back to article Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy

The New York Times has profiled the wearables market and there's an intriguing little hint that, as a designer, Apple's Jony Ive is in fact a great marketing guru. For he seems to be thinking that the iWatch is going to be so cool that it'll entirely screw over the Swiss watch industry. This isn't, needless to say, quite what …

  1. dotdavid

    Switzerland's economy will PLUNGE after the iWatch launch

    No they'll need to release the iChoc (maybe a Toblerone with rounded corners?) and the iCheese first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Experts said the Titanic was unsinkable.

      Some biased Apple employee with delusions of fanbois grandeur does nothing to influence my purchase decision.

      1. Eltonga

        Actually, it does influence my decision... towards the negative.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      You're reading it wrong

      Switzerland is in trouble.

      He means of course, once Apple release the "device for communicating to the user the chronological point in a 24 hour period worn on the wrist" they have "invented", aka patent "1-800-MEETOOWRISTWATCH-CATCHUP", granted 01-Sep-2014, their lawyers will naturally be suing anyone who copied this stunning innovation before them, since as usual they have the best judges money can buy.

      And what they have in mind for those with the affront to use round corners on their cheap imitations just doesn't bear thinking about.

      1. Fungus Bob

        Re: You're reading it wrong

        Sadly, you're probably right.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: You're reading it wrong

        Just, a round watch as no corners...

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

      Harry Lime in The Third Man

      1. Financegozu

        Sorry, the cuckoo clock is not Swiss

        Its origin is in the so-called Black Forest region which is just north of the Rhine river ( It's just for tourstic reasons it's being sold in Switzerland

        1. Francis Boyle

          Harry Lime

          clearly forgot about the Swiss army knife.

        2. Daniel von Asmuth
          Paris Hilton

          Chocolate was a Dutch invention

          Do you suppose that Apple's Cocoa is killing the Swiss chocolate industry?

      2. Eltonga

        Erm... Switzerland´s centuries of democracy and brotherly love were supported by ahem... "outsourcing" armies all over Europe. Their crosbow equipped mercenaries were sought after by every warring king of the time. This is... they were the Rolex of Renascence armies. The Vatican still hires them for guard duties.

    4. jgarbo

      iCheese - will the round holes be contravening any Apple patents? Maybe Switzerland really is in trouble....;-p

  2. Slap

    Bang on

    Bang on article which totally tells the truth (I'm in Switzerland by the way).

    I don't think I'm the only one to see this smart watch thing as a solution looking for a problem. A smart watch is today's equivalent of those 80's Casio calculator watches - really not cool.

    1. bpfh
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Bang on

      Oh come on, when I was in primary school in the late 80's, we would have sold our parents into slavery for a calc watch! (even if they were only 8 quid in the local paper shop for the cheapos). This was in the dark ages when us 11 year olds would go out, into the real world and play, with real friends, and the extent of fanboism deciding who was the best out of Marvell and the Beano...

      1. Martin-73

        Re: Bang on

        The Beano, natch.

      2. Haff

        Re: Bang on

        2000 AD surley ?

        1. Thunderbird 2

          Re: Bang on

          Judge Dredd partnering with Strontium Dog Johnny Alpha, best story ever.

      3. Havin_it

        Re: Bang on

        Bollocks, the remote control watch was the uber status symbol in them days. Hours of fun disrupting video lessons ;)

    2. Van

      Re: Bang on

      "I don't think I'm the only one to see this smart watch thing as a solution looking for a problem."

      Look around you. It appears people actually need to have their faces in a screen as much as others need to have a cigarette in their mouths.

      Did people really have the same need to have their faces in calculators as much in the 1980s? No they didn't, poor poor comparison.

      John Ive believes the iwatch and what it contains will be something people need to have on them.

      Was moving a clock off the wall into the pocket, then onto the wrist, really considered cool back in the day?

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Bang on

        The people gawking at their screens all the time are not going to be too interested: a watch is too small. Hasn't Ive noticed the phones have been getting larger rather than smaller, to allow for a decent screen. A traditional watch has a different task, it just shows one piece of information so its "screen" can be small.

      2. ThePhantom

        Re: Bang on

        "Was moving a clock off the wall into the pocket, then onto the wrist, really considered cool back in the day?"

        >> Absolutely! Pocket watches were required by railroad men so that they knew whether their trains were running on time or not and by town "watchmen" to keep track of their shifts. But before that came pendant clock-watches - which were not worn to tell the time. The accuracy of their verge and foliot movements was so poor, with errors of perhaps several hours per day, that they were practically useless. They were made as jewelry and novelties for the nobility, valued for their fine ornamentation, unusual shape, or intriguing mechanism, and accurate timekeeping was of very minor importance.

        Back in the day, wrist watches were almost exclusively worn by women, while men used pocket-watches. Since early watches were notoriously prone to fouling from exposure to the elements, they could only reliably be kept safe from harm if carried securely in the pocket.

        But as watches became more hardened, it was clear that using pocket watches while in the heat of battle or while mounted on a horse was impractical, so officers began to strap the watches to their wrist. In fact, watches produced during the first WW were specially designed for the rigors of trench warfare, with luminous dials and unbreakable glass - and the rest is history...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    1. Tom 7 Silver badge


      Don't worry- just pop down the supermarket and you can find some iNcontinence pants.

      1. Havin_it


        iWouldn't. The iPood brand has already had the Apple legal treatment (Reg covered it a year or three ago).

  4. Erik4872

    Switzerland still has plenty of other industries... banking.

    Someone saying that Rolex is doomed because Apple is rolling out a really fancy Timex calculator watch is a little silly. The author is right in this case -- even above Rolex, there are higher end watchmakers like Patek Philippe, etc. whose watches command even higher sums. And never mind that these luxury timepieces are insanely expensive, they're also throwbacks. Mechanical watches are actually less accurate than ones with quartz movements, but they cost way more due to the workmanship. You're paying for the 15 watchmakers left in the world hunched over a table hand-assembling micro-scale mechanical watch parts..Look at a couple YouTube videos about watchmaking...I have no idea how those guys don't go insane working with such tiny, fragile metal parts. (Also, luxury watches need to be serviced periodically which is extremely expensive (and labor intensive.)

    Mind you, I think buying a watch that costs as much as a car is a very strange way to blow one's money. But I guess if you're at that end of the market and you already have everything else, why not go for it?

    I think the iWatch will find a place with most of the Apple faithful, but I doubt any executive is going to give up their Audemars Piguet or Rolex.

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

      "Mind you, I think buying a watch that costs as much as a car is a very strange way to blow one's money. But I guess if you're at that end of the market and you already have everything else, why not go for it?"

      Agreed and yet.....human beings are hugely status conscious creatures. And alpha males really do get more legover than the rest of us. One friend worked in SE Asia for a number of years and he said that his (real, gold) Rolex was the best investment he'd ever made.

