• Swiss Co-Inventor: An Ice Age is Coming for Swiss Watches



    Apple’s upcoming entry into the wearable market may cause a huge problem for the low-end of Switzerland’s watch industry according to Swatch co-inventor Elmar Mock. He believes that the Apple Watch “will put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland.” He continued by telling Bloomberg the following regarding the matter:

    Anything in the price range of 500 francs to 1,000 francs ($500-$1,000) is really in danger. I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us.
    For those of you who have been living under a rock,, the Apple Watch starts at $349 for the smaller aluminum Sport model and the stainless steel variants max out at just over $1,000. The luxury editions versions which are made out of 18-karat gold begin at $10,000. Mock recalls the “quartz crisis” of the ‘70s and ‘80s, which precipitated the development of the plastic Swatch watch. This was all caused by the watchmakers failing to anticipate the public demand for less-costly quartz watches which resulted in tens of thousands of jobs being lost in the process, all ceding to large Japanese firms which offered what the public was looking for. Mock said the following regarding the matter:

    So far I see watchmakers in this country making the same mistakes as back then. We've seen a lot of arrogance in the Swiss watch industry in the past few years, calling the smartwatch a gadget and not taking it seriously.
    One of the most vocal people among the Apple Watch critics has been the Swatch Group CEO, Nick Hayek, who went on record stating that he doesn’t “believe [smartwatches] are the next revolution.” Hayek has reversed his course of action by revealing plans to take on both the Apple Watch and Apple Pay with a smart device that Swiss will be releasing of their own.

    Although the Apple Watch is likely to cause some rifts in the industry, Mock is ultimately hopeful that Swiss watchmakers won’t suffer a repeat of its dark days even though he continues to have a grim outlook for the short-term. Mock had the following to say regarding the matter:

    We do have the technology, and the Swiss watch industry hasn't lost the competition, just hope the top managements of the companies will react accordingly. Apple won't die if the smartwatch isn't a success. But in the next two to three years, a part of the Swiss watch market will suffer strongly.
    How do you think the Apple Watch will affect the industry? Share your thoughts below!

    Source: Bloomberg
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Swiss Co-Inventor: An Ice Age is Coming for Swiss Watches started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. cooldesi's Avatar
      cooldesi -
      This maybe right.. I dont normally spend more than $100 on my watches and already have over 10 of them sitting in my drawers, but if I have to spend anything close to $300 now, the choice will be obviously iWatch, even though it may just be the sports model.
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      ^^ +1
    1. talkin73's Avatar
      talkin73 -
      Mock sees what consumers are doing. Hayek is trying to speak something into being; though rightfully changed course when reality came creeping in. For people that already wear watches the movement to smart watch seems more straightforward. I do think the apple watch will make new watch wearers because of what it offers. People who didn't wear a watch because it only told time and maybe functioned as a fashion piece will put this thing on their wrist because of what it can do for them. The people who are railing against this notion just aren't learning from history.
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      I wish the sports watch had interchangeable bands.
    1. Mlitz69's Avatar
      Mlitz69 -
      I'm sure it does have interchangeable bands
    1. Sage I's Avatar
      Sage I -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silverado1987 View Post
      I wish the sports watch had interchangeable bands.
      I thought they all had interchangeable bands...
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Oh. I just thought the sport watch didn't have interchangeable bands. Otherwise if that's the case I could buy the aluminum sport watch and buy a nice band and be done.
    1. LWalsh's Avatar
      LWalsh -
      I'm an Apple fan girl, but I see watches as a fashion accessory. I own watches by Movado, Bulova and Citizen. I don't see anything fashionable about the Apple watch. I'm good with my iPhone.
    1. Rondon360's Avatar
      Rondon360 -
      Rolex should be worried 10,000 for an 18k iwatch, and that's just to start.
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rondon360 View Post
      Rolex should be worried 10,000 for an 18k iwatch, and that's just to start.
      Seriously? It's most likely a cool device. However, you have wifi, Bluetooth and a battery on your wrist all day. You cannot seriously compare a 110 years old watch maker that is one of the best in the world to a novelty item. A Rolex will last you 50-60 years and keep time without a second in deviation. It's just not the same ballpark. I don't think that any of the high end watch makers are worried. It's a different demographic that will buy this.
    1. rodnutz's Avatar
      rodnutz -
      I'm not happy with the battery life, but I am kind of tempted to get one. I want a mid tier version, but sadly I'm gonna pass on the first generation because I really want to see how Apple will handle the band issue.

      If I invest $1K for a mid tier watch will the bands be usable with a newer version of the watch next year? If they carry over and will fit newer versions of the watch then I'd buy one ASAP. And that would be extremely thoughtful design on Apple's part. But if I gotta buy new bands with each and every new watch I'll be very disappointed and would rather just keep my money or buy a Pebble.

      I'm curious if anyone else has had a similar thought like me about the bands?
    1. novadam's Avatar
      novadam -
      Quote Originally Posted by rolandgabor View Post
      Seriously? It's most likely a cool device. However, you have wifi, Bluetooth and a battery on your wrist all day. You cannot seriously compare a 110 years old watch maker that is one of the best in the world to a novelty item. A Rolex will last you 50-60 years and keep time without a second in deviation. It's just not the same ballpark. I don't think that any of the high end watch makers are worried. It's a different demographic that will buy this.
      also, Apple watch isn't waterproof. can't scuba dive, swim, etc. with apple watch.

      you can with Rolex.
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Quote Originally Posted by novadam View Post
      also, Apple watch isn't waterproof. can't scuba dive, swim, etc. with apple watch.

      you can with Rolex.
      Because it's not a watch per se. It's more like a phone with limited abilities on your wrist. I guess they keep calling it a watch due to that and the shape. However, sticking feathers up your but does not make you a chicken.
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