Opinion – Apple changing more than just the face of the watch industry ?


For anyone walking the opulent halls of  Baselworld earlier this year, the thought may have occurred (as it did to me) that there was a very large elephant not in any of the watch – rich halls. Yes there was Rolex, TAG Heuer, Michael Kors, Swatch and every other major watch brand on display; but no Apple.

While that may not be overly surprising – Apple rarely venture beyond their campus at Cupertino to display their wares – it is certainly significant. On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that the Apple Watch is now the number one watch in the world. No verification of course, as Apple does not provide detailed sales figures for its smartwatches, but it claims that the “Other Sales” budget line (of which Watch is a part) delivered sales of $2.7 billion, a rise of 23% over the same quarter a year ago. The Watch range itself has increased sales by more than 50%, according to Cook.

That, he reckons, puts them ahead of Rolex, TAG, and any other luxury maker.

Why is that significant ? Because Apple have, (caveat: if its true) in a little over two years, achieved a dominant market share ahead of companies that have been in existence for over a century. And the new Watch 3, with its GPS and cellular options, threatens to disrupt the horology gentleman’s club even further. At present, the vast majority of the lux brands watch offerings are simple Android clones, offering low functionality with a high cost attached.

There are, of course, a number of obstacles that Watch 3 has to overcome – not least the ongoing question of battery life – but for users, it already offers a significant difference to the competition.