This is a very good article with some unusual thoughts regarding the future of the watch industry. Smart watches are considered unstoppable by the author, which I kind of agree with, but there are some points that don’t seem right to me.
Look at today’s “craftsmanship culture,” where relatively well-off urbanites like to have “nicer” versions of the types of items everyone uses. Everyone has to wear clothes, so well-off people get noticed if their clothing is a bit better-made or fancier. Many people drive cars and at least most people travel in them regularly. That means a classier more sophisticated (or faster) ride gets noticed on roads. It’s positive attention that says someone has had the success to play around. It might not be why people got the fast car. They probably like to drive fast, which is a totally legitimate thing to like. With that said, no matter what your reason for getting a fast car, you still send a message by driving it around, and this kind of communication is an important thing to consider in understanding human behavior.
Not convinced by this at all. Rich people buy really expensive cars because they can and because they are better than mainstream cars. Rich people use iPhones or high-end Androids because they are better than the rest. They don’t use old Nokias with diamonds all over them unless to preserve security. I’m not convinced that phones are seen as an expression of luxury any more and believe that Apple has done an extremely good job of making the iPhone appear to be the best for anyone, regardless of income (to an extent of course).
Rich people will wear very expensive watches because they are very expensive and believe that they show wealth and taste, but what happens when the general perception is that smart watches are more functional and necessary. That last word is huge because there could come a point where the smart watch is something everyone will own, like smartphones today, and at that point the mechanical masterpiece suddenly looks less functional and outdated.
Today, watches are more or less worn by only three types of people – consider, again, that all types of people use smartphones. These three types of people who tend to wear watches are: first, and most obviously, the people who need them at work, ranging from nurses to Navy SEALs; then, you have collectors like me who are fascinated by ultra well-made timepieces and are willing to pay a premium for carefully made goods; and finally, you have status seekers who use watches as a means of gaining attention or sending a message. It is not often spoken about, but the hands are a part of the body used to convey certain messages and a huge amount of nonverbal communication.
Really? Only three types of people and not a 4th group who make up the vast majority of the watch industry- people who simply wear watches to tell the time?
These are the people who will gladly move to a smart watch when they are functionally worth moving to and that is why I am not convinced in the premise of the article which sees smart watches as a highway to high-end watches. Smartphones are not a highway to traditional mobile phones that only make calls. If the functionality is flexible and works well, watches that just tell the time could be seriously hit.