Rumor has it that with the release of the Apple Watch Edi­tion, the end of the era of expen­sive mechan­i­cal watch­es will begin. But can smart watch­es, even stand­ing $170$, become a new sign of sta­tus? Every­thing can be.

Imag­ine: the younger gen­er­a­tion, per­haps in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent way, will begin to per­ceive the con­cept of “lux­u­ry” and will invest in it a new mean­ing. For those who will grow up in the future, a lega­cy of mechan­i­cal watch­es from Carti­er or IWC may seem like junk, not even antiques.

What about the Apple Watch? As is the case with many oth­er smart­watch­es, they can be used to dic­tate a response to a mes­sage, view the weath­er fore­cast, and look for the address of a suit­able restau­rant while trav­el­ing. At the same time, for their opti­mal work, you still need an iPhone, oth­er­wise many of the func­tions will sim­ply not be avail­able.

There are already many mod­els of dif­fer­ent smart watch­es on the mar­ket. But none of the man­u­fac­tur­ers has posi­tioned their gad­get in this way, aim­ing it at the lux­u­ry goods mar­ket, more­over, at its con­sumers of both sex­es. Here’s an exam­ple: as part of the Apple Watch pre­sen­ta­tion last Sep­tem­ber, the com­pa­ny invit­ed fash­ion edi­tors from around the world to events. And at Paris Fash­ion Week, Jony Ive him­self and his friend and col­league Mark New­son demon­strat­ed a new gad­get to real stars of the fash­ion indus­try, includ­ing the edi­tor of Vogue mag­a­zine. Anna Win­tour and cre­ative direc­tor of fash­ion house Chanel Karl Lager­feld. Final­ly, an Apple smart­watch graced the wrist of a mod­el wear­ing a Céline dress, who appeared on the cov­er of the Novem­ber issue of Chi­nese Vogue.

But the most impor­tant thing in this mess is just not PR, but Apple’s ambi­tions. After all, on a par with smart watch­es in the price cat­e­go­ry from $349 before $1099, with a huge selec­tion of straps from sil­i­cone to steel, the com­pa­ny decid­ed to launch a lux­u­ry ver­sion of the nov­el­ty, Edi­tion. Its price just goes through the roof — from $100$ before $170$. Extrav­a­gant con­sumers can choose from pink or yel­low gold mod­els with a huge range of straps.

Just to try on such a valu­able piece, you will have to make an appoint­ment in advance at an Apple spe­cial­ty store (such a watch will not be sold in every Apple Store). Inter­est­ing­ly, at the moment it is unlike­ly that it will be pos­si­ble to sign up for a fit­ting — as it turns out, there are so many who want to see how the Apple Watch Edi­tion will look on their hand. More­over, for those who may con­sid­er rose gold to be too sim­ple an option, skilled jew­el­ers are ready to offer their ser­vices in encrust­ing a gad­get with pre­cious stones and apply­ing a spe­cial engrav­ing. This is where it becomes clear what is the dif­fer­ence between a sim­ple Apple Watch and their expen­sive coun­ter­part. The ques­tion aris­es: what do the guys in Paris and Gene­va think about this? Will they have to give up their craft of mak­ing hand­made mechan­i­cal watch­es in the future and join the smart watch indus­try as a mat­ter of urgency? After all, it seems that this is the only way they can stay in busi­ness.

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At the moment, their reac­tion resem­bles an attempt to brush off an annoy­ing fly.

I don’t believe that [Apple Watch] some­how pre­vent our Hublot, Bre­itling and Patek from exist­ing and being sold. You don’t buy a $20,000 watch just to watch. Time can be found any­where. You are pur­chas­ing them because they are a work of art. And art is eter­nal.
Jean-Claude Biv­er, Pres­i­dent of LVMH Watch­es and CEO of Tag Heuer

This is what is worth think­ing about. No mat­ter how expen­sive, encrust­ed, engraved and gold the Apple Watch Edi­tion is, it can nev­er be a prod­uct that peo­ple pass on to their heirs from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. And all for the same rea­son the Edi­tion is said to out­per­form any expen­sive mechan­i­cal watch. This is not a mechan­i­cal watch, but a gad­get. Accord­ing­ly, like any oth­er gad­get, like the iPhone or Mac­Book, the Apple Watch will become obso­lete with the release of the next ver­sion of the device. But a mechan­i­cal watch, with prop­er care, can accu­rate­ly func­tion for decades, if not cen­turies. So think many who real­ly under­stand this issue, and not just chas­ing fash­ion. By the way, Apple itself refused to com­ment on the issue of the lifes­pan of its smart­watch­es.

Of course, no one is try­ing to belit­tle the impor­tance of new smart­watch­es, this indus­try is now on the crest of pop­u­lar­i­ty. Yes, and you can not argue with the fact that the Apple Watch is look­ing for­ward to. Peo­ple again start­ed talk­ing about watch­es, which, it would seem, have almost died out as an acces­so­ry for every­day life. More­over, even Swiss brands have become inter­est­ed in pen­e­trat­ing the smart­watch mar­ket. As part of the recent exhi­bi­tion of watch­es and jew­el­ry basel worldwhich is held in Basel, the Tag Heuer brand announced a part­ner­ship with such giants from Sil­i­con Val­ley as Google and Intel. They decid­ed to work togeth­er on the devel­op­ment of their own smart watch­es, which will be announced lat­er this year.

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Accord­ing to Mr. Beaver, their smart­watch should be an alter­na­tive to the Apple Watch Edi­tion, only more afford­able, but with sim­i­lar con­nec­tiv­i­ty and inter­ac­tion fea­tures.

