Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

A principle fear of watch lovers is that the advent of smartwatches and their eventual dominance might finally render traditional mechanical watches, once and for all, extinct. I will admit that this conclusion, albeit reactionary and often difficult to articulate, can be logically argued based upon known facts and trends. With that said, I suggest to you that smartwatches will create a fertile market for increased watch demand that will invariably be beneficial for the industry of refined crafts we know and love. That means I think that the dominance of smartwatches will solidify a longer future for the traditional watch industry. I have touched upon this point before, but do so again here in greater detail as a full dedicated article.

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

Some feel the current "threat" from smartwatches is akin to the "quartz crisis" that almost destroyed (but didn't!) the mechanical watch industry - and there are undoubtedly some parallels worth considering. In retrospect, the quartz crisis (or "quartz revolution," depending on your point of view) was, similarly, a period where wrist watches as a category were impacted by outside technology that appeared to replace it. In the late 1960s, quartz watches were debuted in then very expensive watches such as the Seiko Astron.

This was less than a decade after tuning fork "electric" watches were a new and also pricey trend for those wanting to free themselves of having to wind a watch. Batteries were exciting because they removed the need to constantly wind a watch (automatic movements at first were also uncommon, exotic, and expensive). Most people throughout the 20th century had manually wound watches, and to have a battery that could last for several months seemed like an upgrade from having to remember to wind their watch and the daily "chore" of doing so.

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

Turning fork watches did bring the promise of much improved accuracy, but people were still used to regularly resetting the time to local reference clocks such as those on public streets. It took years for people to both notice and trust their wristwatches as being a good reference time. But they still compared their watches to clocks quite often. Anyhow, after a short period of having turning fork watches, an accuracy- and durability-obsessed public was excited enough about quartz watches that the post World War II Japan saw them as a great thing to mass produce in order to help fund their hungry need to rebuild so much of their society.

With a huge production capacity, Japan and later China would help bring down the cost of the quartz wrist watch to mere dollars. Now anyone could have the near exact time on their wrist plus incredible durability (compared to a mechanical watch) for the same price as a nice dinner. That was the early 1980s, and it didn't have long to last even though during this phase Switzerland did manage to crank out the fashion-friendly Swatch brand around 1985.

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles
Swatch Group Co-Founder, CEO, & Chairman Nicolas Hayek

Swatch would go on to help jump start the modern luxury watch industry that would later grow to acquire the historically significant timekeeper Omega, and the ultra prestigious brand for collectors Breguet. With those two companies and the volume-leader Swatch, I'm pretty sure Nicolas Hayek Sr. was more than happy with his (relatively cheap at the time) brand acquisitions. The deal later spurred the formation of TAG Heuer out of the stopwatch-maker Heuer, and led Rolex to suddenly realize that luxury watches were evolving as a status symbol and start applying their heavy profits once again back into R&D that would result in major improvements to almost all elements of their product.

Invariably, the luxury watch industry was created as a prestigious and artistic expression arm of the mainstream wristwatch market. The former was both funded and made relevant by the latter. In the same way, I believe the smartwatch market - that will replace the mainstream watch market - will create a space for luxury watches.

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

Look at today's "craftsmanship culture," where relatively well-off urbanites like to have "nicer" versions of the types of items everyone uses. Everyone has to wear clothes, so well-off people get noticed if their clothing is a bit better-made or fancier. Many people drive cars and at least most people travel in them regularly. That means a classier more sophisticated (or faster) ride gets noticed on roads. It's positive attention that says someone has had the success to play around. It might not be why people got the fast car. They probably like to drive fast, which is a totally legitimate thing to like. With that said, no matter what your reason for getting a fast car, you still send a message by driving it around, and this kind of communication is an important thing to consider in understanding human behavior.

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

When most people wore watches in the past, it was natural to have a high-end watch culture because watches were a common item. Having a nicer one was a very easy way to communicate to someone that you have earned or inherited your wealth. Now that mainstream culture has, thanks to mobile phones, precipitously found cheaper ways of knowing the time, interest in watches overall, including both low- and high-end items, is lagging.

Today, watches are more or less worn by only three types of people - consider, again, that all types of people use smartphones. These three types of people who tend to wear watches are: first, and most obviously, the people who need them at work, ranging from nurses to Navy SEALs; then, you have collectors like me who are fascinated by ultra well-made timepieces and are willing to pay a premium for carefully made goods; and finally, you have status seekers who use watches as a means of gaining attention or sending a message. It is not often spoken about, but the hands are a part of the body used to convey certain messages and a huge amount of nonverbal communication.

Smartwatches Will Be A Highway To High-End Watches Feature Articles

The implication is that wrists and hands are excellent places to display meaningful objects in order to communicate a message to people around you. Those areas might even get specific attention. Why do you think we wear symbols that we are married on our fingers? The eyes naturally go to people's hands almost immediately after their faces, sometimes before.

