Watch enthusiast: Apple Watch is nothing special

“With the breathless hype surrounding next year’s release of the Apple Watch and the novelty of being able to read Twitter and Facebook updates from your wrist, there is still an elusive something the watch will never be able to deliver: emotion,” Mia Taylor reports for MainStreet. “At least that’s the reaction from some luxury watch industry insiders.”

“‘I cannot say it would never appeal to the luxury market. But when someone buys a high-end watch, they’re buying it because of the emotion, because it makes them feel special. It’s a feeling you cannot get with an Apple Watch, iPhone or computer,’ says Philip de Palma, founder and CEO of The Watch Enthusiast, a luxury watch review app with 166,000 users in 129 countries. ‘A luxury watch is mechanical, hand-made, hand finished. It produces its own energy, and it tells time. And only time. The old-fashioned way,'” Taylor reports. “‘It’s nothing special. Frankly speaking, I’m a little disappointed, I was expecting something with more innovation,’ de Palma says. ‘Apple invented the iPhone, iPad and iPod. This is just another one of those things. We have seen this already.'”

Taylor reports, “‘Will it be the death of watch industry? Definitely no,’ de Palma says. ‘It’s not the same audience. It’s going be watch No. 15 or 20 of the true watch collector who will buy it just for fun because it’s Apple and he wants to do something wild or different like ‘Look at me putting on my Mickey Mouse glasses and this watch.””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Just getting this guy on record for future use.

Happy Friday! Hoist!!!

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73 Comments

    1. Exactly So. This writer is just whistling in the dark. She is about to be roadkill. How many other industries have been flattened by the “market disruption” that Apple causes. I wonder how the camera industry feels or the CD player industry, or the makers of GPS units, or many other industries that have seen their prospects dim as people drop their purchase plans because they can “do it on their phone”. iCal this one for sure.

      1. Oh, and the iPhone or Apple watch cannot deliver “emotion”…. What a total screamer that whopper is… The “emotion” my iPhone gives is “thrilling”, “I LOVE it”, “How did I EVER get along without it”, “Hey, this thing is GREAT”, etc. The reason so many people stand in line for 12 blocks is that they are waiting for a toaster? This person is totally clueless…

    1. Exactly. Asking luxury watch enthusiasts (i.e., people who love big, flashy, expensive watches that only tell time and who love that they are hand made) what they think of a computer on your wrist is like asking Shakespeare what he thinks about the TV. The opinion is irrelevant as to what people who are the target audience thinks about the product.

  1. He lists a bunch of things that a luxury watch must be and then claims to be disappointed at the lack of innovation? Anything innovative would be different from his mandated criteria. What an idiot.

        1. Sorry; let me try again. I was trying to point out that some people miss paradigm shifts. Like the new Apple Watch v established high end watches. And like electric-powered vehicles v those powered by internal-combustion-engines. In terms of performance, internal combustion engines are becoming obsolete, because electric vehicles are faster. I was just trying to point out that people who are tied to old technology (like internal combustion engines and “swiss-movement” watches) will not likely see the paradigm shift that renders those technologies obsolete. As one pundit once put it: “The future is here, now — you just need to know where to look to see it”!

  2. Is there any word that has become more meaningless than innovation? It’s just tossed around without any context or understanding. The only people that seem to understand what it means are at Apple, and that’s why they’re the only ones doing it.

  3. I bought my first Rolex watch almost 50 years ago and have owned several ever since. My wife also owns a couple of them herself. I think he is wrong in that I plan to buy at least one Apple Watch and my wife plans to buy one as well.

    I have watched (get it, watched) the Apple Watch announcement several times and I think the design grows on you (at least me) just like my first Rolex President did decades ago. The functions appear to be amazing. IMHO I believe the Apple Watch will be as important as the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and even the Mac.

    1. Just curious. Why did you buy a Rolex? Indeed why would you buy several? I know a few folks who show off their Rolex watch like it is some charmed thing. Does it keep better time? They all appear to me to be large and heavy. I liken Rolex folks to Googleglass folk, it seems all for attention. I understand buying a Porsche for example because of the performance, but a mechanical watch? Explain to me will you please?

      1. If you need it explained, then you don’t get it, but that’s OK. Not everyone wants a Rolex that’s for sure, but why do you have a problem if some people do? Difference is what make the world an interesting place. And no, far from all Porsche owners buy them for their performance. Reasons are many, varied and often complex when we make buying decisions, especially for high end items.

      2. Joe, like .me said I probably couldn’t explain the Rolex thing to you. But then again, I probably couldn’t explain why I drive a Bentley instead of a Porsche either.

