Montblanc desperately tries to hit Apple Watch on ‘longevity’ angle

“By the end of the decade, smartwatches from Apple Inc. and others might elicit guffaws rather than envy. At least that’s the view of Montblanc’s Alexander Schmiedt,” Corinne Gretler reports for Bloomberg.

“The speed at which gadgets evolve poses a design challenge to the four-century-old Swiss watchmaking industry, Schmiedt, Montblanc’s managing director for watches, said in an interview. High-end wristwatches are made to last, while electronic devices become disposable within years, as seen in the demise of the 1980s calculator watch,” Gretler reports. “‘Our products should have very long life cycles,’ Schmiedt said at Montblanc’s watch factory, housed in an Art Nouveau villa in the rural Swiss town of Le Locle. ‘In modern technologies the life cycle is exactly the opposite. It may be the hottest thing today, and in one year it’s already outdated, and in two years you’re made fun of for still using it.'”

MacDailyNews Take: If this is all they’ve got, they’re dead already. Of course the life cycle is short. We want constant improvements, not decades of stagnation. These mechanical watchmakers are sitting ducks. It’s tragic or comical, depending whether you or yours work for traditional watchmakers or not.

“Montblanc, owned by South African billionaire Johann Rupert’s Richemont, has created a luxury item with high-tech appeal by putting the electronics in the watchband rather than the timepiece. Montblanc’s $390 ‘e-Strap’ goes on sale next month and accompanies its TimeWalker watches, which cost $3,700 to $5,800. Richemont will probably only embed technology in watchbands, Rupert said on a conference call about full-year earnings announced Friday,” Gretler reports. “Rupert owns almost every product Apple Inc. has made and was the first agent selling Apple devices in South Africa decades ago, he said. ‘I love Apple, but just when I’ve gone and set everything up for an iPhone 5, the iPhone 6 is coming out and the cords change,” he said. ‘That is not to say the Apple Watch is not a great product. I predict it will do very well, but I don’t think that customers are going to be ecstatic to throw away watches in one to two years when the technology is obsolete.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Ahh, there’s really nothing quite like a South African billionaire complaining that he has to replace a $19 cord.

(Not to mention that iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 both use Lightning connectors, so… You lie.)

A word of advice for Montblanc: Focus on pens.

Gretler reports, “Schmiedt has said he hopes the Apple Watch will succeed because it boosts consumer interest in timepieces.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, in Apple Watches. Once you use one, you’ll never want to take it off. Watch and see.

As we wrote back in April:
Here’s what makers of Swiss or any other watches should do: Push the idea of wearing of two watches, one on each wrist or two on one wrist, into vogue. Because once people start using Apple Watch, they aren’t going to want to leave it at home. Ever. They won’t want to go to dinner parties without their Apple Watch. And that’s bad, bad news for watchmakers not named Apple.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “By the end of the decade, smartwatches from Apple Inc. and others…”

Now, who would these “others” be? Those who, as with the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, steal Apple’s patented IP and infringe upon Apple’s trade dress with impunity, of course.

Related articles:
Apple’s Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014
Apple Watch starts countdown on face off with Swiss industry – October 31, 2014
The fashion elite crowd around Apple Watch at Colette in Paris – September 30, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: Apple Watch ‘too feminine; looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester’ – September 16, 2014
Barclays: Apple Watch could crush companies like Fossil – September 16, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 2014
Old school watch makers don’t get Apple Watch – September 12, 2014
Apple Watch, the world’s first real smartwatch, will be a massive hit – September 9, 2014
Apple iWatch designer Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014


  1. The iPhone5 and 6 both have lightning cables. Just sayin’, Mr. Billionaire. Oh, and might be a good time to sell your watch company. Again, just sayin’.

  2. Montblanc forgets a basic fact – the extremely limited functionality in a traditional watch vs. near unlimited i a smart watch aka Apple Watch. As another Emperor once said “You will pay the price for your lack of vision!!,” e-Strap notwithstanding. They will find themselves “e-strapped” before long.

      1. Having just got my Apple Watch today all I can say is I’m delighted with it. It does help minimize the yo-yo action of grabbing the iPhone in your pocket and just using the Watch, even on phone calls (it’s a Dick Tracy sensation). The first time the Haptic engine buzzed I nearly jumped out of my chair.

    1. ” I predict it will do very well, but I don’t think that customers are going to be ecstatic to throw away watches in one to two years when the technology is obsolete.’”

      I don’t have a Montblanc watch. However, I have 3 watches of equal quality and value, in addition to virtually all of Montblanc’s writing instruments.

      As for his prediction, I agree that I too would not be ecstatic to throw away my  Watch. As would be all my family members who are waiting anxiously for the next iterations so that they can get my ‘outdated’ hand-me-down models. Just like they did as each new iPhone, as well as every Mac desk/labtop I bought was released.

      I find it incomprehensible that just because Apple brings out a newer version, anyone would suggest their current model becomes obsolete. History doesn’t support such rhetoric.

      1. I used to think that until I purchased my $900 iPad first gen only to have Apple stop support and iOS updates after only 2 years. I am now very weary of new Apple products.

        1. And yet there are a sizable set of us still using the first gen iPad. After all, it does everything, and more, than it did when it was new.

          Some of us have later/newer iPads, but still use the original one as well.

  3. Citizens of the free world, it certainly is ironic to read the lament from those who “want constant improvements, not decades of stagnation.” thus bypassing the regression that happens when a nation embraces torture thus taking one small step back for a human, one giant leap backwards for humankind.

    How many more head variations on a screwdriver do you need?

    There is something to say for endurance and the Macs endure. A lot of very old units still maintain functionality and are still a joy to own.
    The value of the Mac computers get better with age, unlike most technology.

    Improvements yes, stagnation at times, but don’t be fooled citizens of the free world by what some wannabe media masters try to portray, or neglect. Regression is another driving force, and you don’t have to look far to see what happens to those that embrace it.

  4. Montblanc is one of many units of the conglomerate Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, the second-largest luxury goods company in the world.

    Looks like they don’t welcome the new kid on the block.

  5. The ironic thing is that those expensive watches need servicing every few years, and the servicing typically costs on the order of $500–enough to replace your Apple Watch.

  6. Buy anything from Mont Blanc and when it needs service or you need help, good luck. Mont Blanc excels at truly abysmal service with premium prices. I’ll gladly stick with Apple period.

  7. Hplan kinda nails it. I have just taken in my mid 80’s Rolex in to Rolex for the third time since I’ve owned it. Thought I would pass it on to the kid as a graduation present. I feel like I should get him an apple watch instead. Estimate came back for approx. 1400.00 to be ‘refurbished’. Apparently the face is faded..the hands are worn. The stem needs replacing. Etc etc The oils inside have dried out ..again. The last couple times ithe bill was well north of 500.00. So much for a watch that supposedly ‘lasts’ from generation to generation. It does if you are prepared to pay and pay and…I have a second newer Rolex I bought a few years ago. It sits in the auto winder. When it gets older I’ll probably toss it in the drawer. I’m off this silly merry go round.
    Oh.. I love my new apple watch. It’s fun and in thre years I’ll be ready for the next generation. This new merry go round promises to be more fun.

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