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Businesses Apple

Swatch Co-Inventor Predicts Apple Will Bring an 'Ice Age' To Swiss Watch Market 389

MojoKid writes It seems that these days everything Apple touches turns to gold, hence why the company was able to post an $18 billion profit for its fiscal first quarter of 2015. Be that as it may, can Apple popularize the smartwatch market as others have been unable to do so far? Not only is that the expectation, but according to Swatch watch co-inventor Elmar Mock, Apple is going to bring about an "Ice Age" to the Swiss watch market. Elmar noted that he expects the Apple Watch to quickly reach sales of 20 million to 30 million units per year. For the sake of comparison, Switzerland exported 28.6 million watches in 2014, none of them with smart capabilities. "Apple will succeed quickly. It will put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland...I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us," Elmar said. Analysts for Barclays noted to investors that the Apple Watch launch could result in a 6 percent annual decline in Swatch Group AG's revenue. To keep up with the times and fend off Apple, there are at least three Swiss watch companies planning to make smartwatches, including Swatch Group, which will unveil a smart model sometime this year.
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Swatch Co-Inventor Predicts Apple Will Bring an 'Ice Age' To Swiss Watch Market

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  • $30 Timex (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 )

    My $30 Timex tells me the time just fine.

    While the idea of a "wrist communicator" sounds almost as cool as a Star Trek chest badge, I just can't see spending hundreds of dollars on such a thing when I don't even own a "smart phone" because I rarely leave the house. Quite frankly, I don't see the point of devices that have to be tethered to a smart phone, because that means you still have a pocket full of phone to bend or break.

    • Re:$30 Timex (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:26PM (#49238475)

      because I rarely leave the house

      Yea I don't think you're the norm, or even remotely relevant. Most people aren't shut-ins.

    • Re:$30 Timex (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aralin ( 107264 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @10:57PM (#49238905)

      How is your comment relevant to any discussion about Apple Watch? Let me paraphrase what you've said: "I'm unique in this very special way and in my particular case, the product would not make sense. So why would anyone buy it?"

      This seems to be a meme on Slashdot. Markets are not about the exception cases, the long tail is what handles exceptions. Market is often about the most common case. If you were a target audience for the watch and it would not work for you for some legitimate reason, that would be newsworthy to hear about. But what you said is irrelevant to most of us who are not exceptional in your own special way.

      I have not worn watch in 30 years and I will buy this one. Not because I need to know time, I don't. Not even because I need a status symbol. I don't. Simply because there are so few fun toys to play with lately. You know, gadgets... for geeks. And like most geeks, I've got more money than I could spend with nothing worthwhile to spend it on. So why not? Plus maybe it will be cool, maybe it will improve my life in some way, it is worth the money to try. But yeah, the last thing I need it is to tell time. Seriously, I am well aware of the time without a watch and at times I forget and need to be made aware of the time, my phone reminds me.

    • Re:$30 Timex (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @11:43PM (#49239097) Homepage Journal

      I'm actually something of a watch nut; but collecting expensive watches is ... expensive. I collect *cheap* watches, which is in its way just as interesting. There's still that interplay between expense, features and design, but the constraining factor is low cost.

      I actually think that in terms of pragmatic qualities, watches become worse as the price climbs from $30 to $100. Why? Because watches accrete features that undermine their ergonomics or have little practical value. Take water resistance. What you want in a cheap watch is 50m or 100m, which are adequate for any practical purpose. Above that you're paying for fantasy value. Watches rated at 200m and above might as well claim a gazillion meters; you'll never be the wiser.

      Also as price rises, dials become more cluttered with features and design elements that actually make them harder to read. Nobody needs a second redundant hour subdial, it's only there to look expensive. And then you go from cheap and every accurate to expensive and quite a bit less accurate mechanical movements. It's a bit like paying to watch a circus act where dogs walk on their hind legs; the whole point of the act is that it's ridiculously hard.

      My favorite watch is a $16 quartz analog day/date Casio "dive" style watch with a rotating bezel and day date at 3:00. The watch face is based on Rolex's classic submariner watch, which costs $10,000 and keeps worse time. Of course the submariner is a much more elegant watch, but it is in no sense any more practical. My next favorite watch is another Casio, the digital F-91W ($9), which happens to be Al Qaeda's standard issue training camp watch. They also use it for bomb detonators. It's cheap, accurate and simple and has a elegantly straightforward design -- something you get only on very cheap or very expensive watches.