      Doesn't wear it anymore now he's married, of course.

      Of course, not even when the wife's out of town.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

        I lived in the far east for a few years. Unless your friend looks like Wayne Rooney and Peter Beardsley's bastard son, he probably never needed the watch.

        Aside from the fact that unless these ladies were expert watchmakers, they'd not be able to tell a fake Rolex from a real one anyway.

        1. JLV

          >tell a fake Rolex from a real one anyway.

          True story.

          - My, my, Janine, nice Rolex. Cost a lot?

          - (giggle) No, got it for a steal in Thailand. Who'd pay the full price for the real thing?

          later... at the Paris Rolex service dept.

          - Excuse me, my watch has stopped working. Can you fix it?

          - Errr, you are aware it it s a counterfeit?

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

        Presumably, being the type of guy that wears a Rolex, he managed to avoid the cognitive dissonance that comes with knowing that the girl/woman/person wouldn't be sleeping with you if it wasn't for the watch you were wearing.

        Quite apart from the obvious fact that that person is not really in it for the long term, it would seem less good in the short term.

        Probably why I drive a regular car, don't replace my great phone with an expensive shiny all the time and keep the money saved in the bank so I can work less, thus spending more quality time with my partner and kids.

        1. Skiper

          Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

          What cognitive dissonance ? It's about getting laid, not finding a long term relationship...

          There's no cognitive dissonance in parading with an expensive watch and trying to get one night stands.

        2. southen bastard

          Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

          did that once, the partner and kids thing, i can tell you, bling and hookers is so much more furfulling, we are only here for a good time not a long time so why piss around with a ball and chain with screeming brats.

    2. Turtle

      Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

      "Also, luxury watches need to be serviced periodically which is extremely expensive (and labor intensive)."

      I read a very interesting book by Paul Fussell called "Class" which dissects the way status symbols work in the US although most of his points apply to any stratified society, i.e. any society that has ever existed. He mentions that service being expensive (because labor intensive) is actually a benefit from the status-symbol point of view. Because the watch (or other status symbol) is both expensive to obtain and to maintain - it is more difficult for the lower classes to overreach themselves. Okay, you've bought that 40 foot wooden-hulled sailboat - let's see if you afford the marina fees, the cost of sails, the upkeep for that wooden hull, or if it's going to bleed you dry.

      At any rate, I kind of doubt that anyone with real money considers Apple to produce high-status goods as any good produced in the millions or tens of millions is, by their definition, pretty plebeian. So from their point of view, nothing says "low-brow" like thinking Apple is "high-brow".

      But the plebes and the proles are impressed - bless their stupid and pointy little heads.

      1. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

        Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

        Apple gear is the "as-seen-on-film", chinese-copy, cotton version of the silk dress worn by the Famous Actress.

        It looks expensive so they can charge more for it and the buyers still think it's a bargain.

        True, in some ways some Apple gear is quite good but the equivalently priced non-Apple gear is, too. But other PCs and phones aren't "celebrity must-haves", they are just the everyday clothes of the rest of us so they don't have the cachet of a Mac or iDevice.

        Looking like a film star by carrying a film-star's gear or wearing clothes that look like theirs is nothing new. Aspirational acquisitiveness is as old as stratified societies.

        And if it keeps the money flowing it can't be all bad.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

      "Mind you, I think buying a watch that costs as much as a car is a very strange way to blow one's money. But I guess if you're at that end of the market and you already have everything else, why not go for it?"

      There are also people who get crazy from some shiny stones and metals bound together, and they don't even tell you the time...

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

      (Also, luxury watches need to be serviced periodically which is extremely expensive (and labor intensive.)

      So does my Seiko Kinetic at £70 each time should I ever bother to do it. It's cheaper to let it die a slow lingering demise.

      1. J__M__M

        Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

        So does my Seiko Kinetic at £70 each time should I ever bother to do it. It's cheaper to let it die a slow lingering demise...

        A kinetic is not a mechanical watch, it's a quartz.

        1. SEDT

          Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

          Seiko also make mechanical watches. I have a self winder, costs under £70 and keeps good time.

          I enjoy the fact that its not electrickery. Its timeless (Unh?).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

      Watches in the upper price band don't depreciate, whereas expensive cars depreciate faster than mid-range ones.

      My father had a friend who, many years ago, collected watches made by a firm called Breguet. Pension fund? I believe his heirs are still rich on the proceeds.

    6. bpfh

      Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

      > I think the iWatch will find a place with most of the Apple faithful, but I doubt any executive is going to give up their Audemars Piguet or Rolex.

      Anyone with a decent sense of taste and elegance will keep wearing quality timepieces. Idiots with more money than sense will buy a 250 quid iwatch. Hum. Compared to my Hamilton, I wonder how long it lasts?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Switzerland still has plenty of other industries...

        "Idiots with more money than sense will buy a 250 quid iwatch"

        Please post back when an iwatch can do everything a smart phone can. I want to see if you'll be wearing your Hamilton on the other wrist or whether you'll stick with a smart phone rather than look like a tool.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well said

    "Another way of putting the same thing would be to say that a Rolex isn't just a watch: it's a statement that you've got $10,000 to blow on a bracelet. The only reason they make it as a watch is so that it's recognisable as having cost $10,000, which is the whole point and purpose of the entire exercise. That it also tells the time is an irrelevance."

    One of the most astute and observant statement yet made in regards to our consumerist society, and I'm IN that luxury business!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Well said

      Tim is wrong that a $400 iWatch isn't a status symbol in the same way a $10K Rolex is - it's more of a status symbol.

      A $10K Rolex on somebody under 40 means that daddy is/was rich.

      An iWatch means you are not only at least comfortably off - it means you are high-tech/high-skill/modern techno-literate pillock.

      That is more status than being the recipient of a trust fund.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iWatch Status symbol

        Would mark you as a c*ck, definitely. Not sure i'd classify that as "status", but anyway

        1. Charles Manning

          status is subjective

          Status is all in the mind of the person trying to make the statement and the intended audience.

          Even animal print lycra is "status" in the right surroundings.

      2. Erik4872

        Re: Well said

        "A $10K Rolex on somebody under 40 means that daddy is/was rich."

        Usually, but it can also mean they're in sales or senior management. Talk to high-end salespeople in very status-conscious industries...guaranteed you'll see a lot of gold Rolexes. $10K is part of a monthly commission check for some of these folks. And salespeople don't tend to save, they blow their money on flashy toys.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Well said

        " $10K Rolex on somebody under 40 means that daddy is/was rich."

        Or that (s)he was able to get rich and was not a nerd...

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Well said

          ...or was a nerd.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well said

        "A $10K Rolex on somebody under 40 means that daddy is/was rich."

        hmm. I bought my first Patek at 21 and my first Ferrari at 30. My dad didn't pay for them and I didn't have a trust fund either. I worked hard, saved my coins, and achieved a few goals. My wealth, such that it is, is the result of my effort (I am not a trader or speculator, I get paid a salary).

