Sales of Apple Watches eclipse watch sales of entire Swiss watch industry

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I am a member of a specific organization regarding watchmaking in America. I saw something recently that said Apple was going to start a network for secondary repair by trained independent watchmakers to be able to fix their watches.

So not only is Apple making a mockery of the Swiss watchmaking industry in sales, but they are also doing something the Swiss brands often refused to do- make spare parts for their pieces available to qualified independent watchmakers.

In the last 20 years, it has become extremely difficult to make a living as a working watchmaker for many specifically because they cannot get parts to even fix the watches because the Swiss refused to sell them to Americans, and even European customers, forcing the repair of all of their pieces for certain brands to their service centers only- which are kind of like assemblylines for fixing watches as quickly as possible.

Some brands have good service, many others, not so much.

Apple choosing to make parts available to modern watchmakers, even though I personally detest Apple, is a smart move for longevity of devices, and market share.

The Swiss just refused based on monopoly, and claiming there was no competent way to validate repairer’s skill so they don’t butcher pieces, which is horseshit- because the AWCI properly and professionaly administers modern accreditation.

I don’t think the Swiss Watch industry will end, but it’s certainly going to shrink, despite the Renaissance they were handed in the early 2000s from various factors, but they chose to spit on the very men and women around the globe who keep their watches running.

To be clear- there are some swiss brands that do make parts available, but you often have to jump through ridiculous hoops to get access- such as have a specific list of around 100k$ of equipment in your shop for certain brands, much of which you may never use. Its often ridiculous.


I just think that the watch industry will likely shrink but its not really going to go away. Even before the Apple Watch it was still a niche luxury item that people don’t need, they want them as a status symbol, fashion or as a sentimental piece. I do agree that smart watches have the problem that they become obsolete quickly and are not repair friendly, and they are not intended to be used indefinitely.


" sold more units than the entire Swiss watch industry:"

Yeah, that really isn’t the whole story when Apple’s Watch prices go from $200 to $800…er, plus I think one watch at around $2k that is a join venture with one of the luxury brands…and the Swiss watch industry selling from…well…I don’t know the low or high end, but the big end is definitely above $100,000. The low end may be $200, or $100 or $500.

They also seem to be selling towards different sets of people. People that like the Apple Watch are gadget lovers, or fitness buffs, and sometimes “regular people”. People that pay “car type money” for Swiss watches either love the craftsmanship of it all, or are attempting to signal they they have a lot of money. There is some very modest overlap in that watches are “the only acceptable men’s jewelry”, and the upper end of the Apple Watch “bracelets” (the link and Milanese loop for example) are very nice, and on par with some of the lower end fancy watches…except Apple’s are clearly mass produced.

Personally I’m Apple’s target market. A ton of money still churns around in the other market.

(and yes, it is odd looking at a business segment where Apple is the low cost option!)


I remember back when cheap digital watches killed the Swiss watch industry.


You can still by Swatch brand watches for about 60 bucks.


Rolex has announced another record year of sales and profits for its UK operation.
Turnover increased by 12% to £367 million for the company in the UK and Ireland in 2018; more than double the value of sales just five years ago in 2014.

In 2019, according to… I think the luxury goods industry will be alright.

Also, Casio makes the dirt-cheap F-91W since 1989 and still sells 3 million of them a year!

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The high end of the watch business is hurting right now because of king kong but the low/mid end is more affected by smartwatches. Nobody is putting off buying a $50,000 Patek because they want an Apple Watch.


I am in the minority who still wear a wristwatch, but it’s just a Casio.

I think the intersection of people with money to blow and willingness to blow it on a swiss watch is shrinking.

I’d rather spend that on a tablet, or a vacation.

At least my phone, which I keep for 3+ years, can do many functions.

I was trained as a watchmaker, but I don’t work as one, for complex reasons.

I have an old Seamaster I was gifted by my family, and I wear it when there is occasion to but I don’t normally have it on.

I know this is going to go completely against any established opinion on this site, but not everyone who likes or owns mechanical wrist watches or even makes them buys into the “the only people that buy them are wealthy snobs broadcasting man jewelry and wealth” schpeil.

I am personally designing my own, and I don’t need it. It’s just something I want, something that drives my life, because I want to look at it and know I made it. That I make my own time in the truest sense. And that any watchmaker or machinist that thinks I am a joke, that I can’t do half of what I say- I can put it in their face and tell them to go fuck themselves.

My watch is a big middle finger to a lot of people, and a private enjoyment for me. But I’m an outlier, perhaps not the norm. I imagine there were others like this when they made theirs- Daniels was a bit like that too.


And you believed that? Apple, the notorious “don’t you dare fight for the right to repair” company? That would be great! Except… no, not quite what you heard.

Seems those formerly independent shops have to give up a lot of their independence if they want to repair apple watches. They have to be trained Apple techs. They have to allow Apple to audit them whenever Apple wants. They can only use genuine Apple parts. None of this makes the independent anything but an Apple subsidiary at that point.

Apple is trying to mollify people on complaints about getting repairs anyplace but Apple stores without actually doing much about it. They’re just providing another Apple controlled option.


I’m not buying quality mechanical watches as a status symbol or for their functions (though I prefer watches with date complication) apart from telling time but for the timeless (pun intended) craftsmanship. l like the thought of owning a quality piece of gear that was made with care and tradition, can survive me and can be repaired even in a few decades.

And I find wearing a watch is pretty useful.


Is that you, Doctor Manhattan?


Oh, wonderful.

Well I stand corrected- it looks like Apple is doing THE EXACT SAME THING AS THE SWISS.

Now I hate Apple even more. They’re no better, And I was already doubtful. Because they’ve pulled nothing but walled garden shit since the day they were born.

I’m a Linux user. Can you tell?


Because watches are not just for telling time. They’re portable companions to your smart phone.

I can understand and respect building one, that’s very different from dropping a lot of money on something.

I wouldn’t be shitty to you if I saw a fancy watch, though I might avoid mentioning that I’ve been feeling the Bern or other topics that might be contentious to a conspicuous capitalist :wink:

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LOL Sorry to have burst the bubble. It’s really a pain in the ass it sounds like in most sectors of the watch industry, other than the cheaper end. And those folks (like me) probably aren’t bringing in their $40 Fossil watch for repairs other than a new battery.

Wait, why does my smartphone need a companion? It has me. Isn’t that enough for it? Is my smartphone cheating on me with my watch now? Damn it…


Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea


After seeing the iFixIt teardowns of the Apple watches I’m not really sure what is actually serviceable on them other than maybe the battery and front glass.