The wild success of Apple Watch has created a luxury smartwatch boom

“It’s a strange situation: according to research firm Asymco, the world’s most successful watchmaker is Apple, with 2017 revenues eclipsing Rolex,” Alex Doak reports for Wired UK.

Strange, because Apple isn’t a watchmaker per se (whether you consider the Apple Watch a ‘watch’ is a different conversation). But even stranger because Apple wasn’t even making watches until three years ago. One could also argue the smartwatch sector was lacklustre and in danger of stalling before the arrival of Apple’s entrant, which in effect legitimised the market,” Doak reports. “Whatever your feelings about it, there’s no ignoring the fact the Apple Watch is everywhere.”

“It should have come as no surprise, then, that traditional watchmakers – sniffing a potential replay of the devastating effect cheap Far Eastern quartz technology wrought back in the Seventies – were eager to join the gold rush to horology’s newest frontier,” Doak reports. “Now that rush is over, with the histrionics subsequently easing up, and the smartwatch firmly entrenched as a standalone category at the lower end, from Armani to Timex.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple won the smartwatch market long ago, regardless of the number of weak attempts by traditional watchmakers to make their own “smartwatches.” Apple Watch easily outsells all of the wannabes combined. As of calendar Q417, Asymco estimated Apple Watch cumulative sales of 40 million units and revenue of $14.3 billion.

A growing group of users are finding their Apple Watches indispensable – May 22, 2018
Series 3 is now the most popular Apple Watch – March 15, 2018
IDC: Global wearables market grew 7.7% in Q417 and 10.3% in 2017 as Apple Watch seized the lead – March 1, 2018
Apple Watch dominates smartwatch market – March 1, 2018
Apple Watch sets new all-time record for wearables shipments; ‘Apple has won the wearables game’ – analyst – February 7, 2018
Apple Watch sales momentum is growing; unit sales now rival those of Macintosh – January 23, 2018
Apple Watch Series 3 shipments predicted to rise to 23-25 million in 2018 – December 14, 2017
Apple Watch: The war for wearables is over, and Apple won – December 12, 2017
Canalys estimates Apple shipped 3.9 million Apple Watch units in Q317, despite strong demand outstripping supply – November 14, 2017
When Apple Watch surpassed iPod – November 8, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Asymco point out that Apple sells more units and generates more revenue than all the other watch makers. I think we can also be sure that Apple is making a lot more profit on those sales than other watchmakers too.

    This is a bit of reversal of the situation with smartphones, where Apple doesn’t sell the most units or gain the highest revenue, but still generates by far the bulk of the profits for that sector. With Apple Watch, Apple must surely be leading on units, revenue and profits too.

    Apple entered the phone business and scooped up all the profits. The previous market leaders ( Nokia, Palm, Blackberry, Motorola, Ericsson etc ) are now mostly forgotten. Apple entered the music business and is making a ton of money for itself and for artists. Apple has totally disrupted the watch business after just three years and yet some people are still insisting that Apple won’t be able to take on Hollywood or the automobile industry because those industries are too big and powerful.

    1. re: usual situ being reversed with the A-Watch…most units/most profits. While assumed…it would be more than odd if not true, as it’s been an Apple “given” through the years.

  2. I’ve had one since day one and for a while – maybe first 6-9 months, it was rare to see one on someone else out and about. Seems like just about everyone I see out in public is wearing one – the Series 3 release seemed to be the inflection point for this change I think

  3. I’ve long thought the Apple Watch to be rather pointless (to me) as I’ve never liked wearing watches and if I had to have my iPhone with me for it be truly useful what was the point.

    FF three years and I’ve gotta admit I’m def intrigued with Series 3, what with the cell connection, walkie talkie and hiking apps. My kids have always been surprised that I’ve never purchased a Watch yet as I have every other Apple product on day one. I was ready to buy last week, but after hearing of the improved battery and reduced bezel that’s rumored for Series 4, I believe I can wait a couple more months.

    1. I never even thought of biting on the previous Apple Watch models. But water-resistance and built in cell radio made me take the chance with absolutely no regrets. The only issue to attack now is battery life. It lasts through my day but don’t ever forget your charger or it will be just a watch when the power runs out.

      Most used app is Dark Skies followed closely by Apples own activity app tracking my swimming laps. When the battery on my phone died I could still make a call home. Genius.

  4. I just wonder why everyone was saying how AppleWatch was a huge failure and that sales weren’t as high as expected. I’m always puzzled by such contradicting stories. It’s too bad AppleWatch can’t become as popular as the Amazon Echo and Alexa products/services. If only health insurance companies could help finance AppleWatches for subscribers then Apple could really move a lot of AppleWatches.

  5. Useless speculation since Apple doesn’t release “Other” financials.

    The only thing luxurious about the Apple Watch is that you don’t actually need one. It is a superfluous fashion item that does not replace the phone in your pocket.

    1. ……. especially if that “phone” is a Nokia or a Blackberry, I guess.

      Well, maybe you should just try one and see, because it is without doubt a wonder of the miniaturisation of technology. How can that be, you might ask:

      1. Fitness tracker ….. helps count your steps during the day, gives you a heart rate reading at any point during the day, shows you your heart rate trend through the day …. just as a few examples …. plus much more in this category, depending on your lifestyle.
      2. Notifications …. notifies you of incoming texts, for example. Why is this useful, because you may be interested in receiving a bank text that tells you a certain transaction has been received?. The important thing here is that this does not required you to look at your phone unless you need more detail.
      3. Music … enables you to control your music playing in your AirPods from your Watch face
      4. Apple Pay … pay directly at a suitable terminal with a swipe of the Watch.
      5. Tickets …. swipe your Apple Watch against an appropriate scanner for a flight, concert etc…
      5. Apple Watch Series 3 …. all of the above, but without being tethered to your iPhone over Bluetooth/Wi-fi.

      The above are a few easy to understand and useful examples; there are many others, although it is fair to say that the Apple Watch is only appropriate with the right level of functional interaction (you cannot throw large amounts of data at the small screen).

  6. Series 1 was just not such a great watch, I returned mine.
    Series 3 on the other hand is a great experience, I love it.
    So when people say it was a failure they are likely talking about early models. No comparison, IMHO, to the current crop.

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