Thus, watches are worn as status or lifestyle-indicators, by collectors with sufficient disposable income, and by professionals needing good tools at various budget levels. I think that all changes with smartwatches. That is because the mainstream once again has a reason to wear watches. And that means the status-seeking side of culture will grow as a result, if only because of the increased social attention for watches as a category. Don't forget, as much as some stubborn watch aficionados refuse to call smartwatches "watches," they are still watches as far as we are concerned.

  • radikaz

    These assertions are well stated : “These three types of people who tend to wear watches are: first, and
    most obviously, the people who need them at work, ranging from nurses to
    Navy SEALs; then, you have collectors like me who are fascinated by
    ultra well-made timepieces and are willing to pay a premium for
    carefully made goods; and finally, you have status seekers who use
    watches as a means of gaining attention or sending a message.”

    As more and more smart watches becoming more interactive & possible better battery’s life, i would feel that tradition watches will have room for people who appreciate mechanical watches and people who wants to be known in social status with ultra expensive wrist watch.

    • Marcos Caetano

      military personal wont be able to wear a smartwatch on a mission, it is the same as a smartphone, the device is like a homing beacon which can too easily be detected by enemy combatants, hence why some military groups still use mechanical watches.

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Pardon me for being a bit pedantic, but, you are only ‘essentially’ correct – not completely.
        Most active field personnel wear a quartz (G-Shocks/Timex) watch, not a ‘mechanical’ watch.
        The main reasons (according to my limited survey of such persons)
        1) durability
        2) dependability
        3) price – most are considered “throwaways” – even the most loved G-Shocks
        4) a factor known as “blendability” – High dollar mechanical watches do not “blend in” in 3rd (turd) world countries – where most are operating.

        High dollar mechanical watches are mostly only seen on non-field people who set behind computers filing reports and can be seen at the local hotel bars telling lies about the things they do.

        And yes, the GSM/GPS function on smart phones, and watches now, does work BOTH ways.

    • goju1

      The 3 types of people are not necessarily mutually exclusive – The Navy Seals person might need a (mechanical) tool watch and he might appreciate the artistic and engineering aspects of an exclusive tool watch and he might be a rich narcissist.

    • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      And then their are those of us who just want to KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS !

      • DanW94

        Telling the time!! What the hell does that got to do with anything?? I’ll be way too busy tracking my steps, taking my heart rate every other minute or setting up that damn Mickey Mouse watch face for that…lol

  • Marcos Caetano

    when it reaches the stage that a smartwatch is so essential to everyday life, two things will need to occur, 1) the death of the mobile/smart phone and its services replaced by the watch. 2) a battery strong enough to last more than the 12 hours they currently function in the smartwatch, a more accurate life would be ascertained at a year minimum. the other problem with these devices and hence why they wont be popular in 10 years is wrist cancer or forearm cancer from electromagnetic radiation be emitted from the watch and being deposited into the arm, it is only starting now with smartphones, but the number of cases will rise regarding cancer and connected devices.

  • A_watches

    Just read the first sentence..I disagree. It will be great if smart watches becomes regarded as an alternative to mechanical, cheaper mechanical for me.

    My mate just purchased his first Rolex he had a apple watch before as he said it was more respectable vs fossil Hugo boss watches

  • goju1

    “Don’t forget, as much as some stubborn watch aficionados refuse to call smartwatches “watches,” they are still watches as far as we are concerned.”

    They are little square boxes that can be worn on the wrist (wrist computers) that conveniently tell the time. The buyers of these devices know that they are buying a computer and if they already have a computing device in their pockets then their desire to own another (smaller) one won’t necessarily be that strong. The wrist computer can monitor the body but if that’s a prime reason for buying one then the buyer is more interested in his/her health than telling the time.

    Perhaps AA thinks of wrist computers as watches but that might a reticence or recalcitrance to see things as they are?

    • IanE

      As I’ve commented before, it is just semantics and doesn’t matter that much, but, if these things are watches, then my car, my cooker, my laptop and my TV are clocks – they sit there and tell the time.

      • goju1

        No, it’s not (just) semantics. It’s about the reason you purchase the object – the object’s real function-set and the object’s value to the owner. In fact you illustrate the point when you mention all of those (other) things, which are neither watches nor computers.

        • Julian Chan

          So if I buy a watch to look good or as a status symbol it becomes a piece of jewelry instead of a watch?-_-

        • IanE

          I mean whether or not you call it a watch is just semantics – that is the definition (essentially) of semantics. I’m basically agreeing with your points in the original post.

  • ??????
    • word-merchant

      Which B&R is this?

      • ??????

        Bell & Ross? 🙂

  • goju1

    Some questions:
    1. How strong will the vintage market be for wrist computers?
    2. Will the ‘collectors’ of wrist computers gather on forums (in significant numbers) and discuss the merits of the variations of case and strap.
    3. Will each new (annual) release of a new model wrist computer be as significant as the release of new watch calibre?
    4. How many of the original iPhone are in circulation?
    5. Will a collector of wrist computers get a good price on a model that does not operate with the latest software release? How many people want old electronic gadgets?
    6. Even if they make precious metal cases (or use other exotic materials) for wrist computers, can the manufacturers be in the same league as the manufacturers of fine wristwatches?