          1. You are probably referring to that old question as to why a dog licks his dick. However you are right in that it makes it possible for me to do things, but I try to do things that are interesting without doing them because I can. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

            What I was trying to convey earlier is that the author of the article is trying to defend watches based on things like “they have soul” whatever that means. And that he is wrong for many of us who have been watch enthusiast for many years. He has a vested interest in the future success of traditional watches as do I. But unlike him, I feel that I have looked past my self interest and have concluded over many hours of investigation that the Apple Watch transcends whatever value the traditional watches provide because the Apple Watch will provide value beyond what we perceive today. The wrist is the perfect place to provide information and has been for watch users for over 100 years. IMHO the Apple Watch will occupy that precious space because of its utility. I could go on about how clocks went from large pieces of equipment (like Big Ben) to wrist pieces of equipment because the information they provided was valuable enough to be worn. Like the watch the computer has gone from large pieces of equipment that occupied rooms to equipment that sits on a desk to laptops to phones and will make that same migration to the wrist in the next few years.

      3. CJ –

        I’ll take a stab at an answer. There are a lot of pompous people out there that need a Rolex as a status crutch. I’ve read grwishers comments here over time, and I don’t feel like he’s part of that crowd, but I get where you may be coming from.

        Fwiw, I have a friend that collects and restores vintage bicycles, gorgeous pieces of mechanical art all of them. When he’s done with the restoration, he pretty much just keeps them in his shop so he can peddle around on them a few times a year, or sometimes he hangs on his wall in his house and leaves them there for years.

        Are there more modern, more efficient means of transport out there? No question. Does it make sense that he’s got a bike hanging on a wall like it’s a Picasso? Dunno. There is however one thing I can say some certainty: They are things of beauty that mean something to him.

    2. I was at a family party where about half a dozen cousins from the wealthier side of the family started remarking about how they loved their Rolexes and one by one showed off their $25K watches until they got to me. I was wearing a G-Shock Walmart Special $40 watch which kept better time than any of theirs but did not bother to point it out. If that situation ever arrises again, I no doubt can show them my Apple Watch (stainless steel) but they will long since have ditched their Rolex and have the Apple Watch Gold Designer Watches to show off.

  4. Yeah, ‘coz no one ever got emotionally attached to an iPhone (or other phone for that matter) did they! And this is just another of those ‘things’ that’s now strapped to your wrist.

    And those high end watches that ‘just tell the time’ also tell the date using over complicated dials, which I love, by the way. They’re called complications. And I saw one recently that came in three versions. The difference was the accuracy of the chronograph. 100th, 1000th or 10,000th of a second. With prices adding zero’s at the same rate. In other words, pointless and futile gimmicks have a place in the world of watches. A slew of great and genuine functions will be just as welcome.

    1. File under: “OH, YEAH?”

      “…they’re buying it because of the emotion, because it makes them feel special. It’s a feeling you cannot get with an Apple Watch, iPhone or computer.”

  5. One more thing.

    What he gets wrong is that he thinks the Apple Watch is primarily a watch just like the mobile phone makers thought the iPhone was primarily a phone. The iPhone was and is a computer that happens to make phone calls. The Apple Watch is a computer that happens to tell the time.

    But only time (get it, only time) will tell.

  6. CEO of an app?
    Yea, he’s protecting his income.

    “Will it be the death of watch industry? Definitely no,”
    Yea, he’s definitely protecting his income.

  7. Benjamin Clymer of Hodinkee and Ariel Adams of aBlogToWatch had much more sensible takes on this.

    I don’t think it will kill high-end watches – not initially, at least. If you can buy a $500 quartz watch which already does way more than any mechanical watch could and still choose to buy a mechanical watch for $10K then the Apple Watch is not going to sway you – not initially at least.

    However, a successful Apple Watch will start by disrupting the below $1000 segment of quartz watches. This is where the big three Japanese companies play – not to mention the fact that there are plenty of Swiss companies in this segment as well.

    Eventually, even the high end could get affected. If people find the Apple Watch so useful that they need to have it on their wrist all the time, they may stop wearing their high-end mechanicals. After all, most people wear at most one watch. 🙂

    – HCE

  8. I have two rolexes up for sale … I will easily forgo the “emotion” and “prestige” of a very expensive watch in exchange for all the amazing technology and beautiful design of the Apple Watch.

    I figure for what I can sell those two watches for I can buy most of my family an Apple Watch for a present next year, have one of each model for myself, and have several thousand left over.

  9. I think some here are still nostalgic over Seiko’s 80’s offerings, especially their distinctive TV Watch. Basically, they are too jaded to see the brilliance of Apple Watch.