      I also own a Pebble, which is in my view ugly as sin and quickly developed a screen tearing problem. But in terms of combining timekeeping and notifications it'd be hard to improve upon functionally. As for the phone in my pocket I'd be less worried about it than my leg in a mishap that might break it.

      • Re:$30 Timex (Score:4, Informative)

        by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @08:42AM (#49240867)

        Also, as a diver I have a dedicated dive computer. (A Shearwater Petrel) My daily-wear watch is a Movado. I happen to like the minimalist look and the thin profile.

        I haven't seen a diver using a "dive watch" in ... ever. My backup timepiece is a Timex Ironman my dad got me when I was a teenager.

  • Steampunked (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:08PM (#49238401) Journal

    That's okay, traditional watch makers can just switch to making mechanical smart-phones, a wide open niche.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:15PM (#49238435)

    Watches such as the Swiss make are luxury items and are the one item of "jewelry"
    a man can wear without controversy in any social circles. Also, a high-end Swiss
    watch is a means of identifying yourself in a particular group, for example a Breitling
    Navitimer probably means you are a professional pilot or at least you want people
    to think you are. An Apple watch will never ever replace a Breitling in this market.

    The Apple watch presents no threat to such Swiss watches, any more than a Tesla
    car presents a threat to Porsche.

    Me, I think the Apple watch is interesting but it is ten times more expensive than it should be
    and is not waterproof, and these two facts mean I will never ever own one.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:19PM (#49238465)

      The Apple watch presents no threat to such Swiss watches, any more than a Tesla car presents a threat to Porsche.

      And back in 2007 you'd be telling us the iPhone would present no threat to BlackBerry. And before that you'd have told us that the iPod would pose no threat to other mp3 players. The sheer amount of fault predictions that Slashdot nerds have made about Apple are hilarious.

      • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:28PM (#49238499)

        The Apple watch presents no threat to such Swiss watches, any more than a Tesla car presents a threat to Porsche.

        And back in 2007 you'd be telling us the iPhone would present no threat to BlackBerry. And before that you'd have told us that the iPod would pose no threat to other mp3 players. The sheer amount of fault predictions that Slashdot nerds have made about Apple are hilarious.

        But different reasons. Those high end watches are jewelry that happens to be a watch. Their expense is their allure, and wearing an expensive watch is astatus symbol.

        • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @11:39PM (#49239071)

          Your fatal assumption is assuming the word "Swiss" or the company name "Swatch" means that it is high-end. I guarantee you that the Swiss do not sell 30million Rolex equivalent watches every year.

          The reality is Swiss watches encompass a wide range of companies with a wide range range of styles and price ranges. My girlfriend has a "Swiss" watch. It cost $130. Made in Switzerland. The Swatch group's own main brand "Swatch" is also a very low-end company making watches that range from kids toys (I had a $60 swatch when I was younger). I mean even the company name "Swatch" came from the idea of owning a "second-watch" that was cheap and fun and you could bash it around and wear it while doing the gardening etc, and they are not the only cheap watch manufacturer in Switzerland.

          Swatch nowadays is a group that owns about 15 brands which sell watches for well under $1000. They do also own really high-end brands like Omega.

          • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @12:45AM (#49239281)

            Not just that, but half the components aren't made in switzerland, or by "master watchmakers". All you have to do in order to maintain the "swiss" title is make sure that 50% of the components that make up the watch are made in switzerland. What this generally means is that half of your swiss watch (usually the more expensive/important half) is made of chinesium.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yeah and back in 1991 you were probably telling us Apple could never fail at anything ever. Keep riding the hype wave, everyone knows they always last forever...
        • Yeah and back in 1991 you were probably telling us Apple could never fail at anything ever. Keep riding the hype wave, everyone knows they always last forever...

          I agree with that, but keep in mind that Apple has a couple hundred billion dollars in the bank right now. They have more money than the federal government and they don't even have the machines to print it. Think about that.

          That's not saying there can never be a decline - even Rome fell. But Apple nearly died in the 1990s and ran out of cash. At this point they could quit selling products and they'd still have enough cash to coast along for decades (the cash is invested). It's a whole nother ball game.

      • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @12:18AM (#49239195)

        And back in 2007 you'd be telling us the iPhone would present no threat to BlackBerry. And before that you'd have told us that the iPod would pose no threat to other mp3 players. The sheer amount of fault predictions that Slashdot nerds have made about Apple are hilarious.

