Jony Ive Says Apple Watch No Threat to Luxury Watch Brands
Should Swiss watchmakers be worried about the launch of the new Apple Watch? The man who designed it doesn’t think so. Although Jony Ive stated last year that those makers of luxury watches could be in trouble, a more recent interview has him changing his tune.
At the recent Conde Nast International Luxury Conference Ive was asked by Vogue International editor Suzy Menkes about how the Apple Watch might impact the luxury watch industry. “It wasn’t because we thought we could design a better watch, [or that we] wanted to compete with the existing watch makers,” Ive said. “It was because that we saw that the wrist was a fabulous place for technology. So the motivation was very different from the one that we had when we worked on the iPhone.”
Has Ive come to realize the drawbacks of the pricey smartwatch, like a battery that requires nightly recharging and has a life expectancy of less than three years? Ive seemed to hedge a bit when he later said: “I don’t see how we can compare these wonderful mechanical watches that we own and a product that has such a comprehensive functionality and capability that will grow and change beyond our imagining.”
Apple’s top designer has to be aware that while a fine mechanical watch can last for decades and be passed down to later generations, the Apple Watch is a tech product with a limited life expectancy. Just like owners do not expect to be using the same smartphone, tablet or laptop ten years from now they aren’t going to be wearing the Apple Watch they purchase today in 2025—no matter how much they pay for it.
Maybe the best of both worlds is to have a Rolex or Omega for business and dressy occasions and an Apple Watch for fun. Of course, you may not want to go for the Edition model if you’re just going to wear it on the golf course.