First Click: the Swiss respond to Apple Watch

March 19th, 2015

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Baselworld opens today. As the largest showcase for luxury watchmakers in the world, it’s the event where Switzerland will launch its counteroffensive to Apple's expensive new Watch Edition.

Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about luxury watches prior to rumors of a $10,000 Apple Watch. Oh sure, I knew about Rolex like I knew about Rolls Royce. But the closest I ever came to wearing one was knowing Micah “Lux” Singleton. Now I know my Omega from my Patek Philippe, my Submariner from my Yacht-Master.

Early talk of Apple disrupting the Swiss watch industry is almost certainly overblown. Remember how Jony Ive was bragging about Switzerland being in trouble? If anything, I suspect that the increased attention will only serve to raise all boats around Lake Geneva.

The attention that Apple (and to a lesser degree, Samsung and Google) brings to smartwatches opens up an entirely new category for luxury brands to exploit. We’ve already seen the MMT platform announced as well as Montblanc’s smart e-strap. Now we’re hearing rumors of Tag Heuer partnering with Intel to announce a smart version of the original Carrera watch. Who’s next?

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