For people who love mechanical watches, the Apple Watch is both unimportant and important. It’s unimportant because what it offers really is totally different from the pleasure you get from a great tool watch with an amazing history, like the Sub or the Speedmaster, or the connection you get to a fusion of aesthetics, mechanics, and craftsmanship from something like a Patek or Lange. But that’s also why it’s important. And it’s also why, even for luxury watchmaking, it is a little dangerous. Apple’s actually succeeded in doing with the Apple Watch what they did with the iPhone: inventing a new experience. Whether that experience is one ultimately more compelling than the one offered by mechanical watches, nobody knows. What I don’t think the luxury watch world can afford is complacency. If it fails to realize that what the Apple Watch actually offers is not competition, but a convincing alternative experience – and if it doesn’t take the hint that luxury is ultimately about attention to detail, not marketing or price point – it could be in serious trouble.
Two weeks ago we had a tech guy raving about mechanical watches after his Watch experience. Last week, Jack Forster, a mechanical watch enthusiast was raving about the Watch and the impact that it should have on the mechanical market. Interesting article coming from a watch guy.