The Apple Watch caught the industry by surprise, forcing everyone to pay attention.
Two main reasons: sales and style.
Numbers don’t lie: in 2019, Apple single-handedly outsold the entire Swiss watch industry, selling 30 million units compared to the 21.1 million sold by all Swiss watch brands combined.
This happened primarily because legacy watch brands routinely fail to entice millennials and Gen Zs by relying on marketing tools and pricing strategies that automatically alienate buyers in their 20s and 30s.
Things are getting better, but traditional watch makers are still shunning social media and focusing on dying platforms, and they’re still speaking a language that buyers can’t understand because the average Joe couldn’t care less about “balance wheels”, “deployant” and “calibers”.
They just want something that looks cool and is practical.
“You’re not married to your strap”, this is one of the industry’s mantras, and it means that you can completely change the personality of your watch with different bands and bracelets: you can look down on your wrist and think, “wow, I’ve got a cool watch again” just by using a different strap.
And yet it’s astonishing to think that Apple – a tech company – successfully managed to pass this massage on to customers when watch makers couldn’t, in fact they barely even tried.
And more importantly, Apple managed to convince a significant number of people that wearing an item that tells time on your wrist can still be fun and useful in the modern world.
And this is a lesson that watch brands, especially in the affordable end of the market, should treasure.