        You're revising history as much as Apple revises their products. A $599 phone [zdnet.com] (with no subsidy discount), locked to one carrier, that can't run 3rd party applications, doesn't support MMS, has poor call quality and no 3G support was no threat to Blackberry. A $399, Mac-only, MP3 player that lacks USB was no threat to other MP3 players.

        The iPod didn't become a genuine threat to competitors (and a runaway success) until hell froze over [sfgate.com] and Windows support was added. The iPhone didn't become a threat to competitors until Apple allowed AT&T to subsidize it. By the time the products had overcome their respective major roadblocks to widespread adoption, the current versions resembled their initial predecessors in name and physical appearance, but most of the missing capabilities the nerd peanut gallery derided them for, had been addressed.

        If anything, this is a cautionary tale that while the Apple Watch may eventually be yet another blazing success story for Apple, the model that goes on sale on April 24th will be nothing like the updated version that catapults it to mainstream popularity. Of course, it could also flop. As they said on Mythbusters, "failure is always an option." Either way, it will be an amusing show, and I'm sure plenty of people will have their own revisionist history to write when it succeeds or fails.

        • by unimacs ( 597299 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @02:14AM (#49239477)
          In 2007 there was a 4Gig iPhone that was $499. The $599 model was 8 Gig.

          6.1 million original iPhones were sold in spite of the shortcomings you mentioned.

          iPhone sales surpassed blackberry sales for the first time in the 4th quarter of 2008, - less than a year and 1/2 after it had been introduced. Overtaking a market leader within 18 months is pretty remarkable, especially considering Apple had never sold a phone before.

          Bill Gates recognized the threat right away. RIM didn't and has never recovered.

          I'm not sure the Apple Watch is going to have the same level of success. The smart phone solved a real problem by combining a cellphone with a PDA, and an MP3 player, - two or three devices that many people were carrying. The iPhone was a better implementation of the smart phone than what had existed at the time.

          The Smart Watch doesn't solve those kinds of problems except for perhaps people who carry fitness gadgets with them.
      • the really interesting thing about predictions involving gadgets is that no one really seems to come out and just say it... that expensive gadget you're buying today will be a Chinese knockoff at 3x the capability in 5 years, and 1/10th the price. Meanwhile neither iteration will do anything even remotely concrete to improve your life.

        there is absolutely nothing compelling about any gadget since the cell phone with texting capabilities that even comes close to warranting the attention the 'slashdot nerds'

    • Me, I think the Apple watch is interesting but it is ten times more expensive than it should be
      and is not waterproof, and these two facts mean I will never ever own one.

      An Apple watch is really a bargain next to most Rolexes, and it does so much more than them. Hopefully, it will have a better anti-theft capability than a Rolex. Rolexes are nice, but sometimes thieves will chainsaw your arm right off in order to get the Rolex intact.

    • by nomel ( 244635 )

      Uhh, Tesla *is* hurting Porsche sales.

      You think people buy Porsches for the 0-60 or handling!? Maybe 1 in 20 (at least, that's the number of Porsches I've seen not putting along at 5mph under the speed limit, riding the brakes around every corner, and nearly all were old 90's Porsches).

    • It's seriously not waterproof? So if it rains you have to take it off and put it in your pocket?
      I thought the pathetic 18 hour battery life was the major killer.

    • by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @10:32PM (#49238785)
      I can't understand the fuss, since the iWatch and a Swiss watch are two different markets. It's equivalent to saying the new Nikes will kill Louboutin's couture high heel market because sneakers are lighter and more practical. Or TV dinners will destroy the three hat restaurant scene because food is now easier and more convenient I know a few people with expensive watches ($10k+) These people are not interested in flavour of the day gadgets, they prefer hand made shirts, and shoes, and fine dining, and associate with brands that are conservative, exclusive and stand the test of time. None which Apple qualify for.
      • I think the concern is around the potential benefits of the Apple Watch outweighing its own failures and the advantages of traditional timepieces. But i think the overlap market would be pretty small, this is still only practically applicable to iPhone users, it can't even get a full days' charge out of the battery and it's not exactly "exclusive" or a brand with much cachet.

        I have an iPhone for its utilitarian purpose, if I wanted to feel special in my choice of smartphone I wouldn't have chosen the most c

    • Watches such as the Swiss make are luxury items and are the one item of "jewelry" a man can wear without controversy in any social circles.

      iPhones are already considered fashion accessories and status symbols by some. So having an Apple watch go down the luxury path you mentioned to some degree seems entirely plausible. Now consider all the experienced luxury branding and marketing people Apple brought on board in the last couple of years.

