So How's The Swiss Watch Industry Looking Now?
As beautiful on the inside as the outside, something a watch packed with electronics could never be.
Before the Apple Watch was announced Jony Ive was (in)famously quoted as suggesting the Swiss Watch Industry was dead in the water - although he was a lot more colloquial about it.
Given the impact that Apple has had on the phone industry - and Nokia and Finland in particular - there must have been some very real concerns in the quiet boardrooms of the Swiss cantons.
So, now that we know about the Watch versions, pricing and availability how are things looking for other watchmakers, Swiss or otherwise?
For the mid-price brands there are going to be some tough times ahead. Gucci, Swatch and Rado in particular seem likely to lose customers to Apple. Other brands like Hamilton, Tissot and TAG-Heuer might see some challenges at the lower end of their market, but frankly I'm struggling to see a customer who chooses between two such different products as the Apple Watch and, for example, the Hamilton Khaki, even if they sit in the same price bracket.
For the real boutique watch companies like IWC, Panerai and Patek Phillipe I see no cause for concern. Buyers of these sorts of watches buy many watches from many brands. At a guess I'd say that they might consider an Apple Watch as an addition to their collections, but actually probably not. Friends I know who are watch people see the beauty of the watchmaker's skill and the precision of the mechanisms they craft. I don't see that a combination of electronics and sensors, even if wrapped in a beautiful gold case, will appeal to them.
The Apple Watch will sell well, but not to buyers who buy timepieces for their inner beauty.