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Opinion

Disconnect between Switzerland and smartwatches

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. 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’s e-Strap which, available next month. This so-called “smart strap” is a reactive attempt to

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Jason Pitsch

Why should watch companies sell online?

Jason Pitsch

It’s the year 2015, and excluding products that cannot be shipped via FedEX, USPS or UPS – such as cars, boats and other very large items – virtually all other products are available for purchase online. The age old argument that luxury items, such as watches, need to be purchased in person, is no longer valid. Everyday that a competing watch brand is online and your watch brand is not, you’re losing sales, and ultimately market share. Am I saying to close retail locations altogether? Of course not. By combining online and brick and mortar, the cumulative result should be higher. One only needs to look at Apple to see how they do both, with perfection. I have personally made numerous purchases from Apple online, Apple stores and from Apple authorized resellers. This is how business is done now. It’s

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Jason Pitsch

EDITORIAL: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

Jason Pitsch

The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 is easily the most polarizing timepiece Patek Philippe has released in the past decade. At 42 mm in diameter, it’s big by Patek standards. Not to mention it is a pilot watch, with two pushers mounted atypically on the left side of the case. Clearly a departure from a brand whose pieces are seen as classical and elegant. We’ve heard a lot of outrage regarding the design of the timepiece, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the scoreboard (sales) will determine the success of failure or this product, not the opinion of elitist journalists and collectors. Will it end up being a “one-and-done,” a model that never gets produced again? Hard to tell, but I doubt it. Patek Philippe is a brand that’s in high demand among serious collectors.

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Open Letter: To Mr. Thomas Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank, On Behalf of Entrepreneurs from H. Moser & Cie Watches

Neuhausen am Rheinfall, January 15th, 2015 Dear Mr. President, I wanted to personally and publicly thank you, regarding your dramatic move releasing the minimum Swiss Franc exchange rate of 1.20 to the Euro. When I woke up that morning I had a strange feeling. As I checked the news, I wondered, “What am I going to do today?” aside from our usual business in January. There was no new conflict, no big news about emerging markets slowing down, and thank goodness, no new terror attack. I am an entrepreneur, and I own a small watch manufacture called H. Moser & Cie, based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Very Rare is our tagline at H. Moser & Cie. Very Rare, because we produce 1,000 watches, we are entrepreneurs in an independent, family-owned business that employs 55 people, and because we are a manufacture

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Dilemma: The Apple Watch, Form Follows Function

The principe that the shape of a building, or a product should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose is a good one. However, when it comes to smartwatches, the idea that a rectangle device works better does not mean it will translate to a universally good aesthetic the way a round watch design does. Therefore, in my opinion, the biggest dilemma with the Apple watch (and any rectangle smartwatch that wants to be more than a single purpose watch, like a fitness watch), is that while digital screens are not typically round, most watches are. The problem is that a watch is a very personal item, made to be worn on your wrist, not held in your hand like a smartphone. So while a rectangle smartphone is perfectly fine, I think a lot of consumers will have

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Initial Thoughts on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is the most talked about new product to come out of Cupertino since the launch of the iPad, way back in 2010. And the iPhone before that in 2007.

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EDITORIAL: Smart Watches vs. Analog Watches

Smartwatches work with our beloved Smartphones, they can alert you to new: emails, texts, voicemails and missed calls — without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket. In theory, they allow you to check your alerts easier, for example, while in your car, while walking, in the middle of a meeting and so on. However, realistically, do you really need to see your that you have new emails on your wrist as you walk down the street? Isn’t a vibration in your pocket, or an audible chirp from your phone enough? Moreover, can’t you just pull out your phone and read the entire email?

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EDITORIAL: The Service Dilemma: Vintage Grand Seikos

In this article, I will discuss a beautiful circa 1969 vintage Grand Seiko Hi-Beat (ref. 6146-8000) wristwatch that I recently sent into Grand Seiko Japan to be overhauled and serviced. The timepiece needed a cleaning, lubrication, adjustment and new plastic crystal, but apart from that everything appeared to be original and in very good condition. Additionally, when I sent it in, the watch could not hold any power, and as I feared, it was due to a broken mainspring (which winds up and then releases the power to animate the watch). No worries, though, they can just put a new mainspring in when they service the watch and everything will be working again, right? After all, they are the manufacturer of the watch. Wrong. Upon being inspected in Japan, I was told that the mainspring had been “fatally” damaged, and

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EDITORIAL: Will The Real 'Shinola' Please Stand Up

Detroit-based Shinola is a brand that has been getting a lot of press lately. In 2010, they relaunched the brand, which includes a line of bicycles, leather goods, journals, and watches. The company, which derives its name from a now-defunct shoe polish company for which they bought the rights to, was started by former Fossil Group Inc. founder Tom Kartsotis. In a few short years, they have already setup an atelier (assembly workshop) in Detroit, as well as two stores: one in Detroit and the other in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. They are banking on people wanting to purchase their products based on authenticity and the appeal of being “American Made.” Marketing-wise, the concept is good as they have done research that concludes that consumers will pay more for a watch made in Detroit. Not to mention

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EDITORIAL: Silicon, Good or Bad for the Watch Industry?

Before I give my opinion on whether or not silicon is good or bad for the industry, it is important that I mention “chronometry” — the science of measuring time accurately. In the late 16th century, when Jost Bürgi invented the cross-beat escapement — which improved greatly upon its predecessor the verge escapement, and allowed for the creation of clocks that were accurate within one minute per day — it was an important feat at the time.

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