Calling time on tradition

Calling time on tradition

What’s the time? Did you glance down at your retro digital watch, Swiss timepiece or try to find your mobile? Now Apple and a host of other technology leaders are trying to merge the two functions.

Bringing your mobile to your wrist is an obvious step, which has resulted in the launch of Apple Watch, on sale worldwide from 26th June. Three models are available, ranging in price from £299 to an eye-watering £13,500.

Get in the virtual queue
There is demand, with queues stretching round the virtual block. According to industry stats there’s a backlog of pre-orders which actually outstrip the amount of watches sold. A staggering one million eager Apple fans bought the watch on the first day pre-orders were available in the US. Of these, many were the converted, as 72% had bought Apple products in the last year.

What does it do for you?
Well it’s a compact smartwatch, feature-packed with fitness software, hundreds of apps and the ability to make and receive calls from your wrist. You can also view emails, though replying has not yet been mastered. With 18 hours battery life it’s enough to almost last a day.

So what do gadget lovers think? Here’s a review by CNET, ‘The Apple Watch is the most ambitious, well-constructed smartwatch ever seen, but first-gen shortfalls make it feel more like a fashionable toy than a necessary tool.’ That may be true, but what of the next generation?

Form v function
Is wearable technology actually wearable? Is this new smartwatch really threatening timepiece giants like Rolex, Cartier and Tag Heuer? Well luxury watch king Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Tag Heuer, immediately understood the design potential and attraction to the next generation and yes, he did acknowledge it was competition in the short-term.

A timepiece of inheritance
Long-term he wasn’t so sure. He cited that a good Swiss timepiece was a mechanical piece of eternity. It may need repair but not constant upgrades or plugging in. He gave the example that what he wore on his wrist could be passed down to his great, great grandchildren.

Time will tell
It could be that introducing smartwatches to the next generation might make them more open to wearing traditional watches, too. So it could be win/win for both markets. Or could the new trend be wearing two watches, one for design, one for functionality? Only time will tell.

Sources: Digital Strategy Rebellion Lab,
Slice Intelligence and PM BBC News and Current Affairs