August 29, 2006
Watch Brand Names and Mobile Devices
Today the debate is raging over the future of the humble watch. To wit: is the watch dead, to be replaced by the cell phone? A CNN article proclaims that watch sales are down by almost 5% due to the fact that cell phones are taking over.
This has prompted high end brands like Swatch, which owns Tissot and Omega, to push their offerings towards luxury watches, because wristwatches are now more “fashion statement” than useful tool. PDAs and cell phones are the way we tell time now, it seems. In fact, one blog about pocket watches noted that some feel cell phones are the “pocket watch of the future.”
Last year the people at Timex answered the question with a flat out: no way. Cell phones were making a mark, they argued, but wristwatches were still cheaper, more convenient, and were offering more and more add-ons like heart meters, altimeters and timers.
I am reminded of a blog that presents a mock up of a ”Triple Watch Cell Phone” that might bring watch makers some joy, and an article in BusinessWeek that predicted the end of the cellphone/PDA as we know it, which was also blogged about at the LADS blog.
Gizmodo went out and asked people how they tell the time and found that people who use the “cell phone only “ to tell the time indeed make up the vast majority of respondents (53.3% vs. a measly 13.3% for “watch only”). But then again, I would imagine most of the people who read Gizmodo are mostly guys. That skews the field: as Reuters points out, women are still devotees of the wristwatch.
I for one doubt that the wristwatch is dead and think that strong, mid-range brands from Timex (Indiglo - worn by President Bush) and Casio (G-shock) are here to stay.
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