      Also, a high-end Swiss watch is a means of identifying yourself in a particular group, for example a Breitling Navitimer probably means you are a professional pilot or at least you want people to think you are. An Apple watch will never ever replace a Breitling in this market.

      Note iPads jave replaced paper charts and manuals in some professional cockpits. An Apple Watch could also have special aviation centric functionality via the tethered iPad. The Breitling Navitimer's future m

    • by unimacs ( 597299 )

      Me, I think the Apple watch is interesting but it is ten times more expensive than it should be and is not waterproof, and these two facts mean I will never ever own one.

      The "cheap" Apple Watch is $350. You really think it's only worth $35? You're right though, they aren't waterproof but they are water resistant enough that they can be submerged in 3 ft of water for 30 minutes without suffering damage. That means you can safely wash dishes with it on or even take a shower. Swimming would be something I would avoid.

      An Apple Watch that's suitable for more dressy occasions is going to cost close to $600 but hopefully 3rd parties will sell some nicer bands that will be com

    • by Camembert ( 2891457 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @11:12PM (#49238967)
      fyi the Swatch group has many luxury brands like Omega, Breguet, Rado, etc.
      I'd expect him to have more of a clue than most of the posters on /.
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Ahem

      Watches! Because wearing a bracelet would be a little bit gay!

  • Instead of doing the part of the baby-crying lobby to get government compensations, to actually launch smartwatches to compete with Samsung and Apple? What? But I guess it is easier to ask for "compensations" than doing actual work.
  • by nomel ( 244635 ) <turd&inorbit,com> on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:19PM (#49238463) Homepage Journal

    I can't imagine the differences in any Swatch watches from the past 15 years is anything but external. I imagine they're mostly a watch face theme company, if not, then engineering was failing. But, external design isn't going to go completely away, unless they make ugly rectangles with ugly bands like all of the current smart watches (besides the Motorola 360). These first gen smart watches *can't* be as good as it gets. Put micro batteries in the bands and blow everyone away in terms of thickness. Add functionality to the bands (would love control on the band (swipe or whatever) in addition screen since my finger isn't transparent). I'd prefer a much smaller screen than what's available.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

      Add functionality to the bands (would love control on the band (swipe or whatever) in addition screen since my finger isn't transparent).

      Pebble are already working on this with their "smartbands" which act as quick-swap accessories for their new Time, though whether it'll catch on is another matter.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @11:45PM (#49239107)

      Swatch now owns many Swiss watch manufacturers. The whole premise behind the original Swatch was to make cheap "second-watches" for people to wear and destroy without affecting their nicer ones. In many regards the brand of swatch was nothing more than colourful face-plates, but Swatch the company makes all sorts of watches with different mechanical designs and complications like tourbillions, self winding mechanisms, calendars, chronographs, etc.

  • Swiss movement was old technology which should have died out a long time ago. Quartz was superior in every way.

    The real problem I see with all watches (including Apple's watches) is that they're still way too bulky. It's hard to find a mass-produced watch less than 5mm thick.

    • It's hard to find a mass-produced watch less than 5mm thick.

      Go to eBay and pick a NOS Casio from the 90's. The oversized trend hadn't taken hold at that time.

    • If you knew anything about fashion, then it has nothing to do with practicality. Jewellery is pure form over function, otherwise why else would high heels exist?
  • Swatch Group Stock.

    Shit on the wrist is set to comeback just as well.

  • by sasparillascott ( 1267058 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:27PM (#49238487)
    This guy is thinking Apple can't miss - but they often have in their history. My guess is that this will be an AppleTV moment, somewhat successful, but nothing like their other products.

    These poor guys in Switzerland all worried their industry is going to go under need to take a deep breath - these are smartwatches that will become obsolete in a few years...Apple will sell some of these, but until they can replace the phone itself (that time will come) the compelling justification for them (expensive short lifed smartwatches) just isn't there., IMHO...saying that as someone who likes Apples products.
  • Not sure I agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:30PM (#49238511)
    If that were true, Timex would have destroyed the Swiss watch industry. Yet Patek, AP et al are doing fine. That market isn't about telling time but making a statement. A Patek says I appreciate a finely crafted timeless design and don't need to blast "look at me" by wearing a Rolex. It's not copied by every mass market brand yet those who appreciate a fine watch knows what it is; and is a watch that you will pass down from generation to generation. In addition, people who buy numerous watches will continue to do so because they like the design and want to have a choice of waht they want in their wrist. Formal dinner? Time for the gold Cellini. Day a the beach? Seamaster. Building a fence or stone wall? The Timex that will survive the scrapes and doesn't cost $500 to replace a crystal. Apple will do fine but so will the Swiss. An Apple watch will simply be one more to add to the collection Now, if I was Motorola or Samsung? Yea, I'd be worried.
    • Now, if I was Motorola or Samsung? Yea, I'd be worried.

