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Real men wear Samsung watches (says new Samsung ad)

Technically Incorrect: The launch ad for the Gear S3 smartwatch feels very much like an old-fashioned watch ad. A men's watch ad. Is this the way to differentiate yourself from Apple Watch?

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Very masculine, no?

Samsung/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

One of Apple's great design talents has always been to make products that don't feel definitively male or female.

This has meant that the brand was never closed off from anyone who wanted to participate in its aesthetic.

There's a danger now that the phrase "Apple Watch" will become the definitive name of the category, just as 'iPad" has become the definitive name for tablets. (Just ask NFL announcers.)

So in launching its Gear S3, Samsung has an identity problem.

The launch ad suggests that Samsung has decided this watch is for real men.

In their hearts, they're slightly traditional types who believe that men look good in suits, prosper with a cigar and a glass of champagne in their hands and insist that watches should come from Switzerland.

But outwardly, they like to think they're a little more modern, a little more active and a little more alluring because of that.

This ad might easily be confused for a (slightly downscale) Tag Heuer concoction.

At first glance, it really does look like the sort of watch you've seen many times before.

It's a "classic watch," says the ad. Only this one is smarter. Yes, it's like your classic investment banker, but this one has a brain that can serve up meaningful conversation.

Samsung's investment banker goes snowboarding and kayaking. So you know he's a man of the world.

There is a woman doing a little mountain climbing in the ad. In essence, though, this watch is larger than the last version and exudes nothing more than classic testosterone.

The music in this ad does the same. It's a long way from Apple's cheery alternative ditties.

Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The thinking here might not merely be predicated on the idea that men are more likely to be smartwatch buyers.

To my eyes, and those of quite a few others, the Apple Watch face feels small. It makes doing anything on it a chore.

When iPhone started to feel this way, what did Samsung do? It released much bigger phones to considerable success.

The only difference here, perhaps, is that a phone is to be carried, but this hulk of a watch has to be worn.

The ad insists that this watch is "Timeless Outside. Revolutionary Inside."

Wait, Samsung has co-opted the magical word "revolutionary"? I can feel Apple's lawyers sharpening their quills.