We’ve never reviewed an app before at WRUK, so we were excited to learn about the existence of Watchee – an iOS app to catalogue your watch collection. Is it worth £2.99?

Watchee App review

Have you ever discussed your watch collection with someone and wished you could show them a quick snapshot of what you have? Have you ever come to sell a watch and forgotten where you bought it from? Have you ever forgotten when your warranty expires or lost track of a watch’s service schedule? I know I have, and there is now – like everything else these days – an app for that.

Watchee is an iOS app designed to maintain a catalogue of your watch collection. Each piece can be recorded along with a photo, and details of as many of its vital statistics as you could possibly want. The benefit of having an app for this is that you can record those hard-to-recall details of a watch’s features and then share them to an email if you want to sell it, for example. It’s a neat idea, and as a collector who regularly moves watches on, I genuinely lose track of when I bought each piece and when the warranty expires.

Upon downloading Watchee from the App store and launching it, you are presented with a blank screen. It’s fairly intuitive to hit the “+” button to add a watch and start filling in fields. You can add a photo from your library or take a new picture for the watch. Rather frustratingly, although a full photo is shown, the app requires it to be cropped into a square shape and, although, you can zoom in or out you can’t move the photo within the frame so it takes a few attempts to get the watch face centred in the top two-thirds of the screen where the app likes it.

From there you start to fill in as few or as many of the extra fields as you wish. You can record everything from the watch’s model and serial number to the details of the movement, measurements of various aspects and even the complications is has. There is a wealth of data, but I found some of the constrained value lists a little too… constraining. For example, when  choosing dial colour you have a choice of: black, blue, golden, green, grey, purple, red, silver and white. I have an Arcturus LC-1 with a mother of pearl dial, a cream Seagull 1963 and a yellow Deep Blue, none of which can be added! Once you’ve picked an option you can’t clear it, so if you accidentally tap into a field like this you have to have a selection – and keep one of those choices forever.

Once the watches are in, they are listed on the front screen. I was disappointed that it is not possible to sort or filter this list. It would be great to be able to search for a keyword or show all watches by brand, feature etc. There’s a delete function, activated by swiping left on an entry in the list, but no archive function for watches that are no longer in the collection. I think that could be very useful to remove watches from display but keep them for posterity. I really liked the “detail view” after clicking a watch, which gives a little sentence describing the features. I thought that was a really nice touch.

As well as cataloguing your collection you can also store details of warranty cards and service history. Warranty cards are a great idea, but not well executed in this version of the app. Although you can add a card (with the same irritation when capturing your image) you have to manually add the watch it refers to – and this is not linked to the “warranty expiration” field in the main watch database. Again, you can’t remove entries so mistakes are there forever – and I found that because everything on this section was based on a pick list the lack of a “select” button within the pick list screen made it more frustrating than it should have been to input data.

I was not able to test the service history function as I could not find a way to select an entry from the list of watches, due to the lack of a “select” button. When making a selection and tapping the screen, the data was simply erased. To make it work, you have to begin to scroll the list, which is unintuitive and should have been picked up at the testing stage.

Although irritating, it’s not a deal-breaker that some functions don’t work properly yet as the app developer promises that once you have paid for the app, you will get updates for free, forever. This is not an app that hits you with demands for in-app purchases. I think that the £2.99 up-front asking price might put some people off buying and would like to see a cut-down free version, perhaps with a limit of only one watch, or with certain features removed. I found that only after trying it out did I realise how much I would actually use it.

What I Liked

  • This is a really neat idea for watch collectors, and I don’t know of any other apps with the same functionality
  • I would actually use the warranty and service functions (if they worked properly) so it’s not something I would download and never use again
  • It’s a great way of showing off your collection and sharing details of watches

What I didn’t Like

  • A search and filter function is essential, I would not buy the app without this feature
  • I’d like more links between the different functions, they three sections all seem to work in isolation right now
  • There are still a few bugs in the software that make certain features a little clunky – such as the dial colours list – or completely unusable – like the Service page.

Watchee-the WRUK Verdict

There is the gem of a brilliant idea in Watchee. Unfortunately, at present, some of the features are not working as well as they should. Don’t let that put you off, though, because the app will continue to be updated from user feedback. The world of apps is a tough market and as I am aware of the chicken and egg nature of development and testing I can see why the app was launched with some features missing. The developer wants feedback and has committed to acting on it to make a great product, and that’s both encouraging and refreshing.

If the development roadmap corrects some of the current problems then this is going to be a really useful bit of software – but the only way the developer is going to be able to make those improvements is if people buy the product. So the test is: would you be happy to spend less than £3 to get an app that has the potential for greatness but currently does not quite meet its potential yet? I think so, and I’ve bought a copy.

Future Plans

  • Although not set in stone, the developer has some plans for future versions of the software.
  • Some user interface improvements
  • Search functionality for main screen
  • An extra tab to the app where one could save watch specific data regarding how the Watch is mechanically functioning. Daily Rate, Amplitudes, Beat Errors and such – not a timegrapher replacement, but somewhere to store and monitor the results.
  • An extra tab to the App where it would be possible to save more pictures for each watch, to see how the watch looks with different straps, for example.

Buy the Watchee App

The Watchee app is currently available for iOS devices only. You can for it on the iOS app store.

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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