Monday, March 25, 2013

iWatch vs Swatch

Apple's rumored iWatch would not be a watch, but a complement to an iPhone.  Probably some snap around bracelet, with a wireless connection to it.  With, for example: automatic passcode unlocking, NFC for automatic payments, help finding your lost phone, etc.

Samsung has also confirmed they are also working on a watch.

The Swatch CEO has come out to say that he does not think its a big deal.

Yes, luxury mechanical watches and an electronic iPhone-complement device are different products, addressing different markets.  One is an intricate, delicate piece of machinery - the only piece of jewelery men can wear.  The other would be a convenience.

For investors in Swatch and Richemont, if the iWatch does take off like the iPhone did 6 years ago, the key question is: Can you wear both the iWatch and your mechanical timepiece at the same time?  I don't think so.  At best, its redundant.  At worst, you look like a pretentious dick.  Dress watches - for special occasions - may not be affected, but any watch that you wear to the office would be no longer required.

These products may never even see the light of day - large companies have dozens of R&D projects at any time, many of which will die.  It seems a bit extreme to run from a rumor.  However, given Apple's track record, its very difficult to predict how the new products they define will shape our world, when the only thing you know is the old products.  And a reminder of all the companies that Apple has destroyed.

Is the age of mechanical watches coming to an end?