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Thread: What’s the future of watches?

  1. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Saudi Arabia
    Quote Originally Posted by Danstone View Post
    Interesting thread. I might be alone but I can see the end of mechanical watches market, at least as we currently know it, coming very soon and even the likes of the mighty Rolex being consigned to the history books by the end of my lifetime. The reason being that the younger generation just don’t wear them in anywhere near the numbers required. And it’s not that a great many are wearing smart watches either, they just don’t need a watch as their phones are in their hands at all times. I remember discussing watches with a group of new graduates years ago and them telling me that watches weren’t needed anymore and me thinking they’ll grow out of it. Those graduates are in their thirties now and still, those that I still know, do not wear watches.
    The lesser mass-production brands will be the first to go and the bigger brands will continue to do what they are doing now, increasing the prices, artificially creating demand and spending millions to put their products on the wrists of influencers to maintain the perception of them being luxury items as long as they can. These brands will be ok so long as the current 40+ year olds are buying but they’ll struggle once we bow out of this game and their market becomes much smaller and much more at risk of being wiped out by said influencers overnight. I certainly don’t see a huge number of collectors coming in the next generation and, whilst there may be the odd straggler or the occasional revival, it won’t be enough to maintain any of the current mass producers as viable businesses.
    I agree with what you say somewhat but don’t believe we will see the end of Rolex. The stragglers will be our children who have grown up around watches like many of us did so with our parents.
    These will be the generation that will enjoy the benefits of can I say better prices as manufactures all compete and would drive prices down or offer significant discounts.
    The likes of ALS, Vacheron, AP and PP, will I believe struggle to maintain sales seen previously and in the next 10 years waiting lists will be a thing of the past as we bow out and the next generation pick up the baton. This will be as mentioned in previous post a smaller breed of WIS and hit the mechanical market as you say.

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I’m in two minds on this. On the one hand I think it’s a mistake to think the roughly 30 year revival of mechanical watches will continue. Think what happened to pocket watches once lifestyles and technology changed. I think I’m at the younger end of members here and many of my friends don’t wear a watch and have no interest in spending decent money on one. The ever increasing prices for both watches and servicing is also limiting the market.

    On the other hand, there is more and more buzz around watches on social media. I see some people of my age getting into watches once their incomes increase. So I can see it remaining as a hobby. Maybe one parallel is hifis. There used to be hifis available at every price point. Now most people use phones, Spotify etc but there is an active, but smaller, enthusiast market.

  3. #53
    Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Surrey, UK. Odiáxere or somewhere in-between
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by momentum View Post
    ... I see some [young] people of my age getting into watches once their incomes increase. So I can see it remaining as a hobby. Maybe one parallel is hifis. There used to be hifis available at every price point. Now most people use phones, Spotify etc but there is an active, but smaller, enthusiast market.
    Interesting viewpoint. I guess we need to remember that being a watch forum member puts us in a tiny minority to start with, compared to the general population. The watch buying demographic is presumably under scrutiny by the large marketing departments of the various brands. I only just received a push email from AP and collaboration with music artists.

    Comparison to hifi is spot.

  4. #54
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by ktmog6uk View Post
    I don’t know anyone under 25 that wears anything other than a smart watch. That’s the future right there.
    Will be interesting to see whether they're still wearing them when they're 40 or 50, though.

    You might be right, but it might be an age demographic thing.

    I don't think many people under 30 ever had a big interest in watches - Sure you needed one, but you never thought about the brand beyond it being one with a reputation for reliability.

    Breitling Cosmonaute 809 - What's not to like?

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    The functionality issue is missing the point though, the cheapest digital Casio has beaten any mechanical watch for the last 30-40 years. From this lens, its not plausible that Patek can charge £18,950 for just a manual wind time only, then £29,150 just to add a date, make it annual calendar and that’s £36,430, and don’t even want to adjust it even once a year, well for that privilege a perpetual will be £74,690 please, want a stop watch function on top, let’s make it £135,710 etc

  6. #56
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Malta and sometimes bits of Brit
    Excellent topic for discussion!

    One factor to my mind is that the technology of the automatic watch was pretty much perfected decades ago. I have watches that have passed their 60th birthday but are still perfectly functional as well as aesthetic. A 1960s Rolex is still highly desirable, wearable and usable.

    The same doesn’t go for say a 1990s mobile phone. Years ago I thought about spending out on one of those Vertu phones. I’m glad I didn’t!! That would have been several hundred pounds down the drain on technology that was fit for the bin ages ago. I think there still are “luxury” mobile phones and probably even smartphones. Maybe there is a market for them but it is tiny. But you’ll find Apple devices in the pockets of everyone from bartenders to oligarchs.

    I don’t think high end watches will go anywhere any time soon, any more than other vintage jewellery. Lesser brands will become marginalised unless they really have something special about them- and they will then become the new vintage “costume jewellery”.

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