2014 brought new products and news about old ones. The Swiss watch industry took a hit due to problems in Asia while a groundbreaking new wearable device made its debut. It’s been a memorable year and here are a few of the things we’ll remember about 2014.
The biggest watch-related story of 2014 had to be the introduction of the Apple Watch in September. The unveiling of Apple’s first wearable device had been anticipated for so long that seeing the actual product was a bit anticlimactic, but still the most newsworthy item of the year.
At the press event for the new smartwatch, Apple CEO Tim Cook made this statement: “We’ve been working incredibly hard on an entirely new product, and we believe this product will redefine what people expect from this category. It is the next chapter in Apple’s story.”
It remains to be seen whether the Apple Watch will turn out to be another groundbreaking innovation like the iPhone or one of Apple’s few duds like the late, unlamented Newton tablet of the late 1990s. One thing is for sure—the Apple Watch will be the industry’s biggest newsmaker for 2015.
One of the major stories on luxury timepieces concerned the sale of the world’s most famous watch, the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication. This legendary watch has a history of bringing in more money every time it changes hands and the most recent sale was no exception. The timepiece went for $11 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 1999 and was up for bids again in November at Christie’s of Geneva. This time around, the “Holy Grail” of fine watches fetched $24 million from a buyer who chose to remain anonymous.
One of the year’s most interesting rumors is that TAG Heuer will be introducing the first smartwatch from a maker of Swiss luxury timepieces at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 6-9. Whether this prediction happens or not, smartwhatches are likely to be the top story coming out of CES 2015.
The luxury watch industry saw a shakeup in December when Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of the watch division for French luxury group LVMH, ousted TAG Heuer President & CEO Stephane Linder to take over the top spot himself, at least temporarily.
Linder’s departure was just one casualty of the drop in demand for luxury Swiss watches in 2014, mostly due to the political and economic upheavals in crucial Asian markets.
So what do we have to look forward to in 2015? Definitely more and better smartwatches as tech companies are forced to improve their products in order to compete with the Apple Watch when it comes out in the spring.
Adding to the excitement will be major names in fine watches like TAG Heuer creating their own versions of the smartwatch while incorporating the superior materials and craftsmanship that have made them famous.
We are also likely to see more corporate sponsorship of athletic teams and events by the makers of luxury watches.
One event that’s certain to provide newsworthy stories in the coming year is the BaselWorld expo March 19-26 in Basel, Switzerland, where we will get our first looks at the new luxury timepieces from dozens of famous brands.
2015 is sure to be full of surprises for fanciers of fine watches!