    • Pierre Savard

      I think everyone knows the answer to those questions. Just like people don’t collect Toyota Corollas from the 80s… Car collectors don’t collect ordinary mass-produced cars. They collect “special cars”. These watches are tools, very often useful tools, not “Objets d’Art” like a high-end mechanical watch.

      • IG

        Although early quartzes like the Omega Marine Chronometer are collector items today.

    • I think it’s worth remembering that we’re effectively still in the 18th century equivalent when it comes to computers. They’ve barely been around in common use for a few decades. Even watches from the 1930s are the result of over a century of progress in mechanical timekeeping; computers have had nowhere near that amount of time to settle in to society. We’re still very early on in the computer/internet revolution.

  • Bill W

    The difference being that everyone needs to wear clothes and a lot of people need to own cars. Watches, including smartwatches, aren’t things that many of us need nowadays. So I find it presumptuous to say that we’ll all need smartwatches in the future when we don’t need them now. Unless you have some foreknowledge of the ways that smartwatch tech or humanity/society at large will evolve. I could see health monitoring being a thing but even then we could just not wear smartwatches and go to our doctors, as normal. Not a need. Maybe there’ll be some kind of government tax credit for buying a smartwatch to encourage wellness and discourage costly doctor visits? Do you see what I mean? These predictions may turn out to be correct but I think we’re jumping a little too far ahead. But I do agree that some lower-end brands may get toasted.

    • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      Interesting you should mention “Health” issues.
      I am in an ongoing discussion with my primary Physician ( Who is also a kind of ‘watch guy’) about some of the smart phone apps that monitor and can report certain ‘health issues’ to a computer.
      I’m telling him that all those people in the waiting room could be sending their blood pressure, heart-rate, etc. to his computer while they are playing the damn games on thier smart phones waiting to see him.

      It’s slow progress.

  • Gokart Mozart

    A lot of people who do not wear watches either, quartz or mechanical have no reason to . because they have a “pocket watch” already on there person in the form of a phone.

    Many people will not want a smart”watch” because the pocket watch does everything and more than the piece on your wrist. Think of it as a grand complication next to your package as opposed to a complicated piece on your wrist. Maybe if they are lifestyle conscious they will just go for something like a fit bit.

    Others will want to wear both at the same time because of the coolness factor or to be seen as modern and up to date.

    Until the smart”watch” can replace the phone it will not become indispensible. I dont see it happening soon for 3 reasons, screen size, camera and battery life. As far as i am aware there are no double barrel batteries yet.

    If you have no interest in mechanical watches i do not see how having an Iwatch or a samsung gear etc will make you want to buy a rolex or a VC or even a Hamilton. The fact there is no gold i watch 2 says it all.

    I will stick to the pocket grand complication and an obsolete 3 hander on my wrist.

  • “Today, watches are more or less worn by only three types of people – consider, again, that all types of people use smartphones.”

    That seems to imply that “all people” will wear a smart watch, just because “all people” use a phone. While Apple and its shareholders might wish that to be true, without pairing with a phone, a smartwatch is currently limited in functionality. Until the technology reaches the point where the watch IS the phone, smartwatches remain toys and novelties for people who wish to make the statement, “Gaze in awe upon my disposable income!”

    Of course, you could make the argument that anyone wearing a gold Submariner is making the exact same statement.

    • Julian Chan

      I doubt smartwatches are expensive enough to say take a look at my disposable income, considering how every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there has one.

      • Marcos Caetano

        they are disposable to the point, where you have to buy one every year or two, to the tune of $350-600.

    • Marcos Caetano

      except apple don’t control the smartwatch market, in the last financial year there were 100 million units of smartwatches sold and out of that apple only sold 15 million units, apple care about the market but not to the degree people conceive, the smartwatch is apples least profitable product; whilst if they raise the wholesale and retail price, the watch as a unit will be more profitable, however doing so would drop their sales incrementally based on the price increase, their analysts have probably worked out the most profitable vs sales numbers break even point, which is the current market point.

  • Julian Chan

    I find it interesting that some people refuse to call a smart watch a watch. Its primary function is to tell the time, therefore it is a watch. Next thing they’ll be saying is that a smartphone is not a phone just because it can do more than make a call. Or a smart tv is not a tv. You could pretty much then say that high end watches are not actually watches because they are meant to look good, therefore it should be termed jewelry instead.
    What a load of rubbish.

    • Is the primary function of a smartphone that of making a phone call? I believe the primary function of such a device is internet connectivity.

      • Julian Chan

        I believe that is a tablet you are talking about. Or a notebook. Because those don’t make calls.

        • I can make phone calls from both my tablet and my laptop via Skype and the like. The fact that something CAN make a phone call doesn’t make it a phone, just like something that CAN tell the time doesn’t make it a watch.

          • Julian Chan

            That is an internet call, not a phone call. Without an internet connection you can’t achieve that. A smartphone can be disconnected from the internet and still make calls.