        You comment drips of envy.

        Poor people are poor for reasons other than lack of money. I suspect you are an example of this.

      5. Triggerfish

        Re: Well said

        I'd disagree with that my friend has a couple of Breitlings, a Rolex and one from IWC, he paid for them all by himself.

        I don't know if that makes it a status symbol to only those who know about watches, but the IWC is also very simple looking you probably at first glance wouldn't think its a pricey timepiece.

      6. LucreLout

        Re: Well said

        "A $10K Rolex on somebody under 40 means that daddy is/was rich."

        Daddy was a blue collar factory worker (sheet metal), and I'm under 40. $10k is what in real money... about £6k. I can afford to go and buy the Rolex - the only reason I don't is my mrs bought me a different watch to celebrate something, and I've never really aspired to a collection of expenive watches.

        Most people have a car, including the under 40s. For 6k you'd only get a Dacia Sandero in poverty spec. I'll hazard a wild guess the Rolex will outlast the Dacia. I see a lot of young people blowing £100 on drink and club entry every Friday, and there's nothing wrong with that, but those that want the Rolex could miss every other week and buy the watch after 2 years.

        Maybe you should adjust your thinking a little to reflect real life?

  6. Andrew Jones 2

    oooo look iShiny.....

    Still don't understand why there is so much hype around it -

    it might well be the most intuitive, easy to use, fantastical device ever released to date - hell it might have a battery life that lasts for a week. But - if I need to own an iPhone to use it. It's already completely pointless for me.

    For people who bought into the Apple ecosystem, it'll probably be great, but not everyone has bought into the Apple ecosystem and that's where this hype - not just from Apple but from countless tech blogs too - that it will immediately take the world by storm - is just silly. It's the exact same reason Android Wear won't take the world by storm.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: oooo look iShiny.....

      and you will be able to buy iShirts too - with one arm shorter than the other to allow your personality replacement device to be visible to all.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    Dieter Rams

    Ives is deluded.

    Now that he has already copied all of Dieter Rams he's clutching at straws.

    I doubt that this will displace any luxury product, nor does Switzerland rely on watches (or Cuckoo Clocks, or Toblerone).

    I'm sceptical that it will do much better than the Newton or Pippin. But who knows how many chumps are out there.?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Dieter Rams

      It is Ive, not Ives

      Deluded? He was joking with colleagues, something people often do when a project is nearing completion to their satisfaction. "Switzerland is fucked".

      He hasn't copied any Dieter Rams design, but rather Dieter Rams' methodology - this requires hard work, as Dieter himself will tell you.

      Switzerland doesn't rely on luxury watches.... again, Ive was joking.

      Seriously Mage, if you want to talk about Ive and Rams, at least look beyond Wikipedia. Here is an interview with the man himself, for starters:

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Dieter Rams

        I know all about classic Braun designs. Since before I bought an Apple II (which is pre-Apple Copy Braun Era)

        But spelling is what I'm worst at.

        My Magery is purely in technical stuff. I have studied Dieter Rams and know that he does believe that 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'. But most deluded iFans think Apple is original and deserves their patents, of the design kind and the technology sort. Having worked in Electronics and Computers and studied the artistic side (industrial) as well as engineering design since late 1970s I regard Apple as a very successful confidence trick.

        I suspect he was was only half joking.

  8. Crazy Operations Guy

    Huge difference between an iThing and a Rolex

    In reality it isn't that Apple devices are luxury good, scarce Apple products are. All Apple products depreciate rapidly starting from the day of launch; owning an iPhone the day after it is launched is a huge deal, where buying that same thing two months later is nothing to write home about, and don't even get me started on the previous model.

    On the other side, an old Rolex is just as valuable of a status symbol as one that was made today, and if its in very good condition, even more valuable. A well taken care-of watch would show that not only did you have enough money to buy it in the first place, but that you've also maintained enough wealth to get it properly maintained.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huge difference between an iThing and a Rolex

      My grandfather, a highly skilled mechanical engineer, used to service the odd Rolex for amusement.

      After WW2 quite a number of returning servicemen had them, acquired as loot from Germans. He said that the old Rolexes were not only well made but well designed, so that they were fairly easy to clean, lubricate and correct. The BBC time signal was often the busy point of his weekend as he checked all the timepieces he was adjusting.

      I am told too that there were excellent, and cheap, Rolex servicepeople in Hong Kong. In the absence of real Rolex balance springs, some of them were made out of bamboo.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's FAR too early to judge

    Apple goods are expensive precisely because people know that they're expensive; quite obviously there'll be people shunning $30 Timex timepieces because they want to be seen to be telling the time on a $400 iWatch.

    1 - we still have no idea how expensive this thing will be

    2 - (as I have said many times before) not all Apple gear is as overpriced as you think when you start looking at a TCO which includes software, efficiency and the lack of downtime. I can't see that for the iWatch, though, but I'm responding the general assumption, which is IMHO not based on any facts.

    3 - although I *presently* find the very idea pointless, Apple may have come up with something that makes this thing useful. Let's judge this when we know what on earth they've come up with, not before. Apple was laughed at when they entered the cell phone business too...

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: It's FAR too early to judge

      "Apple gear is as overpriced as you think when you start looking at a TCO"

      That same logic is how I ended up looking after a bunch of stupidly expensive Oracle machines that have so far cost the company millions more per year than MS-SQL boxes they replaced...

      1. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

        Re: It's FAR too early to judge

        When I wanted to buy my wife a laptop of her very own as an additional birthday present she went for a MacBook. The price and the TCO were irrelevant not just because it was a gift but because she intended *me* to maintain it for her.

        That meant I had to learn how to use MacOSX and how to support *her* using MacOSX.

        I got a new set of skills out of the deal.

        ROI? A lot. TCO? Who cares?

        Those things are all relative to what you *do* with the gear. Personally, I think her MacBook was about the cheapest computer, pc, laptop, phone or watch, that I ever bought.

        And that's ignoring the pleasure she got from it.

        But I still wouldn't buy an iWatch.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's FAR too early to judge

        Microsoft fanboi, perhaps?

    2. Graham Triggs

      Re: It's FAR too early to judge

      TCO can be cut a number of ways. If you (or your organisation) is not the technical type, and you are going to rely on the manufacturer to provide support, then Apple does provide good support.

      If you have technical ability and resources, then the risks and downtime of having an Apple can far exceed the alternatives. I've got a dozen HDDs lying around and could replace a failed drive in a PC laptop in 5 minutes. If an Apple SSD dies, I'm screwed until I can get to a store.

      And because Apple offer so few options, most people would have to pay for a bunch of things they don't care about, in order to get what they need.

