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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Watch or the Phone – who will win?

Are watches destined to the technology dustbin of history? Is a product that survived the trauma of the clockwork to electronic revolution going to be replaced by the mobile phone?

Let me declare a personal interest. I really like watches. For me there is no better example of the power of branding than the luxury watch. You can go and buy a watch that keeps perfect time and spend less than $5 or you can buy a product, that is no better at time-keeping, for $50,000 (and a lot more).

The branding strategy of Rolex, Cartier, IWC and the other host of weird sounding names is simple – your watch is a statement of you. Classy watch, classy person.

Have you noticed that you don’t see that many young people wearing watches? Since the mobile phone is rarely a nano second out of their attention, why bother. For many the phone is the primary emblem of status so why bother with a watch ?

Of course watches are not going to be gone anytime soon but I reckon they are under threat.

With this argument in mind I was amused to see that Tag Heurer has launched a phone, with a watch function and LG a watch that is also a mobile phone.

It will be interesting to see how things work out. Dick Stroud

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