Chris Hall for SalonQP:
But forgetting personal objections, it’s staggering – even by Apple’s standards – how quickly Apple Watch has moved the smartwatch story on. Since Apple Watch’s launch, the real watch industry (sorry Apple, no matter where or how Vontobel ranks you, you aren’t a watch brand) has started falling apart. Global exports of Swiss watches have dropped off a cliff. The numbers are horrible – we’re looking at annual decline of around 10 per cent this year. Oof.
I treat my mechanical watches and my Apple Watch differently — the latter is a small computer, while the former are small, precise works of art. But since I only use one wrist, they do compete for the same space.
Now, if you’re like me and you get a kick out of looking at why this is, you’ll recognise the slowdown of the Chinese economy, Xi Jingping’s anti-corruption campaign, falling oil prices, wild currency fluctuations, a super-strong franc, terrorism, sanctions on Russia and even Brexit as factors for this. And you’d be right to think that way.
But I can’t help thinking that smartwatches, still largely dismissed by the Swiss watch industry, are a big part of the story, too. And perhaps a bigger part than anyone’s yet cared to admit. Yes, of course, comparing an Apple Watch with a Patek is like comparing oranges with apples. And yes, no one seems to be buying a Samsung Gear instead of a Rolex.
I’m curious as to how smartwatches1 will evolve in the following years, and if they’ll truly take off.
- Truth be told, they’re not very smart at the moment. ↩