Saturday, March 21, 2015

Baselworld 2015

Baselworld is Switzerland's yearly premier show for all things Watch, most argue that it is the single most important Watch event in the world during the whole year

But don't worry:

Quote: Baselworld welcomes everyone. Visitors do not need to pre-register

The good news is that if you read this today Saturday March 21st you still have time to get to Basel Switzerland from most parts of our connected planet.

Athletes Watches
For Marcus and Agata with an emphasis on sports, these days we choose to wear full-time Garmin GPS sports watches.  We realise our exacting requirements are not typical but they include

- We use a watch primarily for daily sports tracking
- Needs to be at least waterproof and incorporate a GPS
- Must at least cover sports: Running, Cycling, Swimming
- Step tracking is also useful
- Battery needs to last only a day (>24 hour races, we'd carry a second watch)
- Heart Rate Monitoring (HRM) or a connection to one a must
[Note that Garmin Chest HRM straps can currently give you more information that any wrist mounted device so there is some reason to have a separate not integrated device]
- Ability to display a route for guidance on long ultra marathons useful
- Notification e.g. from a Smartphone optional, useful but recall you might not be always carrying a phone e.g. whilst swimming.

We see all watches through this lens and realise that many people have different requirements to us

The Changing Watch Industry
The ability to incorporate an ultra accurate digital timepiece in numerous household items from our Microwave to our iPod to our Smartphone has made a dedicated timepiece  optional for most technology focused people.

For Switzerland in General, the country is not as some might believe completely dependent on the Watch industry! They are at about 15%,  and focused mostly at the high end.

Swiss watch exports were about 24,000 M CHF in 2014  Total Swiss Exports were 16,125 M CHF in 2014

The Current Status Quo

Baselworld this year of 2015 is exhibiting some great quality, mechanical timepieces in a host of exquisite designs.  Just like it always has.  If you want to look at these /traditional/ designs look at these links:

8 posh Dress watches

GQ visits Baselworld

ABlogToWatch at Baselworld

Angelus U10  Bloomberg at Baselworld

The Apple Challenge

The Swiss Watch industry has reason to not just to worry but to run scared.  Since a top of the line Apple Watch can exceed 10,000 US Dollars this takes Apple into and above the mid price range (which I would rate) at say 3000 USD

To Apple's great credit they are attempting to continue to re-invent the purpose of the Watch that sits on your wrist. I think this is the only credible strategy for Smartwatches, and the one already pioneered by Google, Samsung and Pebble.

Getting it wrong is Easy
Most high end manufactures misunderstand the purpose of a Smartwatch. A Smartwatch

- must be able to clearly tell the time
- but time keeping though mandatory should be a necessary but not a sufficient capability
- Other capabilities will make the smartwatch.  Including:
- Sports tracking, Notifications, Health biometrics tracking, remote device control, mobile payments.

The strap adds electronic function to an existing design. Ingenious but ultimately flawed because again, it's just adding to an existing watch, not re-inventing it.


Breitling B55

+ they released something
--- what they released is not even a me too product, it's a confusing mismatch of gimmicks.  To Marcus, a benchmark of how not to Smartwatch 

Apple & the Delay Strategy
IMHO the Apple Watch will almost inevitably become a steam roller product even though there are notable deficiencies designed in limitations with the initial product.

+ The General Public  (cf GPS sportswatch users) don't understand that even an 18 hour battery life with a Watch including Heart Rate Monitor is astonishing.   
- Apple Watch is a tethered product, needing an iPhone.   This limits the sales audience and is primarily because Apple is [currently] too stubborn to write an Android application
- Apple Watch lacks a GPS or WiFi

-- Apple pre announced its watch mainly as a disruptive strategy.  IMHO it was not as a service to potential customers, it was just a message to Apple users to tell them: you will be sorry if you think about buying anything else.

Apple Watch Gen1, is an inspired first product. Its  success depends purely on existing Apple users gullibility  enthusiasm (since non Apple users cannot play)

But for existing Apple users, who are not too sporty  (a rich, must start some exercise soon wannabe would be ideal) the Apple Watch could really be a very useful device and a step forward in convenience and function.

I would predict there are enough of these users out there.  And so the Apple Watchocalypse is inevitable.

Tag Heuer

Scared, and late to market Tag has played the ultimate waiting game card.   They announced an Android partnership intention.

So "we've not actually done anything yet, but trust us, something great is coming along"

Hardly convincing.

Since Tag is part of a larger watch grouping (LVMH) anything useful that is developed could have wider application. Of course I, and so many people have enormous respect for CEO Jean-Claude Biver, but I feel that this time Charisma is not enough.

To Close
Apple is not exhibiting at Baselworld 2015

At Baselworld 2015 to say that there is an Elephant in the Room is incorrect.  The Elephant is not even in the room.

The Apple Watch is not displayed in the Swiss Apple Store