          • Kind of a semantical argument. If I use my tablet – which has an LTE cellular connection- to connect to someone else’s LTE tablet, and we have a chat, that’s not a “call”? I could say that unless you’re using a landline to connect to a PSTN trunk system, then you’re not making a “phone” call either.

          • Julian Chan

            Funny how you should say that is semantics when you are one of those who bring up the argument that a smartwatch isn’t a watch which is PURE semantics.
            And btw, i didn’t say that isn’t a “call”, I merely pointed out that that isn’t a “phone call”.

          • A conversation on a cellular device isn’t a “phone call” either, strictly speaking. It’s a “radio call”. It functions in a completely different fashion than a telephone.

            A smartwatch isn’t a “watch” . Consider Aurelius and First principles: “What is this, fundamentally? What is its nature and substance, its reason for being?”

            The reason a smartwatch exists is to provide connectivity and multiple functions, akin to those found on handheld computing devices. Telling the time is secondary. The fact that you wear it on your wrist is also secondary, as that is not the definition of a “watch” either; my dive computer is worn on my wrist – its primary function is not to tell the time, although it does. Ditto for Fitbits and other fitness trackers. Would you call a Fitbit a “watch”?

          • Julian Chan

            A fitbit is meant to be a health tracking device. It just happens to tell the time. They didn’t call the swiss army knife a clock just because it had a clock on it.
            According to your definition, almost everything in this current world is a misnomer. A fridge with a few buttons and a screen on it that can be controlled by a phone isn’t a fridge anymore because it is a connected “computer-food-refridgeration device”. A car with bluetooth and a gps map isn’t just a car anymore, it is a computer that just happens to have 4 wheels which can get you from A to B. A skin moisturiser that has mango smell isn’t truly a moisturiser anymore because it is a perfume that happens to moisturise your skin. Chocolate with nuts in them shouldn’t be called chocolate because it has nuts in them, should they be called choconuts?
            You aren’t in school anymore, so just call it it as it is. A damn device on your wrist that tells the time is a watch. A phone that makes calls is called a phone. I guess the whole world is wrong and only you and a select few are right then? -_-

          • All of your examples are those with the exact OPPOSITE properties to the argument you’re making. A bluetooth connected car is STILL a car, despite the fact that it has bluetooth and a GPS. Just like a smart watch is STILL a connected device despite the fact that it tells the time.

            The primary function of a car is transportation. The primary function of a Fitbit is to provide fitness tracking. The primary function of a connected device worn on the wrist is to provide connectivity.

            Argumentum ad populum – just because a large segment of the population is wrong, doesn’t mean I should be too.

          • Julian Chan

            Just as the primary function of a smart watch is to tell the time in addition to its connectivity, it is hence first and foremost, a watch. You even said it yourself. A pointless argument you are making really.

          • Julian Chan

            By the way, you are forgetting something..The creators of this watch called it a watch. So it is simply, first and foremost, a watch. It doesn’t really matter that you are arguing for the sake of arguing anymore because a watch was what the creators set out to make it. If they wanted to make it a wrist computer or wrist tablet, they would have coined it thus, but they haven’t. So I guess that makes you part of the small population that is wrong after all 🙂

          • Man, you’re thick. A name does not determine the function – is an iPod a pod of some sort? Is the MacBook a book? Is a Kindle used to set small fires? Apple did not set out to make a watch. They set out to make a connected device worn on the wrist that is to be used in conjunction with an iPhone. You really think Apple designers agonized for years on how best to construct a digital watch and then at the last moment said, “hey wouldn’t it be neato if it also had some functions similar to the two products that make up the vast majority of our revenue stream”?

          • Marcos Caetano

            a smart watch, is a connected device, which is designed to look like a watch and provide an application which delivers the time, so in a sense can be a watch, just like a battery powered watch is a watch, however the smartphone like the smartwatch is primarily used for other applications, rather than the namesake of a watch or a phone which is the primary objective. the above argument between you two is beyond the point babyish, everyone is entitled to their opinion, you like smartwatches and valannin likes mechanical, who is right is a matter of opinion, however it is becoming pettish and should stop, the only point i have to make is, you should be wary of smartwatches, just like any modern technology, releases electromagnetic radiation, however compared to other devices the radiation is in direct contact with your skin.

          • Julian Chan

            I own a Rolex, an omega, a couple of seikos and a jlc at the moment, don’t even own a smartwatch. I simply find Valannin’s opinion, an argument made for the sake of arguing that’s all.

        • “I believe that is a tablet you are talking about. Or a notebook. Because those don’t make calls.”

          The Valannin is correct, the primary function of a smartphone is no longer to make phone calls. Most of the time spent on those devices is with email, a web browser, taking photos or playing games.

          The point is, “phone” without any prefix means “smartphone” now, especially to young people. Any other time of phone needs explicitly identifying – “dumbphone” et al.

          Same with “watch”. We’re not there yet, but it’s not hard to imagine a future where “watch” means “computing device worn on the wrist”, and what we think of as watches need clarifications like “dumbwatch”.

        • mtnsicl

          That’s weird, mine does!

          • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

            My tablet is wi-fi only.

            No telephone function. That is the model I ordered. Other models, of the same tablet offer ‘smart-phone’ connectivity and capability.
            SM-T800 Samsung. A great thing.

  • Itai

    I have a lot of mechanical watches including Vacheron, Rolex, JLC, Omega and Seiko, but for the last 3 weeks I just can’t take the Apple Watch series 2 off my wrist. And if it happened to me non watch guys will “fall” much faster.

  • DanW94

    Perhaps someone forgot to tell Michael Kors, Fossil, Nixon, Bulova, Citizen, Armitron and every other 500.00 and lower priced mall brand offering buyers a dizzying array of choices and fashion styles that the end is near and the smartwatch will soon reign supreme because they’re not “luxury” enough. Sometimes people (young and old alike) just want an affordable watch that tells the time and coordinates with their outfit. I don’t see that well drying up anytime soon.

    • IG

      Except when all these mall brands will sell cheap Android smartwatches.

  • Concerned1

    I’m finding it interesting to watch the very early stages of smart watches unfold. I work in an industry that tends to favor luxury watches. There was a time, not so long ago, that nearly every person wore a watch, and the majority of them were Rolex, Omega, Tag, etc. About two years ago, it seemed to me that about half of the people wore a watch. The other half relied on their phone. I even fell into this group for several years.

    When the Apple watch came out, I started to slowly notice a shift. Many of the people who never wore a watch, started wearing the Apple watch. However, some people who wore a luxury watch switched to the Apple watch. That said, the net amount of people waring a watch increased.

    It’s still too early, and smart watches have a LONG way to go. However, I definitely feel that the watch industry needs a reset, in both volume and pricing. Phones started it, and smart watches will finish it. It won’t be as drastic as the quartz crisis, but these companies need to pay attention. The reason the quartz crisis was so bad was because companies didn’t believe it to be a threat. They need to stay ahead of this one…

    • Ariel Adams

      I was recently at a very well manicured vintage and rare high-end watch store in Berlin. Privately owned it was manned by the two proprietors. The more conservative of the two (likely in his early 40s) came out from the back to measure up the new potential customer. On one wrist was a vintage Rolex that most people on this thread would undoubtedly fawn over, on the other was an Apple Watch. I asked him about that and he said “one wrist is in the past and the other is in the future.”

      I see and experience stuff like this all the time – which is one reason why I discuss smartwatches as often as I do. I am reporting on what I see and experience – not just what ideas that come to mind. I travel around doing “watch stuff” more than the vast majority of people reading the site so I have a special perspective that goes beyond my mere inclinations and theories. None of us knows what will happen in the next few years, but I can say with absolute certainly that because of smartwatches so much more traditional media that never covered or payed attention to traditional mechanical watches now is.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        The man you encountered had no love of horology.

        • Ariel Adams

          I am pretty sure his choice of career would negate that assertion.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Is it possible to have a love of a mechanical self sustaining unit to suddenly be blinded the latest tech ? I can’t get my head round that.

          • Ariel Adams

            Well I love mechanical watches and the latest tech so I posit that it can be done. For me, it is all about segmenting your passions in the right way so that when you see something new you understand how to best evaluate it. No smartwatch is going to trigger the same pleasure centers in the brain as traditional mechanical watches, and vice versa. For me it is all about understanding how to appreciate distinct yet related things independently from one another.

          • Berndt Norten

            Dylan was great pre Newport/electric and post electric conversion too.

          • “blinded the latest tech”

            This is your issue. You can’t understand that some people do actually find smartwatches to be useful and practical things. They are not “blinded” by the technology, they just see the value in it.

            Honestly I’d say you are blinded by your loathing for the things.

        • Berndt Norten

          I recommend a classic eighteenth century text: The Horology-Monger’s Guide to London

      • radikaz

        Finally i knew i wasn’t alone wearing two watches on each wrists! 😛

  • Marius

    Thai Airways TG-473 from Bangkok to Brisbane makes emergency landing in Denpasar, Indonesia. Serious engine problems force 2 year old Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner to deviate to Indonesia for an emergency landing.

    International YouTube celebrity, ArchieLuxury, was involved in an emergency landing at Denpasar International Airport, Indonesia on October 10, 2016.

    Paul Pluta, the method actor who plays ArchieLuxury on the 30 million + view YouTube cannel, The ArchieLuxury Channel, left Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand at 3:00am. This was 3 hours later than the scheduled flight. The delay was reportedly caused by a faulty oil sensor on Thai Airways flight TG-473. The aircraft was a 2 year old Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner. The flight was a direct flight from Bangkok to Brisbane.

    During the flight Paul Pluta noticed the sun was on the wrong side of the aircraft. Paul had taken this flight over 20 times over the past 2 years for his famous videos about Thailand for the ArchieLuxury channel on YouTube. On further investigation Paul noticed the flight path information was set for a landing in Indonesia. Paul contacted cabin staff but was not informed about the situation until a cabin announcement was made 1 hour, 30 minutes before the emergence landing. After making the observation the flight information stopped being available to Paul Pluta for unknown reasons. Prior to the landing excess aviation fuel was ejected via the wings.

