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Disconnect between Switzerland and smartwatches

May 5, 2015

Today, Swiss watchmaker IWC announced plans to release a wearable device embedded in a watch strap. The idea behind IWC Connect, much like Montblanc’s e-Strap, is that traditional watch owners can stay connected, without replacing their beloved mechanical timepiece with a smartwatch.

Apple-Wrist-Shot-Audi-S4.jpgOur contributor, Chris Clark, wearing his Apple Watch today. But don’t let the image fool you. He has made it clear he will not be relinquishing the IWC, Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCoultre or any of the mechanical watches he currently owns.

In theory, it makes some sense. In real life, however, paying $350 or more to add a cheap device to your luxurious mechanical watch is ludicrous. Especially when you consider the price points of an IWC or Montblanc. The people that own this level of mechanical timepieces are wealthy and typically own more than one. If they want a smartwatch, they can buy the Apple Watch (available now), or Horological smartwatch from Frederique Constant (available next month), and rotate with their current collection.

Montblanc-e-strap.jpgMontblanc’s e-Strap which, available next month.

This so-called “smart strap” is a reactive attempt to compete with the new generation of smartwatches about to flood the market, namely the Apple Watch. If this is what your market research tells you consumers want, the data is flawed. And if building a smartwatch is out of the question. Then invest the cash to better educate consumers about the benefits of owning mechanical watches. Better yet, use all that cash you’re basically throwing away on this project and extend the power reserves of your existing watch calibers, integrate more durable materials, add new features. Innovate.

EDITORIAL, Smartwatches

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