      I really do like Apple. I'm currently using an iPhone. But even if they offered something that matched my needs, I couldn't buy into the desktops / laptops, because I can't rely on it not costing 2-3x my PC ownership over time.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: It's FAR too early to judge

        So Apple TCO is really just an idiot tax.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's FAR too early to judge

        I really do like Apple. I'm currently using an iPhone. But even if they offered something that matched my needs, I couldn't buy into the desktops / laptops, because I can't rely on it not costing 2-3x my PC ownership over time.

        1 - we have all laptops and desktops under warranty (we can write off over 2 years, which matches EU warranty terms)

        2 - you don't seem to consider the cost of software to get anything done, nor the time spent fighting new "features" because some jerk in Redmond decided you really ought to sponsor them again, nor the eternal "I must update" signals you get from the OS and anti-virus, and the time you spend waiting for that. Ditto for installing hardware and finding drivers.

        So, for *our* use, TCO's for Apple gear work out better - that the gear looks good is a nice side benefit, but that's not why we buy it. Even the eternal arguments about being in a locked eco system depend on your point of view - the benefit is that everything works together, and we can use fully Open Source backends that support nothing but open standards, and we rather like Linux as a server platform. It's no use to us as a desktop because we need many commercial packages for our work (but not MS Office, thankfully).

        Crowbarring the discussion back to the original topic, I have been around too long to pay credence to predictions - I prefer to see what they have come up with before I judge. There is a good chance it's just a Bluetooth connected extension to an iPhone (or maybe any phone) in which case I'll say "meh" and they can keep it. If they have come up with something new that actually makes sense I may consider it. But - we - do -not - know - yet, so these heated discussions in advance are IMHO a rather weird waste of time.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: It's FAR too early to judge

          2. And the cost of Apple software because they decided "Nobody needs to do that" and made it completely impossible to achieve.

          Or the cost of apple software due to backwards-compatibility issues, forcing you to upgrade your OSX before the software you need will run (because the APIs change so much that the softwrae house can't afford to support the older versions.)

          Or the cost of forced Apple hardware upgrades because the version of OSX you must have to run the software you must have won't run on the hardware you have - even though there's no technical reason for it.

          Frankly, the number of reasons to buy Apple for work-related software have been decreasing very rapidly over the last few years, as software goes multi-platform (Adobe, avid) or worse, gets castrated.

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: It's FAR too early to judge

      The amount of iPhones I see with cracked and broken screens suggest the TCO is low because ethey won't pay for the repair.

      Someone I know just the other day, one drop, two nasty breaks at both ends of the device. It still works so it isn't getting repaired.

      How much 'downtime' does even an Android device have? My Winphone is 'down' for about 30s every two months maybe, often because Orange decide to 'update' my service or I think the data stack is broken (it's always frigging Orange).

      Plus about 10 minutes once or twice per year while the software is updated.

      Since I don't have to buy a case to protect mine and almost everyone with an iPhone seems to have a case (to stop it being smaller and lighter?), I would suggest the TCO is insanely higher since iPhones seem to cost considerably more than similarly/better specified WinPhones in the first place.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big words from a man who's designs haven't changed much in the past several years. A current iMac is indistinguishable from one from 4 years ago, same with Mac Books / Mac Book Air... Think Different, my ass.

    1. Dave Walker

      When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

      The fact that products look similar from generation to generation is a sign of good design and forward thinking and vision.

      It is the a function of a coherent design language that newer models look similar to previous generations.

      The classic Porsche, Volvo, the first three generations of VW water cooled cars. The list could go on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

        and don't forget they just work, and they are also magical and revolutionary.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

        So sharp corners near the trackpad on and easily bent pieces near the ports on MacBooks is 'Perfect Design'? And why are they still using soft, easily scratched and warped Alumin(i)um? Everyone else has gone to sturdier and lighter Magnesium and Carbon alloys for their systems.

        And why does everything have to be plain silver? Does Johnny have some kind of fetish for a plastic white Apple logo in the middle of a field of nothing but boring, plain matte silver? Did Rainbow Bright touch him in his no-no area when he was a kid?

        1. pepper

          Re: When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

          Aluminium can be a excellent and strong material to use if you alloy it correctly! Dont blame the material, blame the designer!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

            Aluminium was for many years the least bad material for airframes, but composites are better. Small consumable electronic products benefit from a degree of flexibility, so a magnesium alloy or similar frame with a polymer or composite cladding makes the most sense. Focussing on what something looks like at the expense of functionality is a very human failing; there has been research done on our ability to take in complex ideas, and sure enough we are far more likely to make decisions based on simple rather than more complex concepts, unless it is our job to do in depth analysis.

            This is a simple explanation of why BYOD is simultaneously popular with the masses and a Bad Idea.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

        Dyou know how "good" Volvo is doing? Maybe with some new ideas it wouldn't have been sold to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group...

        1. Frank N. Stein

          Re: When a design is essentially perfect why change it?

          My 96' Volvo 850 GLT runs whisper smooth and has 292,600 miles on the Odometer. I doubt any of the newer models can claim that kind of endurance.

  11. Francis Vaughan

    Not clear

    Most Swiss watches sold are not Rolexes. They are the much cheaper watches. TAG Heur sells a massive number of watches, and their sub $1000 line sells best of all. SMH is the dominant Swiss watch house, with brands including Swatch, Omega, Longines, and Tissot, plus owning ETA and Valjoux - the main watch mechanism makers. Many of the watches sold by these brands are quartz, not mechanical, and they are not expensive. All the brands have a wide price range, not just very expensive mechanical watches. They want your money, no matter how much you have.

    No doubt, the high end, luxury brands will continue. But a big question may be whether the large number of entry price (say $500 to $1000) Swiss watches will remain a solid seller in the face of smart watches. It isn't just the iWatch, that is this year's question. But in the longer term, we can be sure smart watch technology will bridge the existing technical problems that limit their utility, and acceptance in the market may mean they wipe out the entry level quality watches.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not clear

      While the iWatch will stand apart as the only iOS compatible smart watch, there will be nothing stopping these manufacturers from developing their own smart watches for Android.

      So they can still get their slice of the clock face pie.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a watch so that I still know what time it is, even if the batteries on everything else are dead. Replacing that with another battery burner that has to be recharged all the time would entirely negate the point.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      My watch battery went flat last week

      Really irritated actually, it only managed 5 years when the battery before was at least 8.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Rizzla

    IWatch or Swiss watch? The latter please

    The iWatch will be a flash in the pan for those that just have to have the latest gizmo to be 'cool'.

    Those of us who live in the normal part of Earth will continue to want to own long lifed, high quality, well built, good looking and more valuable in the long term because they aren't available in Curry's/Amazon etc, watches. They don't need firmware upgrades, wifi, any kind of computer connection when you open the box just to work, and work in all time zones and climates, they don't even mind dust, rain, saltwater, heat, cold etc.

