×
43 125
Fashion Jobs
ATHLETA
New Store - General Manager - Merchant's Walk
Permanent · Marietta
L'OREAL GROUP
Manager Supply Chain Planning
Permanent · Berkeley Heights
L'OREAL GROUP
Kerastase/Shu Uemura - Manager - Business Development (Southern Orange County)
Permanent · Newport Beach
L'OREAL GROUP
Kerastase/Shu Uemura - Manager - Business Development (New Orleans)
Permanent · New Orleans
L'OREAL GROUP
Kerastase/Shu Uemura - Manager - Business Development (Greater Charlotte)
Permanent · Charlotte
CENTRIC BRANDS
Bcbg Sales Manager Twelve Oaks Novi mi
Permanent · Novi
THE REALREAL
Account Luxury Manager
Permanent · Orange
THE REALREAL
Account Luxury Manager
Permanent · Washington
COTY
Manager, Email Marketing
Permanent · New York
OLD NAVY
Assistant General Manager, Merchandising - Coddingtown Mall
Permanent · Santa Rosa
OLD NAVY
General Manager - Stamford
Permanent · Stamford
OLD NAVY
General Manager - Metro Pointe
Permanent · Costa Mesa
OLD NAVY
Assistant General Manager, Merchandising - Albertville
Permanent · Albertville
OLD NAVY
Loss Prevention Agent - Marketplace/River pk
Permanent · Fresno
OLD NAVY
General Manager, Northfield @ Stapleton
Permanent · Denver
OLD NAVY
General Manager - Brandywine Towne Center
Permanent · Wilmington
ROSS STORES
Area Loss Prevention Manager (Alpm)
Permanent · Seattle
ROSS STORES
Strategy Manager
Permanent · Dublin
FOSSIL
Manager/sr. Manager - IT Audit
Permanent · Katy
FOSSIL
Service Delivery Manager - Retail Systems
Permanent · Katy
ANN TAYLOR
Sales Manager
Permanent · Woodbridge Township
ULTA BEAUTY
Retail Sales Manager-Covington Crossing
Permanent · Covington

Connected watches, virtually absent but still creating buzz at Baselworld

By
AFP
Published
today Mar 30, 2014
Reading time
access_time 3 minutes
Share
Download
Download the article
Print
Click here to print
Text size
aA+ aA-

BASEL, Switzerland - Watches that connect to your smartphone or even a satellite to ensure perfect time, regardless of where you are in the world, or alert you if you leave your phone behind?

Sony Smart Watches


Although not on prominent display they were a hot topic of discussion this past week at Baselworld, the world's largest watch and jewellery fair.

The show in the northern Swiss city was yet again dominated by intricate mechanical watches, symbolising centuries of tradition, and jewel-covered timepieces showcasing the luxury and glamour that never seem to go out of fashion.

But there were a few new offerings for the tech-hungry crowd still waiting eagerly for their wristband to catch up with their phone or tablet.

Japan's Casio had two new high-tech models on display both set for release later this year.

Its new Bluetooth controlled Edifice watch connects to smartphones, allowing it to adjust to time changes as smoothly as the device in your back pocket, while its new G-Shock model can synchronise with precise time signals broadcasted by radio stations or satellites.

"We expect huge demand, because people nowadays look for this technology more and more, so we are very confident," Harald Schroeder, head of marketing at Casio Europe, told AFP.

He stressed the popularity of a range of brightly-coloured plastic G-Shock watches already available, which can control your smartphone's alarm and music functions, let you know when your phone is ringing in silent mode and vibrate if you leave your phone behind.

Several other Asian tech giants, including South Korean Samsung, Japan's Sony and China's Huawei, have also unveiled new connected timepieces in recent months.

Swiss watchmakers are following the developments closely, but appear reluctant to move down the same route, sticking instead to the tradition and skilled craftmanship that have won them customers for centuries.

"Technically, there are lots of things that are possible," pointed out Marc Hayek, who heads Swatch Group's luxury watch brands Breguet, Blancpain and Jaquet Droz.

"But it's not just because something is possible that the market will automatically be there," he said, insisting that a watch should not seek to simply emulate the functions already available in phones and other wireless devices.

"If it's less comfortable to use ... (and) if it's the same function, I think it will only mean disadvantages, and I really don't see a big market for that," he told AFP, stressing that watchmakers should instead reflect on "useful" and "intelligent" new functions.

Stephane Linder, head of Tag Heuer, the top watch brand in French luxury group LVMH's stable, agreed, pointing out that a connected watch would necessarily be more difficult to use than existing devices.

"With a telephone, I have a large screen, but with a watch, it's tiny," he pointed out.

Linder insisted though on the need to keep a close eye on developments, pointing out that technology has the power to suddenly reshuffle the deck, as Apple did when it dethroned the reining mobile phone companies with its iPhone.

Watchmakers must remain ready to jump into the "smart watch" fray once they see the potential to bring true benefits to users.

If that happens "you will see developments in the luxury segment as well," he predicted.

Patek Philippe chief Thierry Stern said he was not worried by the smart watch hype.

"We saw the same thing when the iPhone was launched. People said it would spell the end of watches, but today watch sales are doing very well," he told AFP.

Connected watches were not a threat to the market for prestige timepieces, he insisted, pointing out that such tech objects "generally are obsolete after a year, because there is always a new version available."

"These are not objects that you keep as a watch," he said.

In fact, Martijn van Willegen, a Dutch jeweller who each year places around 80 percent of his annual watch orders at Baselworld, said he saw watches moving in the opposite direction of the phone tech drive.

Fifteen years ago, people mainly wanted super precise quartz watches that you could simply replace if it stopped working, he said.

"Today, we're back to old school 16th and 17th century mechanics that really make your heart beat faster... I love that."

Copyright © 2020 AFP. All rights reserved. All information displayed in this section (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the contents of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presses.