Will The iWatch Have The Swiss Quaking In Their Boots?

If the internet is to be believed Jonny Ive recently made a rather stark prediction for Switzerland post-iWatch launch. Based on Apple's amazing achievements in remaking the music, phone, tablet and laptop industries over the last decade and a half are the Swiss now contemplating ending it all in the fondue?

Personally I believe that there isn't a single watch market for Apple to disrupt and the high end markets, where the money in traditional watch making is to be made, aren't going to suffer one bit from the introduction of the iWatch.

However, there are two sectors of the market where the iWatch will definitely have an impact - should it arrive on Tuesday.

First, the large majority of young people who don't own a watch, instead getting all the time related information they need from their phones. These seem like exactly the sort of customers Apple should be able to easily win over - the iWatch will score in the fashion, capability and brand areas, effectively making it this generation's iPod.

Secondly, there are the mid-range watch buyers - who look for something more than a cheap watch, but aren't prepared to pay a hefty premium to get one. These people currently buy Swatch, Casio, Seiko and similar brands, in the price range between £200 and £500. That's where I expect Apple to score highly.

Whilst Swatch, Casio and Seiko shareholders are pretty nervous right now I just can't see a smartwatch ever competing with a Rolex, Heuer, Panerai or even Omega. I know I wouldn't give up my watch for one.

However, and here's where I wonder if Apple have got the jump on Samsung, Sony, et al; if the iWatch turns out to be more than just a watch, but rather a indispensable wearable that adds to the smart phone experience I could certainly see myself wearing one as well as my current watch.

Whilst the world will be watching with baited breath on Tuesday, I doubt there'll be much in the way of panic in the Swiss watch-making industry right now.


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