The Apple Watch is official as of yesterday, but it has been making waves since the first rumours of such a device surfaced. Now that it’s here and we’ve seen its design, as well as some of its features, analysts are predicting its effect on the watch industry, and all eyes are on Swiss watchmakers (via Reuters).
A Swiss watch industry expert dismissed speculation of Apple luring away customers. In fact, he says the Apple Watch is not competition for the classic Swiss watch industry.
Franz Tuerler, owner of a luxury watch store on Zurich’s main shopping boulevard, Bahnhofstrasse, said the appeal of Apple watches would be to a different class of customer who prizes technology over prestige and emotional attachment.
“I think the Apple Watch will be successful. But it’s not competition for the classic Swiss watch industry,” Tuerler said.
Apple says the Watch’s retail price starts at $349. However, this compares to watches priced between $646 and $1,900. Such devices could feel the Apple pinch, but industry sources point to the low- and mid-end level watches and their manufacturers. These players will likely feel the impact next year.
Investors have singled out Swatch Group, which makes a fifth of its sales in the low and mid price ranges.
You may recall that Swiss manufacturers have shown no interest in partnering up with technology companies to launch a smartwatch. Swatch was the only one to say that it had the know-how to make a smartwatch on its own, and it doesn’t want to partner up with anybody.
Now, it still remains to be seen whether Apple will, in fact, succeed in redefining what people expect from a wristwatch.