As Apple Watch sales ramp, Swiss watch makers suffer biggest slump in six years

“Swiss watch exports had their biggest decline in six years in October,” Corinne Gretler reports for Bloomberg.

“Shipments declined 12 percent to 2 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion), the Swiss customs office said in a statement Thursday. Adjusted for fewer working days, the drop was 7.6 percent. Exports to the U.S. dropped 12 percent,” Gretler reports. “‘2015 has been one to forget for the watchmakers,’ said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich.”

“Competition from Apple Inc.’s smartwatch has also weighed on low-end brands of timepieces,” Gretler reports. “Fossil Group Inc., a U.S. watchmaker, saw its stock slump 37 percent Nov. 13 after saying fourth-quarter sales may decline as much as 16 percent amid competition with wearable technology.”

Apple Watch Edition in 38mm 18-karat yellow gold case with bright red modern buckle strap
Apple Watch Edition in 18-karat yellow gold case with bright red modern buckle strap

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we predicted prior to Apple Watch launch:

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

Swiss watch makers in deep shit, as Apple Watch designer Jony Ive predicted – October 23, 2015
Swiss watch exports post biggest quarterly export drop since 2009 – October 20, 2015
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


    1. Pretty boring if this ranks as an “object of your desire”. How does the functionality of this $3-100k timepiece compare to Apple Watch? It doesn’t. Sure it’s a nice status symbol, but it’s part of a niche market that will only get smaller as the Apple Watch gets better.

      1. I think you’re missing my point. The assumption that people who are interested in this article are interested in Apple’s device is wrong. It’s like saying that the Google Driverless Car competes in the Austin Martin DB9 Market. It does not. (I mean if you could buy one now).

        If Austin Martin’s sales are down, it is not because Google’s sales are up. Correlation is not causation.

        If Austin Martin’s sales are down, other factors are effecting Austin Martin, i.e. the economy, the chief market etc. It’s not because those people suddenly wanted a driverless car.

        1. What is a google car? The Tesla car is real and almost driverless. Given the choice I’d buy a Model S against any other car. Just as in 2007 I would have bought an iPhone than any other phone. Hang on a sec, what’s that in my garage? …………gets in car……puts car in D drives off……five minutes later on the highway puts car in autopilot and reads paper till the car arrives at work. 🗿

      2. Ah Nick! It’s about the device itself! The beauty of the engineering! The craftsmanship. I’m kneed deep in digital technology. Surrounded by iMacs and iPads and iPhones etc. It’s a wholly different world than the fine watch world. When I look at the complexity and elegance of the movement in a Swiss watch I’m awed. It’s a combination of art and engineering.

        When I look at the Apple Watch I see something completely different. I see the beginning of a whole new category of wrist worn computers. I see possibilities. I don’t, however, get the same emotional response I do to a fine Swiss watch.

        Maybe it’s the fantasy. The Swiss watch represents a world I don’t belong to and never will. The Apple Watch is the same old world I live and work in I guess.

        1. I knew exactly what you meant. You will buy an existing device using newer or older tried & true technology based on taste, mood, appreciation or preference. (Or both.) Retro technology has it’s appeal too. A 1953 Hudson Hornet Twin-H convertible is still damn cool.

        2. Well TM, I’ll agree the Speedmaster is a beautiful piece of work, but I’m afraid I have to go with the Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” Limited Edition. Too bad I wasn’t born wealthy instead of, uh ….

    2. You are correct, that Apple does not compete in that market… But unfortunately for them, many potential buyers in that market have shifted their attention elsewhere and it seems as though they’re looking right at Apple.

    3. To each his/her own. Personally, I will never spend an absurd amounts of money on any timepiece. But I fully support your right to do so. I also reserve my right to pass judgment upon your actions, privately or publicly. Isn’t America great?!

      There are probably several use cases in which a fairly expensive traditional watch may be the best choice – diving, comes to mind. The Apple Watch is not designed for that activity (yet!). But, even in that case, many people now use diving computers that do a lot more than just track time.

      If I purchase an Apple Watch, it will be either the Sport or the stainless version. Even if I were very wealthy, I would not pay $10K or more for the Edition. It is simply not in my nature to waste money for style when the functionality is the same.

  1. MDN’s suggestion of wearing two watches is a nice thought for the traditional watch makers. But it will never happen.

    People wear expensive watches because their utility (time keeping) is a good excuse for having what would otherwise be ostentation jewelry, i.e. a $20,000 band on their wrist.

    If you already have an Apple time piece on one wrist, there is no utility excuse for a second watch. If you wanted to have something on the second wrist it would need to be either purely ornamental or have some new utility excuse.

    Also, the point of jewelry is to coordinate with an outfit. There is a lot of attitude in coordinating one-piece jewelry with many outfits, but when multiple pieces of jewelry are worn, aesthetic coordination between them is very important. So people would need to have expensive watches that visually matched their Apple Watch.

    Its not going to happen! This is another market doomed to shrink for years as Apple provides products nobody else has any good way to match.

    1. You are correct about the 2 watch idea. It will never fly. But I don’t think you quite get the luxury watch market. There is a deep admiration and love of the devices. It’s not about fashion. Maybe a tiny bit, but generally people who go out and spend from $5000 on up on a watch aren’t buying fashion. They aren’t buying a gadget. They’re buying a timepiece.

      It’s like appreciate of anything that is sufficiently above the norm. Fine wine, fine automobiles, fine watches.

      The Apple Watch does not fit this category. The 2nd Apple Watch 2 hits the market the price drops on the first one and no one wants it because it’s been upgraded. It’s a computer peripheral! Not a fine watch.

      A fine watch lasts forever. It gets handed down through generations.

      Although, it might be a very smart thing to buy a rather expensive Apple Watch 1, say in the $1000 range, and don’t open it. Let it sit for 20 years and pull it out and see what it might be worth as a collectors item.

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