Numer­ous reviews of the Apple Watch pay very lit­tle atten­tion to the top­ic of ergonom­ics of this device, and in fact the phys­i­cal inter­ac­tion with the gad­get worn on the body is no less impor­tant than the men­tal one. As it turned out, Apple has pro­vid­ed at least one non-obvi­ous pos­si­bil­i­ty to facil­i­tate the work with the clock.

The first incon­ve­nience to using the Apple Watch that I noticed was relat­ed to the dig­i­tal crown. It turned out that press­ing the crown of a watch worn on the left hand requires a rather awk­ward posi­tion of the index fin­ger of the right hand. And an attempt to press the crown with­out using an addi­tion­al fin­ger to fix the watch leads to the fact that their strap turns out very incon­ve­nient­ly. If you try to hold the watch with your thumb, you will cer­tain­ly touch the screen with it.


Luck­i­ly, I’ve been dig­ging around in the clock set­tings long enough to remem­ber the weird “Clock Posi­tion” item in “Gen­er­al”. The choice of hand to wear the watch was so obvi­ous that the abil­i­ty to change the posi­tion of the dig­i­tal crown seemed point­less — exact­ly until the moment I tried it.

I did not touch the wrist set­ting, but changed the posi­tion of the dig­i­tal crown to the posi­tion on the left (by default it is on the right). This is how my watch looks after chang­ing the set­tings:


I call this ori­en­ta­tion “invert­ed crown”

With any changes in ergonom­ics, it makes sense to give your­self a few days to get used to the new con­di­tions. I decid­ed to wait three days before draw­ing con­clu­sions.

I can say that my first reac­tion was pos­i­tive: I could use my thumb to press the crown and still hold the watch with my index fin­ger. This is use­ful con­sid­er­ing that phones have already taught us to use our thumb as a quick nav­i­ga­tion tool.

Anoth­er advan­tage of this arrange­ment of the crown is that speak­er and micro­phone are now clos­er to the face, when you raise your hand. In this arrange­ment, sounds are much bet­ter heard, and Siri rec­og­nizes speech bet­ter. It will be espe­cial­ly inter­est­ing to check how it works in the cold sea­son, when we wear warm win­ter jack­ets.

Invert­ed crown it became con­ve­nient to use the thumb to scroll. At first I was afraid that the hand would block the screen, but the watch dis­play fits per­fect­ly in the space between the thumb and fore­fin­ger:


With the thumb on the crown, the index fin­ger is also in a con­ve­nient place for tap­ping or scrolling on the screen.

Apple nev­er adds cus­tomiza­tions with­out a good rea­son. And the abil­i­ty to choose the posi­tion of the dig­i­tal crown sug­gests that some­one in the com­pa­ny knew there was a more ergonom­ic option.

But this option also goes against the watch world’s accept­ed stan­dards, and Apple’s desire to make a visu­al­ly appeal­ing device took prece­dence over ergonom­ics. I’m the first to admit that a watch with an “invert­ed crown” looks strange.

Luck­i­ly, Apple has left us with a choice between looks and usabil­i­ty. It’s been a few weeks since I changed the set­tings, and so far I haven’t even thought about putting every­thing back. Try it too! [fur­bo]