It used to be that if you wanted a good quality watch, that you looked towards Switzerland who dominated the watchmaking industry for over a hundred years. Technology has changed though and thanks to the rise of smartwatches, we now look towards the direction of Cupertino, California. Or Apple to be more specific.
According to new sales estimates compiled by Strategy Analytics Apple shipped nearly 31 million units in 2019, a 36 per cent jump over last year. In comparison, the entire Swiss watch industry, which includes brands like Swatch and TAG Heuer, only shipped an estimated 21.1 million units, a 13 per cent decline. That is a remarkable number of watches sold by Apple who seem to be walking away with the smartwatch wars. Millennials, it seems, have killed once-dominant Swiss watch industry as Strategy Analytics themselves say:
Traditional Swiss watchmakers, like Swatch and Tissot, are losing the smartwatch wars. Apple Watch is delivering a better product through deeper retail channels and appealing to younger consumers who increasingly want digital wristwear. The window for Swiss watch brands to make an impact in smartwatches is closing.
I am someone who still marvels at the masterful design of Swiss watches, though even I have been lured towards the smartwatch industry thanks to its fitness tracking features. I love the craftsmanship of these classic devices, but I guess this is a time when practicality and technology are taking over and I hope the Swiss watch industry finds a way of bringing these into their line-ups or else risk becoming small niche companies, which would be a shame given the prestige of these brands.
Last Updated: February 6, 2020