      Yeah, because the Samsung smartwatch has literally rocked the world. Seems to have dropped off the radar after it's initial hype, which was mainly about how they beat Apple to the punch. Now days, no one gives a shit about the samsung smart watch. And Motorola? They don't even matter anymore. And speaking of Timex. Compared side by side, that Samsung looks more like the cheap ass Timex as far as "smart watches" go. http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com] http://cdn.macrumors.com/artic... [macrumors.com]

    • Yeah, it's arguable the iWatch will boost demand for Swiss watches, as it makes wrist-wear fashionable again.
      • Wearing a watch has always been fashionable. I used to work for a fashion retailer and watches were our most reliable profit centre. Sure it fell off the scene for everyday types once the mobile phone market took off, but then these people probably aren't interested in a smart watch. For people interested in fashion and accessories, the watch was always a must have. And it's not like this is a new thing, Other manufacturers have smart watches already yet the concept hasn't exactly taken the world by storm.
    • If that were true, Timex would have destroyed the Swiss watch industry.

      The reason why the Apple Watch is different though, is that not only do they offer a high end model, but that the functionality of a smart watch greatly exceeds a normal watch, making it much harder to go without. A Timex did a few things more than normal watches, but basically it did the same thing.

      The Apple Watch also kind of doubles as a battery extension for your phone; the more you review alerts and other things on the watch, the l

  • by Camembert ( 2891457 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @09:50PM (#49238587)
    For info I am interested i watches, with a little collection including several vintages. Nothing truly expensive, most even cheap, I do simply like the mechanical engineering.

    This being said, the Swiss watch industry has been carefully marketing its expensive mechanical watches, creating that impression of refined heirloom engineering and jewelry, while by and large you pay simply for marketing and big profits. Very little real innovation happens in the world of mechanical watches. There is the coaxial escapement from Daniels, but what else was recently introduced? The price of luxury watches goes mainly to profit, marketing (posters with Daniel Craig everywhere), boutique costs. In a way you don't get more real engineering quality in many swiss watches than in a gold apple watch.

    Then comes Apple. As a watch enthusiast, while I am not yet conviced about the current utility of a smartwatch, I was immediately impressed by the attention to materials and the straps & bracelets. Barely any innovation happened in that respect in the traditional watches. Look how the lugs are easily exchanged and are ideally adapted to each strap. There is the refined bracelet that you can resize without tools. The magnetically closing milano mesh (admittedly this would not work with a mechanical watch), the way the sports band folds under (this was first done by designer Newsom in his rare Ikepod watches, no coincidence that he is on the Apple design team now). I like how Apple did not simply add a strap to a watch but truly thought it over from scratch.
    Then there is the marketing, where health will become even more a cornerstone in future iterations, since they have hired people specialised in medial sensors. Everyone wants to be healthy, I think this will be the "killer app" going forward. And even in v1, there are several millions of happy iphone users who will be curious to try it, I think that it is indeed not a stretch to imagine it selling a few million pieces by EOY, with real ramp up coming from v2 onwards.

    I think that the apple watch and the more refined android smartwaches will start to bring havoc to the sub $1000 segment of traditional watches from this year onwards. Luxury mechanicals will still sell, but the perception of the public about their worth may well change, I am not sure that the traditional Swiss marketing "you're looking after it until you pass it on" will have staying power.
    • This being said, the Swiss watch industry has been carefully marketing its expensive mechanical watches, creating that impression of refined heirloom engineering and jewelry, while by and large you pay simply for marketing and big profits. Very little real innovation happens in the world of mechanical watches. There is the coaxial escapement from Daniels, but what else was recently introduced? The price of luxury watches goes mainly to profit, marketing (posters with Daniel Craig everywhere), boutique costs. In a way you don't get more real engineering quality in many swiss watches than in a gold apple watch.

