The Baselworld fair, which brings together brands like Rolex, Tag Heuer and Philippe Patek, had unusual coverage of the technological world to know what steps will take manufacturers with the presence of the smart market watches.
is great international watchmaking and jewellery, and this year’s event opening is marked by a context of greater uncertainty due to new challenges, in particular the to cope with competition from Smart Watches.
Outside for a long time to the economic crisis, the industry is now in a phase of turbulence: countermeasures against corruption in China, affecting the sale of luxury watches; the ruble crisis, which has reduced the purchasing power of the rich Russian clientele and the recent rise of the Swiss franc, after the new monetary policy of the Swiss authorities.
“Say that we live in a time of euphoria would not be very serious”, admitted Sylvie Ritter, Director of the salon, at press conference on eve of the opening of Baselworld.
However, an emerging, non-industry, enemy reveals manufacturers before the imminent departure to the market of Apple Watch April 24 in nine countries, including United States, United Kingdom and France, which unlike the previous models aimed at the market of luxury, traditional Swiss Manor.
More than ten Swiss Watchmakers have already announced will present touch screen smartwatches at TUCSONSMARTWATCHES, said Sylvie Ritter, that she said convinced that technology can perfectly coexist with traditional watchmaking. “These two universes are more complementary than antagonists,” he said.
In any case, makers are willing to defend their territory, and the big bet seems to follow in the footsteps of Withings, a firm offering models with bounded functions, limited to the registration of physical activity or rest cycles and to synchronize the data with a smartphone via Bluetooth. This system, called Connected Movement, guarantees a duration of use of up to two years, unlike refills that must have the smartwatch, and already took his first steps with the Activité and Pop activité.
Firms like Mondaine, Frederique Constant and Alpine have chosen this method for their models, after partnering with MotionX, a company specializing in sensors of physical activity that provides solutions for Nike and the sports bracelets Jawbone.
“Like Apple, but different”
For example, Tag Heuer, the brand of the Group of French luxury LVMH in the watch segment, expected to occupy the same lines as the Apple brand. Today he will reveal the name of the giant of the Silicon Valley which will be associated to propose your own product; the two companies sounding more are Google (which would provide Android Wear, the software platform for the clock) and Intel, which would provide the processor and the rest of the hardware.
“With our partners we will try to do it as well as Apple, but in a different way,” said Jean-Claude Biver, head of the LVMH Watchmaking division, in an interview with the AFP news agency.
Connected watches were virtually absent from this Hall last year, but now several Swiss brands have been launched in this race, with the image of Breitling, presenting a chronograph for pilots of aircraft, or Frédérique Constant, presenting a clock that will allow to follow the cycles of sleep.
Away from connected watches, very rich visitors of Baselworld can always marvel at the London jeweler of high-flying Graff, proposed by 40 million dollars “The fascination” with 152,6 carats of white diamonds, a diamond-shaped clock but transformable to carry it as a ring or bracelet.