    The landing was very hard and the plane came to an emergency stop.
    Subsequent investigation revealed the right hand engine had an oil pressure issue.

    Paul Pluta later discussed the matter with the Thai Airways captain and flight officers. Mr Pluta conveyed his disgust and disdain for the captain’s flying choices.

    Paul Pluta was later put onto a Virgin Australia flight back to Brisbane.

    • AC3

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      This is a remarkable story! At least we got some use out of this article.

    • Bill W

      I’m pretty sure that ArchieLuxury is a secret agent and he assassinated the King of Thailand. The dates don’t quite match up but I’m convinced he did it.

    • IG

      Archie Luxury should have kicked out the useless pilot from the cockpit, taken over the plane and landed it in Brisbane, while sipping whiskey and having sex with a couple of stewardesses.

  • Luciano

    Smartphone cameras are also driving a lot of digital SLR sales… not!

  • Totally wrong , smartwatchs are just a fashion thing. In 2 years nobody care

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      The people who bought the first ones will care! The people who bought the first ones and then bought the next ones because their first ones were obsolete will care even more! And those who bought…

  • Razzcal

    “Smartwatches may eventually prove necessary to the extent that taking
    them off for even a few hours while in public is not a good idea.” Really? Even smarphones haven’t yet become that necessary to our everyday life, and a smartwatch is merely an (unnecessary, albeit under some circumstances and/or for some people useful) extension of a smarphone. I, for one, despite being a tech nerd have yet to come up with a single reason why I would want to wear a smartwatch, even though I rarely leave the house, even for a little while, without my phone.

    • Ariel Adams

      Give it a few years to see what they evolve into.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        They will evolve into the iwatch 20 with retinal scan and maybe a James Bond type gadget on it to get holographic messages !……………………….can’t wait.

      • Itai

        Bill Gates once said that the Iphone 1 is a useless machine. un fortunately in a few years everybody will have a smart watch.

    • KERR

      In future we may have batteries that last a lot longer for smart watches. Maybe some more health sensors could be a good use of a smart watch. Accurate calorie counting, heart rate stats for nerds etc. Early days yet

  • SuperStrapper

    I don’t see how these things can actually be predicted with any real accuracy.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    More articles on smartwatches!

  • Marius

    Tap water will be a highway to Château Pétrus.

    The Trabant, Lada Niva, Yugo and Moskvitch 2141 “Aleko” will be a highway to Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

    English cuisine will be a highway to French cuisine.

    Chinese-made suits will be a highway to Savile Row.

    The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam will be a highway to the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo.

    And

    ABTW is a highway to Hodinkee and Monochrome.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      WHOA — you put Monochrome on the same level as Hodinkee? Monochrome is staffed by subhuman rat-things who scurry around some basement next to the complete authority and royal status of Hodinkee.

    • Ariel Adams

      Now those allusions are a bit of a stretch and the context of each is not the same as the instant topic.

    • Berndt Norten

      Your comments about English and French cuisine might be 20 years out of date. French cuisine is in decline. The future’s in Spain (San Seb in particular), London, Tokyo and Toronto. Paris is always worth it but the feast has moved on…

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What people have so far have failed to mention is our basic love of horology. If am lucky enough to buy myself a quality mechanical watch i would want to look after it as if it were an extension of myself. Listen to the ticking of it’s heart, being mesmerized by the workings of the movement. Something to love, look after and cherish. This ” thing ” evokes none of these emotions.

  • David Williams

    I offer the following often-helpful comparison – call it an old canard if you wish! – which may or may not resolve the fiercely contested issue of whether a wrist-worn, time-measuring instrument is a watch or not –

    “If it swims like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck!”

    • Raymond Wilkie

      In this instance David, it does not help. I find as much sense in the statement you used to try and settle the difference between this item and a timepiece than the argument itself.

      • David Williams

        I am honored to join the select band of ABTW readers who have earned one of Raymond’s rebukes! 🙂

  • Dave Pryor

    Several problems with Smartwatches:

    One, battery life is way too short.

    Two, they’re tethered to their paired device.

    Three, there’s no “killer APP” that makes them a necessity as yet.

    But face it people. Your luxo watches are sold in jewelry stores. So, they’re also beyond the strict watch category and represent jewelry. Mostly for men.

    I don’t think Rolex et al. Are too worried. Rich people want to always show off.

    • KERR

      Agree with your points, could be like the ipad though – remember when that came out and nobody really had a use for it? But now everyone has tablets, even laptops are turning into tablets. Early days yet, but yes give me a real watch any day.

  • So, smartwatches (and mechs, it’s implied) will render any watch under 1k pointless? Yeah, right, in your little bubble maybe. Perhaps 10% of the people I know have an over 1k watch; everybody else has a “pointless” one, and in case of the teenagers only the women have watches.

    Smartwatches are/will pave the road for expensive mechs… What? That doesn’t even make any sense.