      The big difference is hardware vs software. Most people prefer things that are tangible, and physical things have historically proven to last a lot longer than virtual things (See the Pyramids for example) . People don't buy Swiss for the technology, it is all about the conservative, long lasting, refined image you think you are buying into. I can't see a technology company ever cracking into that space. The two are mutually exclusive. If anything the popularity of old fashioned-ness has been brought about

      • physical things have historically proven to last a lot longer than virtual things (See the Pyramids for example)

        I'm not so sure. The very oldest things we have are physical, but we have numerous virtual things. For instance, the story of Noah's Ark is over 2000 years old, and possibly almost as old as the pyramids themselves. A lot of the bible is from that time. Of course, the actual books of the bible are themselves physical, but the stories predate the bible. Other mythic stories have lasted longer than the new testament, and some longer than the old testament. It is, of course, difficult to ascribe exact ti

    • A 10G Apple watch to monitor hear rate in spin class will soon be a must-have accessory among those that can afford it.
  • He's right. Smartwatches are going to hit the luxury watch market hard over the long term.

    I was a fan of good (but affordable, like Orient) automatic watches always kept my eyes open for deals on interesting ones. At least, until I received an LG G watch (Android smartwatch).

    It unlocks my phone just by being near.. Tells me who is calling. Let's me reply quickly to text messages and emails. Accepts voice commands like "Set a reminder for 7 pm to take out the trash" or "How many people live in London". Allo

  • I think it will struggle for sales since it needs to be accompanied by an iPhone to be useful.

    It reminds me of those 'mini credit cards' that were introduced a while back that seem to have faded away.
    The reasoning was that they would be more convenient to carry as they are smaller
    However they don't work in all machines
    So they also come with a full size card for use in such cases
    Which means now you have to carry 'two' cards
    So why not just carry the large one?

  • If I only had a device that tells time, tracks steps. collects information, checks pulse, supports bidirectional communication in text, Email, video and voice formats, has a fat battery ( and requisite chargers with unique connections - Gah! ), does GPS, Traffic, predicts weather, has a huge developer base and global acceptance. Wait, I do.... Cell phone... many of you have them now. Will the FanBoy effect be enough to make 20,000,000 sales? The only different thing (it seems) is a continual proximity to
    • by unimacs ( 597299 )
      I have a cell phone and a watch. It's a nice diver's watch with a mechanical rotating ring that functions as a timer. It cost be about $250 if I remember right. The watch is almost always with me. The phone is not. I don't want to fish a phone out of my pocket or retrieve it from wherever I happened to leave it just to check the time. If a watch can quickly and easily provide me with more information, - all the better.

      To me the biggest problem with the Apple Watch is the short battery life. It may not be
  • I'm not sure I agree with the dire predictions of a Swiss watch "Ice Age" on this one. Traditional high end Swiss watches are primarily jewelry and, in certain cases, status symbols. Yes, it's jewelry with a function, but you can get that function dirt cheap and not pay $8000 dollars for that Rolex Submariner. The Apple watch is primarily a function play that has some design elements to keep it from looking loathsome like what you would have likely gotten out of someone other than Apple. It just doesn't st

  • I have a smart phone but an automatic (automatically winding, mechanical) watch. I have zero interest in replacing my watch with a digital "smart" watch. I don't expect there are many others that do, either. The market may gradually be eroding on its own - in no small part due to the flood of cheap Chinese-made mechanical watches that are closing in on 99% as accurate as the Swiss and Japanese models - but the smart watches aren't much of a factor in that happening.
  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @10:33PM (#49238793) Homepage
    Oh yes! A fool and his money are soon parted. The guy may not even be wrong, but quite frankly if Apple sells so many watches each year all it tells me is that there's an awful lot of suckers on the watch market. Still, I don't think Apple has the same prestige as Swiss watch brands, and perhaps far more importantly your Swiss watch won't become outdated within a year, with all support for it probably ceasing within five at most.
    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Well, the gold one will still be shiny, even if it stopped booting three years ago... :P

  • the guy buying a watch for $25 will not buy a $300 watch

    the guy buying a $10,000 watch will not buy a $300 watch

    wait...

    http://www.engadget.com/2015/0... [engadget.com]

    ok, yeah, they're fucked

  • by BBCWatcher ( 900486 ) on Wednesday March 11, 2015 @10:40PM (#49238835)
    The recent strength of the Swiss Franc isn't helping Swiss watchmakers export more of their products. Granted, currency isn't helping Apple either, but Apple has tremendously more pricing flexibility than the entire Swiss watch industry.
  • If Apple watch was released before Pebble, it would rule the market. But this time there is ample competition from Pebble, Android Wear and Tizen, with many watches competitive in style for under $1K models and superior in features. You have choices that range from weeklong battery life to independent phone service. Apple has undeniable marketing muscle but, without groundbreaking unique features, people who get interested in smartwatches will also check out other offerings. Swiss watchmakers will massively

  • I don't see them selling 3MM watches per year. That's probably why they did the stupid expensive versions, to recover the research and development costs via insane markup on very limited sales volume rather than the usual merely ridiculous Apple-expected markup on large sales volume.