If I was going to sell you a watch for $10,000 to $20,000, I would burn with shame. Prob­a­bly, on such watch­es it is worth putting a spe­cial warn­ing for users (as on cig­a­rettes — about harm to health). Some­thing like “Think about it, this watch is not eter­nal!”
Jean-Claude Beaver

Elec­tron­ic nov­el­ty from Tag will cost from $1000and a mod­el in an ultra-light mag­ne­sium alloy or tita­ni­um case should be sold at $2500.

More­over, the house of Tag Heuer is not the only one who intends to pen­e­trate the smart­watch indus­try. For exam­ple, in Jan­u­ary, Mont­blanc announced its new prod­uct — Mont­blanc Time­Walk­er Urban Speed ​​e‑Strap. This gad­get should appear on sale in June, and will cost about $400. In it, all the elec­tron­ics will be placed in the strap itself, and it will already be pos­si­ble to put it on any watch, and not only those made by Mont­blanc. This is the inno­va­tion of this prod­uct. And it also turns out that the watch itself will not have to be retired when the tech­nol­o­gy inte­grat­ed into the strap becomes obso­lete.

With all this, Alexan­der Schmidt, the head of the watch divi­sion at Mont­blanc, claims that such a move is just a nod to smart­watch­es. Such a deci­sion will in no way inter­fere with the core busi­ness of the com­pa­ny.

The more [в носимых аксессуарах] tech­nol­o­gy will appear, the more con­sumers will appre­ci­ate the clas­sics.
Alexan­der Schmidt, head of the Mont­blanc watch divi­sion

So, most like­ly, the cri­sis will not hap­pen, mechan­i­cal chronome­ters and smart watch­es will be able to get along well with each oth­er. That’s what he thinks Aurel Buckshead of the watch depart­ment at the auc­tion house Philips.

Lux­u­ry smart­watch­es have a right to exist, as does Porsche with a hybrid engine. You can com­bine a mod­ern, portable gad­get with tra­di­tion and lux­u­ry. It’s like a per­son who drinks a $1,000 Bor­deaux at din­ner and can cheer up with an ener­gy drink in the morn­ing.
Aurel Bax, Head of Watch­mak­ing at Philips

On the wrist of the user, who­ev­er he is, there is only room for one watch. At least a man in his right mind will not wear more than one watch on his hand, unless, of course, he is an extreme eccen­tric. So every­one can make the most suit­able choice for them­selves. menswear design­er for Club Mona­co Aaron Levinfor exam­ple, is a strict con­ser­v­a­tive and prefers exclu­sive­ly mechan­i­cal watch­es.

When I put on my mechan­i­cal watch­es, I always think about the painstak­ing work with minia­ture parts that makes such prod­ucts pos­si­ble. It’s amaz­ing, it’s not just for you to put a chip. A wrist watch is the only pre­cious acces­so­ry I wear besides my wed­ding ring. And I’m not going to change my habits.
Aaron Levin, own­er of sev­er­al vin­tage Rolex­es and the Bulo­va Tank chronome­ter inher­it­ed from his father

And some­one will choose for them­selves the solu­tion pro­posed by Mr. Bucks. Some smart watch­es as a sign of atten­tion to mod­ern tech­nolo­gies, and some mechan­i­cal ones as a trib­ute to the clas­sics.

I would prob­a­bly wear the Apple Watch dur­ing the day, and in the evening, going out, I would change them to the clas­sic “mechan­ics”.
Tony King, CEO of King & Part­ners

Com­pa­ny King & Part­ners cre­ates dig­i­tal plat­forms and con­tent for most lux­u­ry and fash­ion brands like Bent­ley or Akris. To replace your chronome­ter Pan­erai Radiomir Mr. King would buy, he says, an Apple Watch with a steel case and a black leather strap.

Christo­pher O’Neilla New York banker and col­lec­tor of Rolex watch­es (he owns about 20), plans to acquire Apple Watch Sportto use this smart watch at the gym.

I am one of those old fash­ioned peo­ple who like to col­lect mechan­i­cal watch­es. And noth­ing can change that. And the Apple Watch is such a curios­i­ty that can also bring ben­e­fits.
Christo­pher O’Neill

Every­one is dif­fer­ent, and for more dig­i­tal­ly savvy users who are accus­tomed to their smart­phones, the Edi­tion may prove to be more than just a tech­no­log­i­cal curios­i­ty. For exam­ple, Sky Jel­lat­lyadver­tis­ing agency senior part­ner Team Epiphany, is seri­ous­ly plan­ning to buy an Edi­tion. He doesn’t even care that this expen­sive wear­able gad­get is unlike­ly to replace his clas­sic chronome­ter. Roy­al Oak Off­shore from Aude­mars Piguet. Does Mr. Jel­lat­ly wor­ry that over time his expen­sive smart­watch will become tech­ni­cal­ly obso­lete? Not real­ly.

I don’t real­ly care about the obso­les­cence of smart­watch­es. This is just the price of life with all the cut­ting-edge inno­va­tions. It’s like pay­ing tens of thou­sands to get a manned flight into space on SpaceX. Those who buy such watch­es [Apple Watch], like to be the cen­ter of atten­tion, and are ready to enjoy a prod­uct that har­mo­nious­ly com­bines tech­nol­o­gy, use­ful fea­tures and design. After all, we are here to live well and we will not live for­ev­er.
Sky Jel­lat­ly

[WSJ]