  10. If you’re a watch lover, and I am, I gotta admit, I look at the Apple Watch and I think “Neat!” Lots of people will want one of those.

    I look at an Omega Men’s Seamaster 300M Chronograph or a Tag Heuer Formula 1, and I gurgle with lust. And these are not even the creme of the luxury watch crop.

    They’re different products for different markets. The Apple Watch is a gadget. A lovely, fashionable, functional gadget, but it’s got that consumer electronics personae. Still they’re going to sell a bizagillion of them. Not to watch lovers though.

    A well made conventional watch has that fine instrument cachet, that art meets engineering, craftsmanship vibe that you don’t get anywhere else.

      1. I heartedly disagree that the Watch can be dismissed as simply having the personality of a “consumer electronics gadget”.

        That’s dismissive of Apple’s approach to the design and functionality of its products. Indeed, Apple’s approach is well described as “art meets engineering, craftsmanship vibe that you don’t get anywhere else.”

        The fact that Apple products are within the reach of more consumers than, for example, a Patek Philippe watch is irrelevant. Indeed, the level of technical, engineering and artistic design devoted to the Watch surpasses that of the Patek Philippe. Yet the Watch is affordable to many more people than is the Patek Philippe. That’s good. “Exclusivity” is not the hallmark of art, design and engineering!

    1. The same could be said about a vintage fountain pen, or a high-end model made today by a number of companies in Japan, Europe or the U.S.

      You either get it or you don’t.

  11. This guy is talking about a market that is completely different to that which the Apple Watch is aimed at, which measures innovation in a variation on an existing movement that improves accuracy by an amount that is meaningless to most people, adds features that most owners will never, ever use, due to the extra ‘complication’, and adds a couple of extra noughts to a price that is already astronomical by any reasonable standards.
    Such devices are bought by the likes of professional soccer players, overpaid assholes who love to display their wealth by having stupidly expensive toys on display to flaunt their wealth.
    That’s not to disparage the craftsmanship that goes into such watches; they are things of astonishing micro-engineering and accuracy, but few appreciate that, it’s all about the cost, and the conspicuous display of wealth.
    Would I buy a Watch?
    No. I have two mechanical watches, a Yema Rallygraf, my first ‘grown-up’ watch bought around forty years ago, and currently worth somewhere around £500, which is pretty accurate for its age, (it shares a movement with Breitling of that period), and a Seiko ‘SPORK’, which is automatic, has a 55-hour reserve, has a remarkably clear face that is clearly readable in the dark without having to press any buttons, and is 55 seconds slow after six months, which is quite good enough for me, and which cost me £350, the price of a Watch.
    I’m pretty sure both the Yema, which is heading towards a half-century, and the Seiko, which will easily last as long, probably very much longer, in fact both will outlive me, will see off a device like the Watch.
    It’s beautifully functional, and is stunningly designed, the strap arrangements are a work of genius, compared to the old-fashioned spring-pillar arrangement, but I just don’t see a use for it, that isn’t already catered for by my phone, which isn’t a substitute for my watch for telling the time.
    That’s what I own a watch for, the phone is for everything else.

    1. I don’t believe you are the target market. If you buy one it will not be for telling the time.
      It’s all about the messaging, haptic contacts, health data etc. Some of which can be done by a phone or a nike band but not with the elegance of a fashionable his’n’hers wrist computer.

  12. The mechanical watch is dead. Well, it is in 99% of the market.
    What makes this reviewer believe that as one of the 1% still interested in a Rolex (or other chunk of wrist metal) is the target for Apple? As with the iPad the target is a whole new market segment for which time is just a bit of the product not the be-all and end-all.
    Having a device that offers ‘communication with friends and loved ones’ in new ways is a whole new ball game. It sounds to me that it is going to be a winner.
    Timex and the single chip digital watch will go the way of the persnal cassette player – ie. dead for anyone with the money to afford something better. Those with limited resources will buy the Samsung/Android knock-offs that the companies are probably screaming to produce at this moment – but the Apple product will have a 2 year lead on all but the crudest copies.
    The real departure for Apple is the move into the luxury market – where gold, and fancy wrist bands equals premium, asperational jewellery and mega-bucks with huge margins for essentially the case surrounding the same chip.
    I just hope that Apple don’t go down the road of limiting functionality on cheaper variants that have the same innards.
    The Apple iPad and iPhone to a large degree offer an egalitarian solution for customers – yes you can flash out on more GB’s but they basically all do the same thing. I hope the same is true between the gold watches and the alloy basics. I personally dont want any bling – but I would like it not to be deliberately disabled for the poorer folks.

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