Will Apple Kill the Fashion Watch?
What effect will the launch of the Apple Watch have on the word of traditional timepieces? A pair of retail consultants think that the smartwatch will make barely a dent on the ultra expensive luxury end of the watch business but the fashion sector will take a big hit.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” former Saks Chairman and CEO Steve Sadove commented: “The fine, luxury watches, they’re being hurt right because of the euro.” He added, “Fashion watches are taking a hit right now. That’s sort of a trend we’re seeing.”
Retail consultant and former department store executive Jan Kniffen agreed. “That watch business, which was great for the last six years, was slowing down before the [Apple Watch]. This is the nail in the coffin, the new Apple Watch. I don’t think it’s taking over the world. But it’s a negative to those sellers.
“The real market is the $300 to $600 watch. That’s what they’re [Apple] really trying to win.”
While the Apple Watch Edition sells for $10,000 to $17,000, it’s the lower priced Sport and mid range models that Sadove expects to be the tech giant’s bread and butter, especially since the trendy smartwatch is getting such a big push in the fashion sector. On launch day when most Apple products have historically caused long lines in front of the brand’s retail locations, the new wearable device was available only in a few select boutiques worldwide.
Sadove pointed out. “Angela Ahrendts, the ex-Burberry head who’s at Apple, has done a great job of treating [the Apple Watch] as luxury launch as opposed to a mass launch.”
If these two are correct, the Apple Watch will pose no threat to Rolex or Patek Phillipe but the makers of stylish timepieces retailing for under a grand better get their game on.