    Smartwatches will evolve, obviously, but I really think that until they come up with some kind of holographic display, they won’t get much farther than they’re now: basically a notifier of what your phone just received. That’s just because the physical limit on a really small screen, there’s no way around that.

  • Berndt Norten

    No stop signs, speeding limits….

    • DanW94

      Nobody’s gonna slow me down – I’m on the highway to horology…

      • Berndt Norten

        U b on Route
        AC3?

        • Bill W

          Next exit: Bangers, f#ckers!

  • And as smartwatches evolve (read get more compelling to own), the functionality gap will be wide enough to make a mechanical watch seem so irrelevant, that the satisfied smart watch owner a few years down the road would likely never consider one. Especially when asked to pay a lot more for the luxury of having / doing less with one.

    Imagine that a market for hand crafted / decorated, call-only, corded land line phones once existed, who would buy them today? I imagine the last buggy whip manufacturer was likely the finest one. Still the last one, however.

    • Marcos Caetano

      its more like comparing a painting (mechanical/auto) to a photo (quartz) and a digital photo frame(connected), everyone still buys paintings, when a photo can produce a far more realistic version of a scene or portrait, whilst a digital frame can house a few, except paintings are more prevalent as a decoration in the house, wonder why? because art is a artisan craft of grandeur; and the same can be said about traditional mechanical watches, they are a specialized craft which requires skill, juxtaposing a smartwatch which is assembled by computers and is essentially a watch shaped computer.

      • No real argument here. My point being it that in deference to the author’s point-of-view, I feel that for people attracted to smartwatches, they will only become more useful and compelling, not drive them to mechanical watches.

  • Jeff Hutton

    A watch is not a watch if it’s required to be plugged into an A/C supply. It is an electronic device, period… end of!

  • Mark

    Ariel, I hate to say it but I agree with you. When the smart watch revolution is done, the only brands that will be left will be Rolex and any others that have garnered such as a status symbol. That means the mid and lower range mechanical watches will become extinct. So that means the price for entry will be so extreme that newer collectors will be fewer and fewer. Swatch did save Omega and Breguet. But in this revolution, there won’t be anything to save Swatch, thus Omega and Breguet will be gone as well. I agree in the end, smart watches may pave the way to new collectors. But what few brands will be left to collect? This is what I feel is the biggest shame for us collectors now. We will live to see the demise of good brands that make great watches, insert your favorite mid to low cost brand here, and will only be able to remember when and cherish what we do have in our collections.

  • ??????

    I don’t want to get just another phone – bad phone, actually! – on my wrist. Small screen: why read data from 0.5″ screen, when I have 5.0″? Just to loose eyesight. And we should call a device which needs to be connected to A/C a watch. I put my watch on every day for a year now and it didn’t stop. From the craftsmanship point of view – smartwatches are garbage. We can consider them art, just a pile of plastic. Even my $250 Orient Star will give a run in decoration to literally any smartwatch at same, 2x or any price.

    To sum up – the problem lies deeper than Ariel might believe: current smartwatches are wrong just by ideas incorporated. Dublicates of phones, but with tiny screens and always looking for a cord.

  • Der0

    Great article and thank you for the thoughtfulness delivered into it.

    I suspect that the idea of a smart watch will change over the course of time and the wrist item falling back towards a monitor and notifier rather than it be a big mish-mash of try to do everything on a tiny screen device.

    Something more akin to the size/shape of the FitBit or Microsoft Band. This will then allow current watch manufacturers to deliver something like what we’re seeing with the MontBlanc strap attachment so we can enjoy both aspects of the bit of art on the wrist and have it be giving us some technology to boot.

  • RazorSky

    I wore watches in high school (Fossil/Relic) in the mid 2000’s and like many people I quit wearing them after getting a cell phone. I also broke a few at work.
    Anyhow I picked up a Pebble and it was fun but I was bothered by it dropping connectivity often.
    Sometime after that I bought a Moto 360 for cheapish. It was cool but Gen 1 moto 360 was garbage.
    I got to liking to wear a time piece on my wrist so I then got a nice Timex Expedition chronograph. and then Automatic Seiko and Orient.
    Long story short the smart watches started me down the rabbit hole to hopefully getting something Swiss someday soon!

  • Chris Johnson

    Pretty nice article 🙂 It is possible that smartwatches will replace most watches that are used as tools ( time/ sensors ) and then more. Apple is already covering quite a large price range by using different materials for watch and bracelet, and is just the beginning. In fact the smartwatches are much more expensive than they appear to be, because of the planned obsolescence. An energy-harversting system – like the one used in automatic watches, but not necessary the same – would be nice to have and I’m sure it will be there in the future.

  • cg

    absolutely disagree with the title statement. Electronic watch modifications to a mechanical watch will eventually overwhelm the mechanized side. Electronics have a DNA content that is continually evolving to new concepts and methods. Mechanical watches, not so much.

