One of the main discussion points with the Apple watch is around how it will interact with existing high-end watches, and I think there’s a point here that’s being overlooked.
Since the rise of the mobile phone, watches have been becoming increasingly obsolete. They used to be functional, and now they’re jewelry.
And it’s not that jewelry is bad, or that it’ll go away as a thing people care about, but it’s not often that it competes directly with something functional.
That’s what makes Apple Watch unique. It’s going to dig hooks into the lives of its owner. Opening car doors, paying for food, replacing your keys at home, signing in to your hotel, replacing your room key, etc.
These are things that jewelry cannot do, and that’s the main threat to Tag and Rolex and all the other luxury watches.
They can try to make their own smartwatches, and it looks like Tag is doing exactly that, but I can’t help but worry they’ll fail.
Plus it seems beneath them to even try. Swatch I can see. But Tag and Rolex should maybe take the approach that function is for the help, and that watches are jewelry.
It might be their only play.
I think in the end we’ll end up with those two stories: jewelry vs. tech-life integration, and it’s going to be a hard one for the watchmakers to win.