Swiss watch makers in deep shit, as Apple Watch designer Jony Ive predicted

“The numbers are in and it’s not great news for the Swiss watch industry. The Q3 figures, published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, reveal an 9.9% drop in watch exports for September, leading to an 8.5% slide for the quarter overall,” Hugh Langley writes for TechRadar. “It’s a big slide – the biggest quarterly drop since 2009 – so it’s understandable why flags are being raised. But what’s most interesting is that the original report suggests the Apple Watch ‘could finally be taking a bite out of the Swiss industry’s stake.'”

“According to the data, watches residing in the low to mid-segment, the domain where the Apple Watch Sport currently competes, were hit the hardest. It’s reasonable to speculate that smartwatches are eating into the cheaper end of the market,” Langley writes. “A September 2014 New York Times column claimed that Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive had said Switzerland was in trouble thanks to the Apple Watch – “though he chose a much bolder term for ‘trouble.'”

“‘Traditional watch makers are coming under pressure,’ Ben Woods, Chief of Research at CCS Insights, told us. ‘It would be naive to think the Apple Watch has not impacted the traditional market in some form. Watchmakers are reticent to acknowledge that’s happening because it’s not in their interest,'” Langley reports. “The reason the higher end of the market isn’t feeling the burn right now, claims Woods, is obsolescence. Where premium makers market their watchers as an heirloom to be passed down to the next generation, the technology inside the most expensive Apple Watch will probably be obsolete in a couple of years time. ‘Those high end companies can’t ignore smartwatches completely, but they are more likely to go down a path where we see intelligent bands,’ said Woods.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve suggested previously (see below), Swiss watch makers, especially high-end Swiss makers, need to make wearing “two watches” into vogue: The heirloom traditional watch armed (pun intended) with a smartwatch band. Your jewelry is displayed in it’s traditional spot and all of the real work is done by turning your palm up to see the “smartband.”

Apple would do well to produce an Apple Watch smartband (Apple Watch Band, available in a wide range of colors, styles, and materials) that can be affixed to traditional wristwatches. It’s basically an Apple Watch that sits in the inside of your wrist where the traditional buckle is now (ergonomically easier to use and atop better veins from which to gather biometric readings, by the way) while allowing for your traditional watch to sit where it’s always been.

Apple Watch Band. Shots of California and Apple Watch uses interspersed with images of Switzerland and a traditional watch being glanced at and slipping under a suit cuff. Tag: “The best of both worlds.”

The watches do not need to communicate; that’s not the point.

In fact, it’s already been done: Nico Gerard’s Pinnacle timepiece (US$9,300, Apple Watch included in purchase) includes a special attachment that allows users to affix an Apple Watch to its strap, creating a two-faced wearable. Obviously, Apple could offer Apple Watch Bands starting at much more affordable prices. Users add their own traditonal wristwatch.

[protected-iframe id=”168de43539d726647a07f75c7ca6eafb-17146794-18685410″ info=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/134956951?byline=0″ width=”570″ height=”321″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen=”” mozallowfullscreen=”” allowfullscreen=””]

 

Nico Gerard PINNACLE. This classic timepiece shows the world you have an affinity for discerning tastes, and provides you with the technology that respects you to the core of your being. The 41mm case exudes style personified. Inside the case lays the mechanical wonder of the NG2824A movement, certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, and is rated to 100-meter depths for pressure. The bracelet mechanics meld fine, Swiss-watchmaking traditions with the support of the 38mm Apple Watch.
Nico Gerard PINNACLE. This classic timepiece shows the world you have an affinity for discerning tastes, and provides you with the technology that respects you to the core of your being. The 41mm case exudes style personified. Inside the case lays the mechanical wonder of the NG2824A movement, certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, and is rated to 100-meter depths for pressure. The bracelet mechanics meld fine, Swiss-watchmaking traditions with the support of the 38mm Apple Watch.

 

We do not foresee anyone wanting to take off their Apple Watch in order to wear a “jewelry watch.” Apple Watch is not just a watch to be replaced with another regular watch. Maybe wearing two watches in come into vogue for special occasions?MacDailyNews Take, April 16, 2015

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. Watch and see.MacDailyNews Take, April 16, 2015

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014
LVMH’s Jean-Claude Biver sees tougher 2016 for Swiss watch industry – September 29, 2015
Swiss watch exports decline most since 2009 – August 20, 2015
I own two $6,000 Swiss watches, but I wear my Apple Watch most of the time – August 14, 2015
Swiss watch exports hit worst slump in five years as Apple Watch debuts – June 19, 2015
As Swiss watchmakers dismiss Apple Watch, Swiss National Bank increases Apple holdings by 60% – May 10, 2015
Apple Watch Edition is poised to disrupt the classic Swiss watch – April 16, 2015
Jean-Claude Biver changes his tune, calls Apple Watch ‘a fantastic product, an incredible achievement’ – January 20, 2015
TAG Heuer plans smartwatch as honcho Jean-Claude Biver changes mind as Apple Watch looms – December 16, 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