    Plus, the Swiss watch industry caters to an established, conservative market which doesn't have anywhere near complete overlap with whoever Apple expects to sell watches to. The Swiss guys will be just fine.

    • This is about putting out FUD so the sharks who have set up short positions on Swiss watch companies can rake in some dough.

  • Switzerland exported 28.6 million watches in 2014, none of them with smart capabilities.

    Of those 28.6 million watches without "smart" capabilities, exactly zero of them had a battery life of 18 hours or less.

  • Remember that Apple got sued by a Swiss Rail company because of the similarity to the classically swiss clock.

    This is just Apple being punitive against the Swiss in general...

    'We will crush them..'

  • ... will an iWatch last? I don't mean physically break down. I mean become functionally obsolete. How often will one have to 'trade up' to get the latest features or even compatibility with current apps?

    I have a couple of analog watches that are ~25 years old. My dad has an Omega that is over 60 years old.

    Part of the attraction of a fine mechanical watch is its heirloom value. It will still be a fine watch when you hand it down to your kid. Apple watches won't outlast their 'end of support' dates. That's

  • ... before I will ever even consider one.

    The point of wearable computing, IMO, is to be something that you can completely forget about... technology that invisibly blends into your existing lifestyle, assisting you when you call upon it, but if you have to take it off and charge it every single night, then that means you have to think about it every day too... which kind of defeats the point.

    I would usually wear my watch in bed... and sometimes even wear it in the shower if I haven't remembered to take

  • For some reason, when men buy fancy Swiss watches these days, they buy these fat monstrosities that don't play well with the shirt cuff. The Apple watch is fat, but not fatter than many of the dumb watches from Switzerland. There are also some wonderful thin Swiss mechanical watches, but they aren't in fashion right now. If the Swiss push a new generation of sturdy but slim, elegant mechanical watches, I think they will be able to convince many men that they are better off choosing a wristwatch over some ga
  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @12:21AM (#49239205)
    I love the idea of a dumb-ish watch or a brilliant watch; But not something in the middle. I have looked at the Apple watch talk and it seems that you will still need your phone yet you will have not a whole lot of battery life.

    Right now I want a watch that basically gives me minor tips as to what is going on with my phone. Texts, the time, the date, appointment reminders, and maybe directions from a running GPS route(all coming from my phone). That is about it. I don't need a map, I don't need to schedule appointments, I don't need health crap, I don't need to send texts, I don't need video, I don't need to take pictures, and just about anything else. For those features I have a phone that is really good.

    This way my watch can be thin, simple, and have a great battery life.

    Eventually (when the tech is ready)I want my watch to be my phone so that in theory I can wear it alone and be able to do a scaled down version of most of what I do on my phone now. Then I want to carry a screen thing that talks to my watch to access its features. But I only want this when the battery life is at least as good as my phone is now.

    So if the Swiss are smart they will go for simplicity and elegance as a substitute for the gold plated pickup truck that apple plans on selling.

    That said, Apple is going to sell a bazillion of these things and make piles of money; which is a good thing for a company. I just hope that they eventually go for simplicity or that someone else does; which will be a good thing for me; and maybe the Swiss.
  • by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @01:57AM (#49239451) Homepage

    I don't see the Apple watch as being much of a threat. A good Swiss watch will work just as well five years later as it did new. It won't go obsolete and it won't need charging after five hours of use.

    Within three years the iWatch will probably need a new battery, which probably will not be easily replacable. It will quickly grow obsolete as watches with better battery life and better features come out.

    And we all know that you never buy an Apple 1.0 product.

    Besides, people would look silly if they treated their watches like a Dick Tracy watch or had to hold their wrist up to their ear to hear Siri.

