“Forty years ago, the Swiss watch industry nearly died. The advent of Japanese quartz watches, cheaper and more accurate than their mechanical Swiss rivals, drove many traditional watchmakers out of business,” James Shotter and Tim Bradshaw report for The Financial Times. “Two generations on, a new question is occupying the country’s watch industry: will Apple’s new smartwatch be the prelude to a similar upheaval?”

“‘I am sure that these devices represent a new market segment, and that, in the medium term, this segment will have more value than the traditional watch industry,’ says Elmar Mock, one of the inventors of the Swatch watch and founder of Creaholic, an innovation consultancy. ‘This new segment is a fantastic opportunity,” Shotter and Bradshaw report. “Analysts at Citi estimate that the smartwatch market could be worth $10bn by 2018 – and Apple is certainly bullish about its prospects. Tim Cook, chief executive, believes that Apple Watch would follow in the steps of its other blockbusters, such as the iPod and the iPhone, by redefining an entire category.”

“Functionality is not Apple Watch’s only advantage – it is also backed by enormous financial firepower. The tech company’s stock market capitalisation is larger than the entire Swiss watch industry, points out Jon Cox, head of Swiss equities at Kepler Cheuvreux,” Shotter and Bradshaw report. “Apple is also trying to position Watch as a fashion item as much as a timepiece. The device graced the cover of Vogue in China, the world’s biggest watch market, and was showcased during Paris Fashion Week at boutique Colette.”

Read more in the full article here.

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