Discover more from McGST
What would happen if Apple made a watch?
Yes I know that Apple makes the Apple Watch and it is already apparent that it is doing some damage to certain sectors of the traditional watch market.
Sales in the middle and low range of the U.S. watch market are even tougher. Watch sales below $1,000 were down 15% in H1 2019 compared to the same period a year ago, according to NPD. Sales below $500 were down 16%.
The main reason, Brack said, is smartwatches. U.S. smartwatch sales are booming, up 24% in the first half of 2019. That subcategory continues to cause problems for traditional watch brands offering fashion watches and mass-market models in the mid-priced market… More here.
It would appear that smartwatches are having little effect on luxury timepieces, but they most certainly are at the lower end. This makes sense because the majority of people who purchase watches below, for example, £500 will likely not have an emotional attachment to them. They are disposable and so it is perfectly logical to replace the watch with a smartwatch that does a lot more.
We also know that Apple is dominating the smartwatch space, but with that does come a slight niche alignment in terms of who wants to wear a smartwatch. As much as Apple tried to make the Apple Watch a fashionable item it isn’t really and there is very much a ‘I have got one as well’ vibe that is apparent when you see them being worn everywhere.
So, what would happen if Apple decided to go all mainstream and offer a selection of models that looked like real watches, but a selection that offered all of the style and timely fashion sense that many watch owners demand?
It’s not as farfetched as it may seem when you consider Marc Newson, one of the people supposedly behind the Apple Watch. He has serious design chops when it comes to traditional watches, see below, and I do wonder if Apple would consider making a watch without a screen that contains many of the technical features the Apple Watch does today.
There is some logic to this and I do understand that while the Apple Watch is very much a device to present information throughout the day, it could still offer heart rate monitoring, fitness tracking, vibration notifications and alarms with a traditional watch dial.
Or, Apple could follow the Garmin route and overlay a screen that is only live when it needs to be.
If Apple did do this it would likely be an impressive experience and let’s be honest Apple is not going to do anything that I have just dreamed up. Potentially, however, if miracles happened the budget watch market could be blown away in a matter of weeks.