10/09/2014

APPLE WATCH: LUXURY WATCHMAKER'S WORST NIGHTMARE?

U nless you're a wonderful humanitarian working in the most remote areas of the world, or so busy that you haven't caught up with the news, you would know that Apple has just announced the new Apple Watch and theApple Pay system. Are we surprised? Not really. 

Apple Watch Wearable Tech Launch


Wearable tech has been dubbed “the next thing” for a long time now, so has the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. The difference is: Apple has finally joined the game. While the tech giant did not pioneer the technology, it definitely succeeded in making it look cool. I mean, have you seen the Apple Watch? It oozes luxury and even sophistication. Hours after the announcement, some fashion people have startedlamenting that Apple’s new products spell the beginning of the end for thewatch industry…and even our need for wallet.

I humbly disagree.

Remember just a few years ago we saw the rise of the e-reader and tablets? Every day the newspaper fed us with news about the death of the print. Yes it did happen. Yes, it was brutal. Brick and mortar book store chains have closed down; Publishers and journalists lost their jobs to the rise of prosumer. Fast forward a few years later, I hardly see anyone with an e-reader, but I am seeing more people with a paper book on their hands. On the commercial front, book retailers are thriving, though I’ve seen a shift in business model from the traditional book shop to the online business model. The brick and mortar book shops now cater for a cafĂ© and events for the family or book readings to generate a buzz.

kindle ereader

Why, or how did the book industry risen from the ashes? In my opinion, the logic is simple: Nostalgia. All of us look back at “the good ol’ days” and we crave for a simpler time, usually our childhood…and books, but not e-readers remind us of that. While we flock to new technologies whether we’re amazed by its functionality or convenience, at the end of the day, we are creatures of comfort. While we complain about how our copy of Anna Karenina feels more like a brick and how much space the Game of Thrones series take up on the book shelf, we prefer to admire the cover art and feel the rustling of the paper when we change pages.

So, while I think that the Apple Watch and its new Pay system is incredible, it does not necessary spell the demise of the watch industry or even luxury accessories industry…that’s of course if they adapt to the changes. On the top of my head, luxury fashion houses have been in the smartphone cover/cases market for at least half a decade now, perhaps they will expand on this segment to supplement the decline in wallet sales. Luxury watch houses can collaborate with Apple to produce interchangeable straps and watch housing. Diamond encrusted Apple Watch? It’s probably in the production line already.

Chanel iPhone case
Not an original...but a big hit nevertheless. Maybe it's Chanel's cue to up its smartphone accessories game with a hard case...
But before we can go back to our beloved tick-tock watch and clamouring over the latest “It” wallet, we have to satisfy our need to own the latest tech gear. So, sign me up for the Apple Watch! But after getting sick of having to charge it every day, I’d like to go back to watching the smooth movement of the Rolex gifted by my parents. When my iPhone’s battery depletes when I am in the middle of my grocery run, I will start carrying cash and credit card again. My first stop? Probably LV or Prada for a quality leather wallet, possibly the same one that my mum has been carrying for almost 10 years.

Image Credit: Google Image   

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