The clock for traditional watchmakers’ business is still ticking


The past several years haven’t been that great for the luxury watch market.

This business has witnessed economic downturns, currency devaluations, and the emergence of the smartwatch- the next plausible item after the tablets and smartphones, intended at being one’s most personal device.

And the common belief among many was that smartwatches came along to kill the traditional watch market.

We at Chronoexpert followed the development very closely, but the “watchocalypse” just didn’t seem to make it. The traditional watch industry didn’t end up being killed by smartwatches and wasn’t ultimately doomed as many people claimed. Much like in case of introduction of quartz watches in the ‘70s, that had almost decimated the luxury watch market, Swiss watches rebounded and are growing once again.

And when it comes to the smartwatch industry, things aren’t that great on this front. Apple may have sold more smartwatches than the entire Swiss watch market, but other manufacturers aren’t going on high gear any more. Major players like Motorola have stopped making smartwatches indefinitely, and traditional watchmakers like Tag Heuer and Frédérique Constant made headlines by releasing hybrid smartwatches -using the familiar designs and aesthetics with the twist of modern charms. 

Several years into the smartwatch industry, and we are seeing a revival of the traditional watch market, a new blossom after the cold winter. So what are some reasons that made this niche so sustainable to decline when innovation and technology seem to be swiping all the other industries from their feet? 

Wristwatches are classy

There’s a unique feeling of class and social well being associated with traditional luxury watches. They are the unspoken bearers of social status, something that smartwatches aren’t connected with. Imagine a 20-something, deciding to treat themselves to a cool accessory after the first ever promotion. A smartwatch is a very possible choice. Now, what about a 40-something wealthy gentleman? A luxury traditional watch seems more like the actual choice. 

Most of the successful smartwatches are priced at or around the $300 mark: industry names like the Moto 360 ($299), Samsung Gear S3 ($349), and Apple Watch ($369) are all priced at less than $400. Luxury watches are way more expensive, $746 on average, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Wristwatches are sustainable

Smartphones, as any technology, tend to change so fast. Today you are wearing the latest smartwatch, and tomorrow it is already outdated. Traditional wrist watches, however, are timeless- they will never be outdated. 

Wristwatches accompany style

Some styles are just asking for a watch to go along, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

So, the business of luxury watches is going to be there for the while. No matter what direction technology change takes next, and no matter the amount of smartwatches that end up being produced, traditional watches have captured their unique spot in the market, and are definitely going to stay and grow.