    Brietling anyone?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: IWatch or Swiss watch? The latter please

      The quality of the watch is really irrelevant - even cheap ones will tell the time accurately over years. Its the strap that is important if you dont want to know you have a watch on all the bloody time.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Battery life..

    ..wireless charging system will sort that out, which is rolling out for iWatch 3.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Battery life..

      I have a wireless charging system right in my watch, it's called a "solar cell"... and work everywhere (but maybe at Poles in Winter...), without any need of carrying a charger around...

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: Battery life..

      I think the first one will have wireless charging - although not while you are wearing it which would be the only useful kind.

      Daily charging for a watch - not for me - perhaps if they make it to a week, which they won't for a long time.

      Was hoping these batteries running on lighter fluid would be mainstream by now.

      1. Eltonga

        Re: Battery life..

        Was hoping these batteries running on lighter fluid would be mainstream by now.

        No please!!! Not yet another thing be to taken off and sent in the checked-in baggage!!!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ive might have been...

    ...referring to export sanctions against Russian oligarchs, a traditional market for $100K+ wristwatches.

  17. alwarming

    I think Mr.Ive is right and the Swiss economy will plunge.

    Mainly because the lines of fanbois queuing up in Paris will extend into swiss roadways and railtracks, waiting for eternity(*).

    (*) I was trying to make a "time" pun, didn't work out, I know.

  18. Dan Paul

    Perhaps Swatch....

    Timex and Casio will have some slow sales months (until they make an Android/ iPhone compatible smart watch on their own).

    However, there is still nothing at all commendable about "smart" watches that will do much to displace the sales of regular electronic or mechanical watches.

    The Walmart range of products will not suffer at all and the higher end manufacturers will likely get a boost in sales. More of those people will want to differentiate them selves from anyone who wears a "smart watch"

    1. 080

      Re: Perhaps Swatch....

      Why would you pay perhaps £400 for an iWatch when you can have a Casio for £10 which will survive multiple dips into sea water and oil and the battery lasts for at least 5 years, cheap enough to have a couple of spares kicking around

      1. alwarming
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Perhaps Swatch....

        > Why would you pay perhaps £400 for an iWatch when you can have a Casio ...

        Not me, but pretty sure others will. And presumably they aren't acting randomly and have some reasons ? Or it wasn't a rhetorical question and you really want to know ?

        Paris, coz if she does, iWatch.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge

    How silly, how cool

    I can see it now, Dick Tracy types would be cool talking to their wrist... The nerds talking to their wrists... let your imagination fill in the blank.

  20. Colin_Welwyn

    Ive is a great designer and by the looks of is article a great publicist.

    Do people really think that he honestly believes the Iwatch will affect the Swiss watch market? Of course not, but, you, I and many others are talking about something which at the moment doesn't even exist.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want a watch to last forever you buy a mechanical top quality swiss made watch - it's as simple as that. J.Ive does forget electronics never last forever. How many macs older than 10 years are still functional? How many Rolex watches are functional after 10 years?

    Right - if you want something for a long time - you don't invest in electronics.

    My grandfathers swiss watch is still functional after he died 42 years ago!

    1. BasicChimpTheory

      "How many macs older than 10 years are still functional?"

      For what it is worth, my Quicksilver G4 still runs just as it did on the day when I bought it. Naturally, this does mean it runs exactly like a 15 year old computer but it runs nonetheless.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>If you want a watch to last forever you buy a mechanical top quality swiss made watch

      Er, yes and no. Recommended maintenance on a mechanical watch is to have it at least relubricated every ~5 years. The lubricants don't last forever and they can shift to the wrong spots. Disassembling a mechanical watch and lubricating it correctly is skilled labor and costs hundreds of dollars at least.

      Other things can go wrong with mechanical watches that would require expensive repair--balance shafts can break due to shock and springs can snap just due to wear.

      It's true that mechanical watches can "last forever" as long as you maintain them and replace parts as necessary... the same thing can be said for computers though.

      >>My grandfathers swiss watch is still functional after he died 42 years ago!

      I imagine you haven't been wearing it much in those 42 years, if at all, and maybe he didn't wear it that much himself all the time. So I'm not surprised it still does something if you wind it up but it'd be a bad idea to use it. The lubrication is probably gone so if you use it, there's going to be damage to the parts that will cause the watch to break and require super expensive repairs in fairly short order.

  22. Waspy

    is Apple cool and exclusive enough anymore?

    I think the article is really good, spot on in fact, but as another poster mentioned above, will the $500 - $1000 sector of the watch market (TAGs, Tissot, low-end Longines etc) survive? I think the kind of people who buy TAGs (at least the crappy quartz ones) don't really care much about the watch itself, in the same way as a lange and sohne and pateke Philippe customers don't and as outlined in Tim's article - it's a status symbol amongst their peers. Difference is, the people at this end of the market could buy the iwatch instead. The question comes in then: has apple enough cool and exclusive cachet to attract these people? Some commentators would say not...iphones are common as muck now, even my parents now have one each. Yes it's seen by the general populace (not me though guv) as the best phone to get, but it isn't exclusive nor exotic anymore, it's just a standard thing everyone can have if they want to pay a bit more.

    Then again, many people don't even have watches these days, so they probably aren't even bothered about the make of any smartwatch they buy...if they find utility for such a thing then they'll buy and if apple make it then even better, after all they make the best phones (again, not my opinion guv).

    I suspect apple may do ok in this sector but it's not a surefire bet...and I completely agree with the article, above a certain level the watch is of little significance. having spoken to a fashion editor of a top UK magazine a while ago about the watch fair he attended, he said this: "there are two type of watch fan; the ones who can afford it, who couldn't care less about the movement, materials etc...typically this transaction lasts about 30 seconds, and the watch nerds who know the designers, movements etc...they usually don't buy anything". Being more in the latter camp than former, I will stick with my vintage Omega seamaster thanks...but good luck to apple, I think they'll need it.

  23. russell 6

    Something forgotten

    There is a beauty to seeing how a well crafted mechanical watch movement functions. A digital watch is a totally different proposition to a mechanical movement. Different markets, horses for courses. Slightly biased as I have a watch from a small Swiss producer and the model I own is one of only 300 made.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Something forgotten

      I'll bite... Who makes your watch?

      1. russell 6

        Re: Something forgotten

        I have a Schwarz Etienne, model New York, they aren't famous but the quality is superb.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Something forgotten

          Very nice.

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Something forgotten

      I have to say after having a nose inside even a cheaper quality timepiece (TAG) I was quite impressed with how well it was put together.

      1. russell 6

        Re: Something forgotten

        I like TAG too. What always gets me is the intricacy of the mechanics, I had the chance to see my watch being put together, in this digital age good mechanical engineering has the power to create emotion in a way electronics and ones and zeros never do. Well for me anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Something forgotten

          I love mechanical watches but you have to admit that the manufacturing tolerances for making physical things like e.g., a processor or a circuit board or a digital camera sensor or an LCD screen etc. are much higher than the gears and whatnot in a TAG or any other mechanical watch.

