Swiss watch CEO on the Apple Watch threat

Peter Stas, CEO of Swiss watch firm Frederique Constant, writing on his personal blog:

I feel that the Swiss watch industry still doesn’t understand how much the Apple watch and other smart watches have eaten into the figures, particularly the figures for quartz movements. The Apple Watch Series 3 is the next level, which moves from notifications and fitness tracking to health orientation. I think this is where we will start to see the true benefits of the smart watch and once again Apple is in the lead. They are starting to inform people if their resting heart rate is too high and are even branching out into medical information. Apple has sold 18 million watches and when I go to the US I see more and more people wearing Apple Watches.

To me, the core statement here is this:

The Apple Watch is now in its third generation and who knows what they will bring with the fourth generation. If they start to adapt the case and have something other than just a black screen then the Swiss watch industry could be heading for trouble.

There is still a divide between the factors that drive classic watch sales and the Apple Watch. In my opinion, people buy an Apple Watch for its functionality and appreciate the touches Apple has added that make an Apple Watch fashionable. But people buy classic watches, like Rolex, Tag Heuer, and Vacheron Constantin, for the fashion elements, elegant construction, and appreciate the functional touches that come along with their pricey purchase.

Apple has stayed in their specific groove with Apple Watch. Though there are color, case material, and band options, each Apple Watch looks the same. If Apple steps out of that groove with this fall’s expected Apple Watch Series 4, that could spell real trouble for Swiss watchmakers.