The recent surge of smartwatches on the market has presented men with the dilemma of whether to go digital or analogue when accessorising. As with the rise in the popularity of quartz watches since the 1970s, this new technology has challenged traditional ideas of style with multi-functionality and convenience. As with any new innovation, though, the established powers of timepieces aren’t resting on their laurels – many brands are now developing new ways to convince fashion lovers of the value of luxury watches.
A New Challenge
It is estimated that Apple sold a staggering 2.1 million Apple Watches in the June quarter of 2015 alone. During the same period, Swiss watch exports fell to approximately 7.1 million units – about 8%. This evidence clearly shows the huge impact that smartwatches are having on traditional models, since just one brand has managed to significantly dent the success of an entire industry.
The world famous watch manufacturer Swatch appears to be taking a ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach to tackling the challenge of smart technology, having recently announced the Swatch Bellamy. The new model features near-field communication technology that enables users to use mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. While it doesn’t have the full functionality of other smartwatches, the Bellamy and its fitness focused model Touch Zero One, demonstrates Swatch’s willingness to adapt to modern demands.
Other luxury manufacturers are taking a different approach, however. Montblanc for example, are currently developing an entirely mechanical, high-end watch albeit with a small screen in the wristband. Because it contains no electronics in the watch itself, consumers can simply replace the strap when the smart technology inevitably becomes out of date. This way, the allure of mechanical Swiss watches is preserved, while keeping up with the latest technology.
The Traditional Appeal
Despite the turning tide of wrist watches, the appeal of an old fashioned, high quality mechanical watch is still high for fashion conscious men. The success of online retailers such as Chrono24 demonstrates this love of traditional timepieces, as they manage to trade mechanical watches across a broad price spectrum. It’s more than just pure functionality and convenience – it’s a statement of a man’s personal style and character. Although smartwatches can be a handy gadgets to assist you in your day to day life, they are arguably yet to offer the same level of elegant style and heirloom potential to indulge in as their mechanical counterparts.