    I wear a watch that is a far better watch than the iWatch. I never have to charge it (solar) and the only time I need to set it is to change the time zone or daylight savings since it sets itself. If it breaks or I lose it I'm not out several hundred dollars and it will last me years. I tend to be hard on watches too. It does a supurb job telling me the time and date. It's water proof and I never have to take it off. I also don't get distracted by it. It doesn't beep or flash messages at me, talk to me or anything else. I don't have to update the firmware or worry about security issues. If I want to pay by phone it takes me 2 seconds to remove my phone from my belt pouch to pay for something. I don't have to turn my wrist into contortions for NFC or for something to read the screen.

    Years ago I used to have watches that had features like a calculator or that could store a phone book and other stuff. With a phone I no longer need these features which were awkward to use at best due to the small size of the watch.

    If I'm going to make a phone call I'll hold my phone. It will be a lot easier to hear and will be clearer for the person at the other end. If I'm on the phone a lot I'll get a bluetooth headset.

    There are a lot of smart watches out there and none of them seem to be taking the world by storm. The iWatch is not all that different than many of the other watches out there other than the fact that it's more expensive and made by Apple. In some cases it's obsurdly expensive. $10,000 for a gold iWatch with well under $1000 worth of gold? It's just asking to be stolen like somebody wearing a Rolex. Unlike a Rolex, though, in 5 years time it will be worth far less. It's not something you'll be able to hand down to your children and grandchildren. It won't last 20+ years like a good watch will.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @02:16AM (#49239491) Homepage

    Writing as a Swiss, in my view there are two parts to the Swiss watch market. Apple doesn't threaten either one of them.

    First, we have the market where Swatch succeeded: the inexpensive fashion accessory. $30 bucks and you had something cool to wear. Apple's products are a hell of a lot more expensive, so they aren't addressing this market.

    Second, we have the really expensive Swiss watches. They are also fashion accessories, but they are almost exclusively mechanical watches. I don't see a digital watch gaining any traction among people who spend thousands and sometimes millions for what is essentially mechanical artwork.

    Where Apply may succeed is among young professionals: people far enough along to have some disposable income - past the Swatch age - but not in the market to spend crazy amounts of money for a status symbol. The thing is: people in this market have already stopped wearing watches, because their smart phones show the time. Maybe Apple will get them to wear a fancy bracelet again - and maybe not. Either way, it's pretty irrelevant to the watch manufacturers.

    Of course, I never have understood the Apple Koolaid. Slick marketing gets people to buy overpriced products that don't work any better than those of the competition. Why?

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @04:15AM (#49239793)

    I don't see the Swiss watch buying crowd overlapping the iFan crowd really at all here, for rather simple reasons.

    First off, those who spend the extra money on a Swiss-made timepiece are not the kind of people who are looking to throw that timepiece in the garbage in 3 years because it is essentially obsolete. At least with a simple well-made timepiece, we can count on it to do the one thing it does rather well through generations.

    iFans will replace their watches when the next wave of colors is released in time for Christmas. Or when the next model of the $300 "accessory" you need to run your watch comes out.

    It was also stated that less than 30 million Swiss-made timepieces were exported last year. There's a reason that number is not 30 billion. The market is still rather select on those who will spend the extra money on a Swiss-made timepiece. Yes, we all know what they are famous for, and it's not because they come equipped with GPS and solar power as other watches now do.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @08:57AM (#49240969)

    Apple watch technology has been around for years, if not decades.

    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2015/03/the-irevolution-that-wasnt-why-apple-watch-will-be-rare-iflop-more-like-newton-and-lisa-than-iphone-.html

  • by random coward ( 527722 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @10:07AM (#49241471)
    There is one thing missing in this thread. The Swiss Watch industry's main purchasers are men. Men buy the expensive high end, and mostly the mid range as well. Women do not tend to buy expensive watches; they spend on other jewelry instead.
    The Apple Watch will be mostly purchased by women and not men. Apple knows this. Look at the modeling of the watch on their site and its almost all women wearing it. They had a women on stage during the announce of it. If its sucessful it will be a female market.
    Women shoppers follow fashion and have no problem spending large amounts of money on an expensive status symbol that falls out of style rather rapidly and loses all its value and is replaced. Think expensive purses and shoes here. They do this to display status to each other. This is where apple will sell the watch, if it sells. But it won't hurt the Swiss makers much, if at all. They're really trying to open a new market here, but fashion is fickle, and it may boom for a year or three and then die rapidly, or not take off at all.
  • by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @11:36AM (#49242371)
    I have to assume that yesterday's XKCD [xkcd.com] was aimed squarely at the iWatch.

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