Swiss watch exports post biggest quarterly export drop since 2009 – October 20, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

42 Comments

  1. Nobody seems to know, that the swiss Frank (swiss curremcy) gained about ~15% Value against the Dollar in the past months, due to financial specilations of the wallstreet and others. This is the true problem of all swiss exports, not only the apple watch.
    I am Swiss and a longtime Apple customer. I will get an Apple watch, as soon it will get thinner…

  2. Waiting for that Tag Heuer smart watch that’s supposed to mop up the floor with Apple Watch I suppose the same way the Android phone mops up the floor with iPhone in profits. D’Oh!

    Those traditional Swiss watch makers are not going to just walk in with their own smart watch and take over after the years of R&D Apple put into the Apple Watch. (Oh wait. I guess they’re not.)

      1. Funny since I started off doing Pillsbury Doughboy commercials amidst Nestle Swiss Miss sets and models for anyone who can remember it. Well at further risk of showing my age, as Jimmy Durante said once “Everybody is tryin’ to get in-tah the act!”

  3. It still makes little sense to me that someone who is in the market for a fine Swiss watch would consider the Apple Watch a viable alternative. If I have 5000 – 10000 burning a hole in my afflutent pocket and I’m looking at an Omega or Rolex, The Apple just doesn’t fit in. I don’t care if Jony Ive goes on Dancing with the Stars or hosts and episode of The Kardassians, the Apple Watch does not have the emotional appeal of a luxury watch.

    The biggest reason luxury watches have been hit is probably China. The weak yuan and weak market hurt the Swiss more than Apple’s gadget, if the Apple Watch made a dent at all.

    I also still respectfully submit that there is no real “wearables” market. It’s like talking about the “tablet market.” There is only the iPad market for now. Just ask Microsoft how bad Surface sales have been.

    Not to mention most people no longer even wear watches.

    Most of us still have no real need for a steady stream of postage stamp sized notifications. The watch is primarily a 2nd screen for the iPhone. For now.

    1. With my Watch, I miss fewer notifications (phone calls, texts, driving directions) with it tapping me on the wrist than I did with my phone buzzing in my pocket. I will agree, however, that really is about it for right now. I suspect a “killer app” will come along in about another year or two.

      Swiss watches simply remain a puzzle to me: why does anybody spend that much to impress others with his ability to waste money? Obviously, it is not about keeping time; the $10 Walmart watch does that. It isn’t about features because a Swiss watch has none but time. “Heirloom” makes no sense because, believe me, the descendants don’t care; money or true functionality would appeal more to the new generation. It can only be bought for pure vanity, and I, personally, have no use for that.

      1. The allure of an automatic watch is that can maintain amazing levels of accuracy regardless of temps,lateral g, magnetic fields (even some in zero-gravity) in-spite of having no quartz or other electronic mechanism to regulate accuracy.

        They all have movements that are assembled painstakingly by hand. In a time of industrialization, computerization, etc – automatic watches are pure mechanical engineering marvels.

        Its also really the only form of jewelry accepted almost anywhere for a man to wear except for a wedding ring.

  4. Still don’t get he iWatch. I have to take it off every day to charge it so I can wear it the next day. Ain’t gonna happen! I’ll just keep plugging along with my Omega, thank you very much.

      1. I never take off my automatic watches wore a seatmaster from 1998 till 2008 without an issue. Only stopped when I got another watch in 2008 which i wore everyday shower, sleep, biking, snorkelling, etc till a few months ago when I got my AW :(… and since then I’m constantly very tempted to go back everyday.

  5. People are arguing that Apple Watch cannot impact the Swiss Watch industry as high end watches are way more expensive and heirlooms and they throw out example’s like top Rolex’s, Patek Phillipe’s etc.

    But the fact is (like I’ve pointed out before ) is that the highest end Swiss Watches only make a small part of the Swiss Watch industry. Most fall within Apple’s Watch’s range.

    W The Journal (high end watch journal)
    ” It should also be noted that, in 2012, Swiss watches cost on average 739 dollars (688 dollars in 2011),”

    739 Dollars Dudes!

    Also the number of NUMBER of watches sold are not large.
    “Switzerland exported 29.2 million finished watches in 2012”
    So even a few million Apple Watches sold a quarter (say 10-20 m a year) can have an impact on them.

  6. Perhaps high end watch manufacturers should focus on creating smart bands that can be used with their products. This would reduce or eliminate any need for putting all the tech in the actual timepiece.

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