If the Apple Watch is a hit, it won’t be because Apple is winning over would-be Tag Heuer or Rolex customers. It’ll be because Apple will have convinced tens of millions of people to wear tiny computers on their wrists. Those people will then have no need for “watches.” Apple has some work to do here—most people are still far from convinced that they need one of these things, and the design could be thinner and prettier. But it’s starting strong.
Meanwhile, there’s no reason to believe that the people who buy Tag Heuer watches for their craftsmanship have any interest in tracking their fitness or getting text message notifications on their horological heirlooms. And if you’re buying a classic mechanical watch, it’s supposed to last forever, to be passed down to your offspring—not to go obsolete after a couple of years.
Right now I am wearing a wristwatch that has no hands and no digits: its face just has the word “now” written on it. By far the most accurate watch I’ve ever had, though lately I do think it’s been losing a few seconds. Still, much as I like and rely on it, it’s going. I will be buying an Apple watch because I already see how I’ll use it. At £300 it will be the most expensive watch I’ve ever bought yet I am persuaded, I see the value. I’ve never seen the value in expensive analogue watches – or rather, I’ve never seen the value to me. I definitely appreciate the artistry and engineering brilliance, but this is the first time I’ve recognised a specific worth to me of an expensive watch.
So I think Frommer may be right: Swiss watchmakers could even be wound up.
Read the full piece.