According to Swatch co-inventor Elmar Mock, Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch could bring financial pain for the low end of Switzerland’s watch industry.
Mock believes that the Apple Watch will put a lot of pressure on the watch industry and jobs in Switzerland. In an interview, Mock told Bloomberg:
“Anything in the price range of 500 francs to 1,000 francs ($500-$1,000) is really in danger. I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us.”
Mock recalled the “quartz crisis” of the 1970s and 1980s, which prompted the development of plastic Swatch watches. Swatch watchmakers failed to anticipate the public demand for less-costly quartz watches, leading to a loss of tens of thousands of jobs. Mock said:
“So far I see watchmakers in this country making the same mistakes as back then. We’ve seen a lot of arrogance in the Swiss watch industry in the past few years, calling the smartwatch a gadget and not taking it seriously.”
Mock has been vocal among Apple Watch critics, saying that he does not believe that smartwatches are the next revolution. Even though he said that Apple will likely disrupt the watch industry with the Apple Watch, Mock is still hopeful that Swiss watchmakers will not suffer as much as they did in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Apple Watch starts at $449 for the smaller aluminium Sport model, and the stainless steel versions start at $699 with several models coming in at over $1000. The high-end 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will start at $13,000 with some models costing as much as $22,000. Apple has announced that the device will be available for pre-order starting on April 10 and will start shipping on April 24 to several countries including Canada.