For years, the best timepieces always came from Switzerland. When you had a Swiss made watch, it was generally a thing of beauty and accuracy – remember the old Jeweled Swiss Movement. Recently though, we have seen watches from the likes of Sony, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Pebble and now even Apple – unheard of until the term 'smartwatch' entered our vocabulary a few years back. More and more young people are bypassing the traditional Swatch Watch or Fossils watch purchase to grab a techno gadget made from a mobile device company that up until this time, quite frankly, 'wouldn't give you the time of day,' unless it was on the display of a smartphone.
Android manufacturers have been producing hi-tech and quality smartwatches now for the past two-three years with some success as sales to early adopters have started to spread into mainstream society. During that time period, we heard very little coming from the Swiss Alps, but now with the arrival this April of the Apple Watch, all of a sudden we are hearing the yodel of despair from some and happiness from others. Some analysts predict that Apple will sell 20 million watches in the first year and divert buyers from other Swiss brands – Swatch could see a 6-percent hit in their annual sales revenue according to Barclays analysts.
Smartwatch purchasers were once dismissed as appealing to a different class of customer who prized technology over prestige – a Rolex, Tag Heuer or Breitling buyer is still going to buy those style watches, although may add a smartwatch into their collection. Analysts and Swiss industry executives are now optimistic that the Apple Watch will make owning a watch cool again and might even cause the younger people, used to looking at their smartphone for the time, will once again purchase a wrist watch. Nick Hayek, chief executive of Swatch, the world's largest watchmaking group, told SonntagsBlick in January, "This is not a threat but a huge opportunity for us and the Swiss watch industry."
The Swiss have not been sitting back in their usual 'neutral' position watching this from afar – Swatch has been dabbling in smartwatch experiments for more than a decade and already make some components for wearables and is planning on debuting its own Swatch Smartwatch that will work with both Apple and Android-based phones. Montblanc announced in January its TimeWalker Urban Speed e-strap watch – a traditional mechanical watch with Bluetooth device in the strap. Tag Heuer has partnered with a US tech company to produce a watch outside of Switzerland. Guess Inc. is planning to launch the Guess Connect later this year. Fossil has played around with the smartwatch idea since 2003 and has partnered with Intel to produce an Android Wear smartwatch. Most watch collectors welcome the smartwatch into their fold, but only as an addition to their traditional watches. Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know whether you have already purchased a smartwatch, plan on doing so, or have do intentions of owning one…as always, we would love to hear from you.