          The innards of a $30 cell phone are much more impressive from an engineering and/or manufacturing standpoint than any Patek.

  24. Mark Wilson

    Douglas Adams

    “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  25. John Savard Silver badge

    One moment...

    Rolex just might be in danger anyways. Rolex is not in danger from Timex because, in addition to showing you are wealthy, Rolex watches also tell the time.

    But that's all they do. Whereas a smartwatch does other things in addition to telling the time.

    At the moment, a smartwatch is a new product category; it's not something everyone feels they need to have, so it doesn't do things that are essential. But that might change.

    At that point - when there are smartwatches out there for $29.95 instead of $299 and up - Rolex might have to make a $10,000 smartwatch instead of a $10,000 watch watch just to stay in the game at all; people don't buy luxury goods to look as though they have more money than sense.

    So, yes, Rolex isn't in immediate danger (and the "neptune", which isn't tethered to a smartphone, might be more of a menace than Apple's iWatch) but it does have to look over its shoulder and make plans of some sort.

    Eventually, a watch with GPS built in and a rubidium oscillator as well to keep its workhorse quartz crystal calibrated, plus full smartphone capabilities (hey, how about being able to sign up for Iridium with it) might be what some of the wealthy will spring for...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: One moment...

      Nope! What the wealthy want is a piece of bling that is absurdly expensive and they can afford it while you can't but it also has a level of craftsmanship in it that can only be achieved by having a factory full of captive pixies. Buying an expensive iThing has not appealed to many so far and gold iThings have been available, at the end of the day no matter what the outside has plastered on to it and no matter how smart the chip inside it is a mass produced chip not a piece of rare art and craftsmanship that is hard to come by.

      If I could afford a Rolex would I buy one? Absolutely, I had a basic chronograph i the '70s a thing of engineering beauty in miniature and as tough as old boots, I lost it on a holiday in France.

      Now I wear daily a 40 quid Titanium watch and have two Tissots that can dive, swim, kayak and sail with me they both have bezels and tachygraphs which I use occasionally, that's about as smart as I need in a watch and I don't see an iWatch taking a tumble out of a kayak and being too happy about it nor do I need notifications about much other than dolphins at 300 metres offshore.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: One moment...

      Do you really believe someone wearing an high end watch cares about GPS and other features in it? These are the kind of people who usually have real people taking care of their needs... or do you really believe their will drive their luxury car, boat or plane using the iWatch GPS? Or be reminded of their next First Class flight while in the exclusive airline lounge, after being brought there by a driver and with a secretary taking care of everything?

    3. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: One moment...

      Eventually, a watch with GPS built in

      All the better for the Eye in the Sky to keep tabs on you!!

  26. goldcd

    Apple phones

    are a prestige brand for people who have to pay monthly.

    Have you seen their prices if you simply wish to walk in and buy one outright? That's not the market they're going for.

    To be fair, it's not an 'Apple' thing, it's a 'phone' thing. There's a frightening number of people out there whose most expensive single possession is their phone, and haven't quite grasped 24 month contracts and depreciation.

    Anyway - iPhones may be lovely, but they're not prestige.

    Looking at watches - well have a look at and guess where the money actually comes from.

    The prestige thing is 'nice' but.. well doesn't bring in that much. Still you should try and maintain the appearance of prestige - I hear nothing but nice things about experiences people have in Apple stores, and think that's the way to go about keeping your brand valuable.

    Omega asking me to send my POS 'luxury' watch to a Swatch concession in Covent Garden, where after a pile of cash they returned it to me without box/warranty card and loose in an f'in jiffy bag (and it's broken again). Well the swiss should be worried, but Apple shouldn't be aiming their sights on them.

  27. Nuno trancoso


    That's how he got it. Granted, it might kick (some) digital watches, and maybe makers, into the gutter, but it won't make even the cheappo mechanical's sweat.

    Because, and i'm sure that's something Apple hates, wearing a mechanical clock is in and by itself a statement. That you're not on the MEETOO bandwagon and couldn't give less a donkeys ass what the current trend of groupthink is.

    Ah well, he was probably just trying to make the fanboys fell warm and fuzzy inside anyway...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This may not be quite so ridiculous as it sounds

    Back in 2007, before the iPhone, if you took a survey asking people if they wanted to own a smartphone, maybe a few percent would say yes. Geeks and PHBs. Not ordinary people. Apple did not invent the smartphone, or invent anything truly original in the iPhone. What they did do was combine existing technologies in a novel way to make the smartphone something that a normal person would want to own.

    What if they could do the same for the smart watch? What happens if people who today wear a Rolex want to wear a smart watch because it provides some type of functionality they want to have, just as many of us who had no desire whatsoever to own a smartphone before iPhone and Android couldn't imagine giving them up today? Does anyone really believe these Rolex owners are going to continue wearing their Rolexes on one wrist, and the smart watch on the other?

    No, they're going to quit wearing their Rolexes. It is simply a piece of jewelry, and a way to let others know you're well off. There are other pieces of jewelry to wear, and other ways to let others know you're well off. The market for Rolex will crater if smart watches become as popular as smart phones.

    Apparently Ive thinks that Apple has re-invented smart watches in the same way they reinvented the smartphone. If he's right, Rolex is in trouble, even though an Apple watch or Samsung watch will never make the same statement as a Rolex. Rich people will make that statement in other ways, with 5 carat diamond cufflinks or a Ferrari.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This may not be quite so ridiculous as it sounds

      But I don't wear my rolex sky dweller to show off. I wear it because it's a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Not everything in life is about exhibition.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This may not be quite so ridiculous as it sounds

        You wear it as a piece of jewelry. I listed both options, not trying to tag every Rolex owner as a rich show-off.

        But here's the question. If someone made a device you wear on your wrist that did something that made you decide you wanted it, and you'd wear it as often as you carry your smartphone with you if not more often, would you still wear your Rolex? If so, would you keep doing it if people kept making fun of you for wearing two watches? :)

  29. Piro Silver badge

    Haha, oh Ive...

    The difference is, you'll have to convince people to buy your iWatch tat every few years, whereas a well made mechanical timepiece will last for almost all purposes - indefinitely, and either a ridiculous time on a battery, or forever on kinetic or solar absorbing technology. When your iWatch runs out, people will be asking about it, but you'll only be able to show them a blank screen, as if you have some kind of lifeless electronic tumour on your arm, unless you hastily take it off and stuff it in your pocket in shame.

    If you want a piece of tat that will be outdated in a year, iWatch is for you. If you want a watch that is well built, timeless, classic, and will tell you the time, faithfully, at a glance, forever, then you want a Swiss watch (or for the less well-heeled, a Casio digital watch, everyone has a soft spot for those!).

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wondering...