    • Marcos Caetano

      check out the parmigiani fleur concept, the new silicon conductor is a breakthrough, the watch is absolutely thin and has a 75 day power reserve, whilst running close to 95000 vpm. there is your innovation. mechanical watches will evolve out of necessity in order to compete with newer technologies, the main focal point of a watch is to tell the time, not read emails, furthermore the focal point since smart phones made watch timekeeping obsolete, is an ornation of the arm, or a piece of jewellery.

  • WolverBilly

    3 types of people wear watches? The problem is, when you make a sweeping generalization like this (and don’t seem to realize the overwhelming number of people that wear a watch do so to tell the time, and it’s as much a part of them as wearing shoes) you show what a weird little techie internet existance you live in. More and more people have to spend their working time staring at a computer screen, and are starting to get really sick of it. Smart watches are for those of opposite temperament who think they MUST remained connected, even though they have to have their phone, too, for true functionality. They are just little screens to assure you that your virtual internet world is not just cIose by, it’s strapped to your body (until your implant is ready, of course). I feel sorry for you, truly, to be around so many fine timepieces and clearly not understand the things, or especially, why normal non-WIS types wear them.

  • beardedman

    You know, this is all so completely not new. I witnessed this kind of thinking while watching the movie industry convulse over switching from film to digital. All the old arguments I heard there are the same here. It’s not the same, it can never be what film (a mechanical watch) is, it can never have the soul of film (a mechanical watch). The one I enjoyed most was that nothing can present the directors vision like film… as if automated reel tables full of scratched up film offer anything over pristine digital files. And if you’ve seen the movie, The Revenant, you’ve seen what digital can do that film can’t. According to Variety, “Originally, [cinematographer] Lubezki had planned to shoot the picture on film, but after some tests, he soon realized the format wasn’t up to the task. ‘It didn’t have the sensitivity to capture the scenes we were trying to shoot, especially the things we shot at dawn and dusk,’ he says. Instead, the d.p. used the Arri Alexa 65 digital camera with lenses from 12mm to 21mm.”

    Granted, early digital had a lot of growing to do. Likewise, today’s smart watches are just getting started and are going to need a lot of growing. But like early days of digital movies, people assume that this upstart is all the process will ever have to offer. Wrong! You are already able to do things with a smart watch than can’t be done with a mechanical watch, and that capability will grow. Big deal, you say. True, for now.

    But mostly I disagree with Ariel in a broad sense because people who will find a smart watch useful are different from people who get something from a mechanical watch. You don’t buy a multi-thousand dollar luxury watch for any practical reason. And people who want and can use a smart watch will always be able to buy a nicer one than the Joneses while still staying with a smart watch instead of moving to a mechanical marvel.

    Yes, some people still do flock to vinyl record stores and listen to analog dual-mono amplified LPs. Yes, some directors still want to shoot in 35 or 70mm film. Most people today can’t see/hear the difference and the physical media limits what you can do with it. Watches will be the same, my friends. It will just take longer. The good news for me is that the prices of mechanical watches will (hopefully) fall as a result and I can add to my collection more easily.

  • Kyle Brabender

    I grew up wearing timex digital watches as a kid. Then I moved on to smartwatches when the pebble and android wear watches arrived. I loved setting my android wear watch faces to ones that looked like omega, rolex and cartier dials. I loved that so much that I began purchasing mechanical watches this year. Maybe I ran this in reverse or perhaps others will journey over from smartwatches as well. Now I wear my mechanical pieces every day while my smartwatches gather dust.

  • Smartwatches are going to put “the wrist” back on the map for millions of people, which is good. They will also act as an irrigation agent to wash away many brands that have not bolstered their business, and that is also a good thing.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Tis article is excellent, it shows also an important point about the current swiss watch industry: The Swiss managed to get more than 50% of the revenue with a market share of 2%. Switzerland lost the war over the wrist but won the money. But they`ve lost relevance. Now, when the money has gone, they struggle to fight the wristbattle. Do Smartwatches really lead to increase the sale of traditional watches? I don`t think so. From my experience, a guy that had a G-Shock for a long time doesn`t replace his $200 Casio with an mechanical watch which performs much worser and costs ten times more. This happens rarely, but sometimes. Whishfull thinking.

  • Rano

    Mechanical watches have proved, over the last half century, that it will take more than simply being more “usefull” than them to kill them, even in a shared price bracket. Every “killer” argument smartwatch fans are making today, quartz fans were making 40 years ago. The adjustment to the smartwatch threat has actually been made by the industry decades before smartwatches came close to being a reality.

    Also, smartwatches are simply not the revolution that smartphones were, precisely because the smartphone has already been there and done that. We can already carry “the world of digital connection and convenience” on us at will. The ability to move it to a degree from our pocket to our wrist is at best an incremental improvement depending on one’s wearing preferences.

  • Marcos Caetano

    why buy a watch shaped computer, when you can buy a phone shaped computer, or a pair of glasses shaped computer, the list goes on, how many devices do people need which provide the same functions, desktops, tablets, laptops, smart tvs, its becoming ridiculous, is there no innovation in product development that everything will provide the same functionality in different shapes and forms, if so there goes society.

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