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Luxury watchmakers say NO
The world first got to see the Apple iWatch at the September 9th event where the company’s first smartwatch was unveiled alongside the two new models of the iPhone 6. Apple finally realized the importance of entering the already booming wearables market which already has multiple players and with this new iWatch, Apple is hoping to dominate this segment too. Apple has high hopes to achieve the similar status in the luxury watches segment as it did in the music sector with its iPod and the smartphone industry with the iPhone. But is Apple really going to achieve this status in the watch industry too? According to the Swiss watch manufacturers, the iWatch is not going to pose any threat to them.
Swiss watchmaker legend Jean-Claude Biver said “It looks a little cold, and lacks, for my taste, a bit of personality. It looks perfect, but perfection sometimes has a lack of sexiness.” Biver who is currently the president of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watch division also added, “This won’t create another crisis for the Swiss watch industry.”
However, the design team of the iWatch at Apple had other plans in mind and they were quite confident that they had created something that would finally give a tough time to the famous Swiss watchmakers who had been enjoying the prestige since time immemorial. But it seems that breaking this chain isn’t as easier as Apple thought it would be. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, made a comment where he said that Apple’s iWatch is going to put the traditional watchmakers of Switzerland in trouble after its release. Other Swiss watchmakers and experts echoed Biver’s sentiments of downplaying the impact that the Apple Watch will have on their business.
According to an expert on Swiss watches, “They are essentially transient products rather than items of enduring value.” On the other hand, Franz Tuerler, the owner of a luxury watch store located on Bahnhofstrasse (the main shopping boulevard of Zurich), said “I think the Apple Watch will be successful. But it’s not competition for the classic Swiss watch industry.” And Rene Weber, a watch industry analyst for Vontobel commented that “(Apple Watch) is the first convincing smartwatch, and we believe it will impact the entire watch industry, but mainly at the low- to mid-end price level.”