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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Trend: Mobility: Death of the Watch

Is time running out for the wristwatch?

Surveys and sales data show that young shoppers are shunning watches for snazzier time-telling gadgets, such as cellphones and iPods.

Last year, the number of people who bought watches not in the Rolex and Patek Philippe stratosphere dropped 12% from 2004, according to a leading market research group. The runaway favorite brand for teens, Fossil Inc. of Texas, acknowledged an 18.6% decline in wholesale U.S. sales of its namesake brand.

Oakley Inc., which is based in Orange County, said watch sales fell 11% last year as it phased out digital watches and styles that weren't selling well.

For many in the cellphone generation, watches now seem about as relevant as grandfather clocks.

Piper Jaffray's semiannual report on teen preferences finds that teenagers who said they never wore a watch rose to 59% from 48%. The number of teens who said they wore a watch daily declined to 13% in this spring's survey, compared with 18% of those polled in the fall.

And 82% said they didn't plan to buy a watch in the next six months, compared with 76% last fall.

The dismal poll results caused Piper Jaffray to maintain its "neutral-to-cautious stance" on Fossil's stock.

Get the time here

via YPulse


El Gaffney said...

Prediction: The rebirth of the timepiece. The next generation of businessmen will be hip-professional (for us in advertising, less casual. for the U.S. I-banker types, more "smart" as they say in London. right?). Look for the pocketwatch to be the perfect accessory for a snazzy 3-piece suit. It's following pocketsquares as we speak. The timepiece will be complemented by a high-end, cutting edge "sports" watch with heart monitor, calorie burn count, and weather updates for daily wear. In the year two-th-owwwww-suuuhnd.

AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

i buy that the revival of the watch will require some convergence (like the cell phone) of other functionalities. like u suggest, some heart-monitor and health apps would be the first smart starts to gaining watch relevance. i would suggest putting TIME IN CONTEXT...just marking it in context of the sun's placement is so 1000 BC - time in relation to things in motion is where it's at. consider countdowns to ideal weight (if i stick with this diet and excercise), or investment gains updates, time until my investments hit their goal, time left for this good sunny weather, or for freelancers billable time spent on an assignment, or time until the flight check-in thus i know how long i have to relax and chill. marking the current time in space is just dead time. timex needs to put time in perspective to my life in motion - isn't that the essence of what the phone guys did to an outdated device?

magnus said...

Another example of the midrange being squeezed. Swiss watches are going gangbusters - just had their best year ever. Mind you, most of that has been driven by crazy demand from China, and the government's just stuck a 20% import tax on foreign watches. My bet, though, is that'll only increase demand...

Tim said...

I also think that the demand for high class watches will increase. I am actually looking for the right watch for almost two years now and have saved some money in order to buy a high class watch. I know I don´t need it and I definitly don´t use it for telling the time. It´s an accesorie, to underline my personality.

When nobody is wearing a wristwatch anymore it´s an easy way to stand out from the crowd. And being different is what humans are about.