone infrastructure to allow every family to have a phone line. Demand far outstripped supply.

Then along came cell phones. People who had never had home telephones were able to pay higher cell phone fees, but get their own phone almost immediately. The infrastructure was much easier to install, and sort of leapfrogged the existing land lines.

By the end of the 90s, the phone line that my in-laws owned that had been worth thousands was worthless because now cell phones had taken away the demand.

I imagine that strange distorting factors like this, unfamiliar to most first-world residents, might be a factor in the assertion of the OP.

"Look. I’ve got a Movado. It’s worth $1700.

“Shit, I can’t even see the numbers on it. No day, no date…lookie here. I got that one for three dollars and seventy-five cents. It’s got every doo-dad you can imagine on it.”

Those aren’t good examples of expensive watches. The last two really are just jewelry, but my $400 Seiko looks almost like this $8 watch. There are plenty of cheap watches with a lot of dials and doo-dads and plenty of expensive watches with none.

The difference between a quality expensive watch and an $8 Casio is that Casio makes electronics. The inside of that $8 watch is just a small circuit board that probably costs a few cents to mass produce.

Seiko, for example of a quality watch ranging from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars, is a watchmaker. They’re over 100 years old, produce not only the watches themselves but all the components as well (springs and other parts, lubricating oils, the chemicals that make the hands glow in the dark). They also innovate and invent new movements (the mechanical internals that do the time keeping) and the inside of a Seiko looks more like this. That’s a $6000 watch.

Some watches are expensive because someone breaks out the bedazzler and glues some bling on them, but no one cares about those. Those really are jewelry that happen to tell time. But for a real watch, the amount of work that go into them really is worth something. I’d never pay $6000 for a watch, but I see that they are masterpieces.

I have a (to me) expensive Citizen. I decided to purchase it after having bought too many cheap, crappy watches in my life. Many of those cheap, crappy watches had all kinds of dials and wiz-bang features. For my Citizen, I made it a very strict point to seek out the most simple (and attractive) watch possible. It only has a small date indicator. Yet examining it, the apparent quality is much higher than any junk I’ve owned in the past.

hi guys, a filipino here. for my birthday, the wife gave me a cartier ($5,800)

before this, i would look at my cell phone, the wall clock, the lower right hand of the pc, and other people’s watches (out to a distance of 15 feet even while driving.)

the last one proves third world countries still have lots of wrist watches. :smiley:

For the life of me, I don’t understand why someone would go to the trouble of creating an image like that, and making it such a shitty low-res picture. I really, really, really don’t get it.

makes people want to own one desperately.