    Does Jony rhyme with Bony or Bonny?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Size does matter

    Rolex is not listed but might be worth 20 - 30 bn dollars, Apple is worth nearly 600 bn dollars.

    Although cooperation using swiss self winding to power iGadget and Rolex quality and pricing might keep apple as an iwant and drag Rolex etc. into the 21st cent.

    I'm waiting for the ihat that uses the heat from my head as a power supply for my isee (like google glass but cooler/better/expensive)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Size does matter, and so do brains..

      I know of a British watch maker who currently sells COSC-certified chronometers for less than £700 incl VAT; they built such a solid following over the last few years that they ended up able to launch their own movement in the last year and have ownership of more of the product.

      For the iWatch to rock the BIG Swiss boats, Apple would need:

      1) An Apple-designed COSC-certified chronometer movement that can power iWatch electronics (somewhat possible - need electronic engineer types to guesstimate how much electrical power a '5-7 day reserve' movement can generate)

      2) A sensible UI, durable miniature electronics and a small retina-quality display (very possible)

      3) A large supply of Sapphire glass to deliver high quality durable devices (already have this)

      I would actually consider this as a companion to my current timepiece (#143/200 - COSC certified Chronometer) as it'd be a quality quirky addition - remember their anticlockwise watches from some convention ages ago?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Size does matter, and so do brains..

        >>1) An Apple-designed COSC-certified chronometer movement that can power iWatch electronics (somewhat possible - need electronic engineer types to guesstimate how much electrical power a '5-7 day reserve' movement can generate)

        Nowhere close, unfortunately. A Seiko "kinetic" watch uses a mechanical rotor to charge a battery to power a quartz movement and it's barely enough. You have to wear it for 12 hours to get 24 hours of charge.

        A typical quartz movement will run for a few (lets say 3) years on a ~200 mAh watch battery. So if my math is right, the movement uses 0.0076 mA per hour (?).

        So that means Seiko's rotor can generate 0.015 mA per hour.

        Now look at a smartwatch that lasts (very optimistically) 2 days on a ~300 mAh battery. Power usage of that is 6.25 mA per hour.

        So you would have to wear a rotor-powered smartwatch for about 2 weeks straight to get one hour of use out of it. :)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like the idea of an iwatch powered by a Rolex mechanical perpetual movement.

  33. HKmk23

    Absolutely spot on article

    Quote "Another way of putting the same thing would be to say that a Rolex isn't just a watch: it's a statement that you've got $10,000 to blow on a bracelet. "

    Quite honestly people who buy a Rolex are simply not going to buy a piece of plastic tat no matter who makes it!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $3 Chinese Rolex

    I would like to complain loudly about the negative attitudes to Chinese knock-off the author has expressed.

    I own a $3 Chinese Rolex, and as I sit here - at 3:40pm on the 13th of June 1967, I can tell you there are every bit as as good as the real thing.

    OK seriously; I have a millionaire friend who owns a real Rolex AND a Chinese knock-off; he wears the knock-off most of the time because it KEEPS better time than the real thing.

    If a Rolex is so good, why didnt his last ex wife want it as part of her £5.5 million divorce settlement??

    1. I sound like Peter Griffin!!

      Re: $3 Chinese Rolex

      Because the value of the gold in the watch has shown an upward trend since gold was first traded - the 'watch' aspect of it doesn't matter.. I thought that was the gist of the whole article on what people consider luxury..?

  35. Fihart

    Won't happen.

    Swiss watches weren't sunk by;

    a) Japanese (Seiko, Citizen, Casio).

    b) Trendy plastic watches. Swatches actually made in Switzerland.

    c) Digital watches.

    d) Electronic analogue-face watches.

    e) People who don't wear a watch because their phone has a clock.

    If anything, the appearance of electronics has upped the prestige of mechanical watches -- allowing the Swiss to charge premium prices.

  36. Not That Andrew

    I'm sure the Gnomes of Zurich are trembling in their bank vaults.

  37. Milky joe


    I think he was probably joking

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: Joking

      Well, yes, obviously, but where's the article in that?

  38. BongoJoe
    Thumb Down

    I remember when the digital watch was going to kill the Swiss watch industry back in the 70s. The Swiss moved double-quick and brought out the Swatch and any fears were averted.

    I can't see this watch lasting more than a year before it's passed over and we're back to the traditional timepeices, i.e. our mobile phones.

    Anyway, if he works for Apple shouldn't he be called Tim iVe?

    1. Van

      "I can't see this watch lasting more than a year before it's passed over and we're back to the traditional timepeices, i.e. our mobile phones."

      Another one missing the point. We'll eventually have technology embedded into our bodies and you'll still be holding a smart phone up to your face?

      Ever wondered why clocks, depth gauges and altimeters all evolved to the wrist?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see iWatch competing with conventional watches

    Yes, it will give you the time, and plenty of Rolex owners may well end up owning one, but surely it's an adjunct, not a replacement, for a dress watch? I'm certainly keeping an eye on iWatch and the new Motorola 360, but buying neither would cause me to throw my automatic in the bin, or stop me from buying another automatic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't see iWatch competing with conventional watches

      I may have bought into the Apple ecosystem (Mac, iPhone, iPad) but the chances of me replacing my Rolex (15 years old, bought with Y2K/dotcom boom overtime) with an iWatch are about zero. In fact the very few times the shiny isn't on my wrist I have a plain black Swatch to tell me the time. Which reminds me, the shiny needs to go for an all expenses paid holiday/service in the near future.

      Given that my iPhone is more-or-less a dumbphone more often than not I'm probably not the target for a smartwatch. Though with all this new health stuff maybe companies like Garmin might be looking over their shoulder?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't see iWatch competing with conventional watches

        The moment a smart-watch can receive texts, phone calls, play MP3s and Navigate via GPS among basic tasks like telling the time, weather forecast, altimeter, calendar, then my phone is out of my pocket and into the bin. I can't wait to see whereabouts people will be wearing their Rolex jewellery though, my guess is, not on the other arm.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: I don't see iWatch competing with conventional watches

          Sure, maybe a 5" smartwatch.... face it, some devices are bounded by their own phisycal dimensions. Unless Ive redesign your wrist and forearm, there's little you can do in a small screen.

          Glasses have a better chance to offer the services you are talking about in a convenient way. You can access info even if your hands are busy, and with the proper "screen" size.

          For example if I'm skiing, there's no way I could use a wrist GPS or whatever...

  40. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Jony Keep Joking

    you may end up "doing a Ratner".

    Paris and a Rolex - a timeless picture.

    A similar picture of Paris and an iWatch - would be dated as soon as the next version comes out, and not something fanboys and girls would aspire to

  41. John Savard Silver badge

    COSC Quartz Chronometers

    Well, from Googling some things I saw in this thread, I've learned that COSC has a more stringent requirement for quartz crystal watches that it certifies as chronometers - and a French company, Girard-Perregaux, makes most of the watches sold in that category.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: COSC Chronometers

      Most people who go looking for COSC-certified timepieces are looking for mechanical movements; most people who end up with quartz watches care little about the 'mechanics'.

