Jony Ive memorably (allegedly) described Swiss watchmakers as “f**ked” due to the then-impending launch of the launch of the Apple Watch, and one year later — like some kind of creepy, well-dressed soothsayer in an Apple-centric episode of The Twilight Zone — it seems he may have been correct.
Swiss watch exports suffered their biggest decline in six years in October, with sales dropping 12 percent to $2 billion. Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich, describes 2015 as a year “to forget” for watchmakers.
Unless their name is Apple, of course.
The drop in sales is being noticed particularly in Hong Kong, a.k.a. the world’s largest watch market, where Swiss watch shipments have fallen by a massive 39 percent.
While the decline can’t entirely be pinned on Apple, the Apple Watch is singled out by Bloomberg’s report as having a definite impact on Swiss brands, particularly low-end timepieces. Non-Swiss watchmakers are also having problems — with the U.S.-based Fossil Group experiencing a 37 percent stock plunge recently after admitting its Q4 sales are likely to decline by up to 16 percent.
As a fan of luxury watches, I can’t see the Apple Watch having a permanent negative impact on the higher-end mechanical watches, but lower priced “fashion” watches may well suffer the effects of the smartwatch revolution.
I hate to say “I told you so” but, well, Jony Ive told you so!