Apple Watch is killing the entire Swiss watch industry

The Apple Watch is killing the entire Swiss watch industry. A report by Strategy Analytics reveals that during 2019, Apple Watch sold more units than the entire Swiss watch industry: Apple shifted 30.7 million units, up 36% from the 22.5 million it sold in 2018, while the Swiss watch industry as a whole managed just 21.1 million watches, a decline of 13%.

Enrique Dans for Forbes:

Apple Watch is killing the entire Swiss watch industry. Pictures: Apple Watch Hermès all-black version.
Apple Watch Hermès’ all-black version.
Apple’s reinvention of the wristwatch is not only evident in its impressive sales figures: it can be seen by analyzing its usage dynamics. When somebody acquires an Apple Watch, they typically tell themselves they will wear it sometimes, but remain faithful to their favorite traditional watch. After all, the Swiss industry has been trying for years to get us to see watches as a fashion accessory or collectable. For many watch enthusiasts, a Swiss watch was a powerful status symbol.

But once you have tasted the apple, you’re lost. Experience shows that the Apple Watch is more than something that tells the time, and is instead receives notifications, evaluates your physical activity, shows the weather forecast, tells you if your team has won, and a myriad other things, including whether you are suffering from an arrhythmia. As soon as you start using the Apple Watch, you realize one thing is clear: the rest of your watch collection will live on in a drawer from now on.

MacDailyNews Take: As usual, we told you exactly what would happen years ago:

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… 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

10 Comments

  1. I don’t want to see the Swiss Watch industry decimated and choices reduced but personally I can’t see myself wearing anything other than an Apple Watch, it’s become so invaluable and useful. And even life-saving. A Rolex won’t save your life and call 911 as your car and you are stuck in a ditch or take an incapacitating fall. Nor detect heart problems.

  2. No – Apple is not killing the “entire Swiss watch industry”. It is killing one segment of it – namely the under $1000 segment. It is worth taking a look at the FY19 results of the two biggest Swiss watch conglomerates

    Swatch Group: Sales and profit down
    Richemont Group: Sales and profit up

    The key difference between these two groups is that Richemont does not play in under $1000 segment at all. By contrast, the Swatch Group has brands in pretty much every segment of the watch market, starting with Swatch at the very bottom and going up to Breguet at the ultra high-end. And they have a lot of brands in the under $1000 space including Swatch and Tissot which have historically been among their most successful brands.

    The Swiss watch industry was never about numbers of watches sold. Even before the Apple Watch, China and Hong Kong made the majority of watches worldwide while the Swiss grabbed the majority of the profits.

  3. Count me as one who tried the Apple Watch for a bit and went back to my Swiss collection. I don’t know if I would have made the same decision if I hadn’t already bought a few really nice watches but for me, the watch was the only piece of “jewelry” that I ever wear and I really love the craftsmanship that goes into a really nice mechanical watch.

  4. I have an Omega Speedmaster Moon watch and I take joy in winding it’s manual movement every day. I have a watch TO TELL TIME and not have it being some kind of aggregation of other functions AND having it doing things while driving…that gets to distractions that cell phones have caused. About the only other functions necessary might be health related.

  5. They will have to pry from my cold, dead wrist my 50 year old Rolex Sea Dweller. On the other hand, I also own APPL and most of their products: Two Macbook Pros, MacPro, iMac, MacMini, iPad and iPhone.

  6. I’d be really interested to see data that details the haves/have-nots (Apple Watch) per age. It seems a given that the % that readily embraces the digital watch will fall on the more on the youth side of the scale?

    The “need/want to know” information that a digi device brings, formed largely because of the iPh, so it’s pedestrian to the younger generation(s). It’s easier for the older generation to dismiss the fundamental need for the info the A-Watch brings…clearly not a default/must have object.

    Besides abhorring another thing to charge, age seems to be pointing me away from another device fulfilling info-immediacy…as if I need it anyway.

  7. I wasn’t a watch wearer, but got an Apple Watch as an exercise tracker. The notifications etc are just a nice bonus. But if I didn’t have that use for it I probably wouldn’t bother with one – it’s not as indispensable as an iPhone (yet).

  8. Blue water sailor here. Tried a bunch of watches with far more functionality but they couldn’t take the beating. My Rolex Sub has never missed a beat. For me, it’s the right tool for the job.

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