  42. CmdrX3

    Oh good...the iWatch. I can't wait.

    Much in the same way as I can't wait to get piles as I further approach older age. No doubt I'll be able to chart my approaching health decline and general unfitness with some spangly new iWatch app and track the passing days towards my ultimate demise as it digitally ticks away...... colour me excited.

    .... or am I just being a little too Victor Meldrew.

    1. Van

      Re: Oh good...the iWatch. I can't wait.

      I suppose you'd have said the same about wrist watches during the pocket watch era?

  43. Van

    missing the point

    There's nothing wrong with Johnny Ive having the confidence that an iwatch will evolve to replace a smart phone, which is where almost everyone here is missing the point.

    A rolex watch might be a luxury item to show off with, but you're not going to wear a rolex on one wrist and a smart watch on the other.

  44. Benjol

    Try looking up "Nick Hayek iwatch". Big boss of Swatch group. Has some interesting things to say: the 'no competition' argument that Tim lays out here. Also that it could even open up new markets in the "don't need nuffin on my wrist I got a Smartphone" generation. And also that quite a lot of the technology that goes into these smart watches is supplied/invented by watch makers.

    And that he doesn't wear a watch at night.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all relative

    But in a way Rolex is a cheap watch, people with real money don't buy Rolexes unless they want something expendable to tell the time. A neighbor who worked for a niche Horologist told me that her best ever day's sales was 90,000 CHF for ONE watch (it was a slow day apparently) and a service for said timepiece was around 4,000 CHF, winding and resetting the time was close to 1000 CHF.

    A colleague of mine also told be of a Diplomat who was "sent back to the capital" because he's spent over 3 million USD on watches with the money he'd defrauded. They didn't find a single Rolex in his apartment.

    Rolex is the Samsung of the Watch world. People buy them but if you want a real watch you buy something very few people have heard of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all relative

      OK, let's get into a pissing match on who can claim that the most expensive watch is actually "cheap".

      The crossover point comes when more money doesn't buy you more accurate, more reliable, more durable telling of the time. My guesstimate is that this is around the £700-1000 mark. It's like cars; the Porsche 911 is probably the most expensive car that you can sensibly use as everyday transport, as "supercars" tend to be somewhat erratic, the production volumes not being enough to iron the bugs out.

      It's possible that the unwashed masses are finally waking up to the con that has been carried out on them and that the era of bling is drawing to an end. The Fabergé egg reached its apex of elaboration and cost shortly before the Tsar and his family got murdered. But there will always be a demand for stuff that is not cheap but does its job superbly well. Currently the development cycle is so short and so fast that small electronic goods have a shelf life of around a year or so. There is a long way to go before the "superbly well" level is reached.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all relative

      As someone who has sported a Patek on my wrist for many decades, I offer this true story.

      A friend of mine asked me to pick him up a AAA quality Rolex Submariner copy in Asia. These are quite excellent copies and not at all cheap. It takes a well trained eye to spot the difference. I decided to wear it for a few days, never having owned even one Rolex in my adult life.

      At least a dozen people commented on my Rolex, some that I had "moved up" in the watch world. Now, as someone who wears a Patek Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (amongst others), this is utterly hilarious. No one before has ever commented on my watches, other than those who themselves have a professional or other particular interest in them.

      Really expensive watches go more or less unnoticed by the unwashed masses. A diamond crusted Rolex Presidential is expensive bling, rather than an expensive timepiece, so it gets noticed, but 99.9% of the unwashed, would not know a top tier watch if it struck them in the forhead, and my personal experience aligns with this statement.

      Interestingly, Porsches and Rolexes have some similarities.

      Rolex customer groups:


      Stock brokers.

      Jacques Couteau, Kim Bonington et. al.

      Porsche customer groups:


      Stock Brokers.

      Race car drivers.

      The first two in each group fund the existence of the product for the benefit of the third who are able to appreciate and value the quality.

  46. Peshman

    Ive lost the plot?

    I suppose he could be muttering that to himself.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Ive lost the plot?

      I suppose he could be muttering that to himself.

      or the ghost of Jobs

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Storm-clouds looming over the Swiss watch industry?

    A portent of things to come? An ominous storm building up on the eve of the iWatch (?) launch over Geneva and the Vallée de Joux (the heartland of the Swiss horology industry). You can just about see Lac Leman but the Jet d'Eau was turned off.


  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a vaguely expensive watch

    In my teens I saw an article about a professional diving watch made by Tag. It was cast from a solid block of titanium and looked the dogs dangly bits. Of course, there was no price and it was a limited run but it grabbed my imagination enough to want a Tag watch at some point.

    Fast forward the best part of twenty years and my wife's grandma passed away leaving my wife a little money.

    By now I had been in a position to buy one for myself for some time but never got around to it. Anyway, my wife took the time to use the money she had to buy one for me and unbeknown to her, the one she so carefully chose was basically a reproduction of the professional diving watch - it was almost identical but cast from steel not titanium.

    I was actually quite surprised to see that in the intervening time between then and now the value of it has risen - by quite a bit.

    Anyway, I couldn't give a flying toss what Apple or others produce in this area because for me I have the perfect watch with the perfect back story.

  49. naive Silver badge

    His comments are not for the 40-60 yo

    The high quality Swiss watch will see its demise now it loses its space.

    In a few years smart watches interacting with google glass like devices will replace the current mobile phone format.

    The mechanical master pieces will share their fate with cars, high end stereo equipment and camera's... it is something for the 40+ yo, and the 20-30 yo do not have a desire for it anymore.

  50. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Speaking of Vertu

    Does Nokia still have anything to do with 'em?

  51. meanioni

    I'll keep my Casio thanks vm

    Rolex? Schmolex! £10K on a watch? no ta, would rather spend it on something more worthwhile.

    Apple Watch - lovely gimmick, but a bit pointless - screen too small to do anything meaningful (so people will still have to use their iPhone) and will largely be bought a) by fanbois or, b) by people showing off or c) by nerds.

    So you can send your pulse to another user.... really? I mean, really???

    BUT the main thing that will kill it is the stupidly short battery life. Yes I know that most people take their watches off at night (I don't) but to be seriously useful, you would operate it frequently during the day, which means a battery life of less than one working day (if not straight away within a short period of charging/recharging). So most of the time you would leave it switched off.

    ...which is exactly what I did at the proud age of 10 when my parents spent a small fortune on an LED watch which you had to press a button to make work. Friends and family thought this was cool and would show them it, by pressing the little button. And then the batteries died... LCD watches then came out and have dominated the digital watch market since.

    So until they sort out better batteries, Smart Watches will be a short lived (and expensive) curiosity that will gather dust.... just like my LED watch :-(

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