Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th May 2017 22:45 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Micah Singleton:

The past few years haven't been great for the luxury watch market. Economic downturns, currency devaluations, and the development of the smartwatch - once poised to be the next major tech sector following the smartphone and tablet - helped usher in two years of declines in sales and profits for the Swiss watch industry. The common narrative was that the watch industry was being killed by smartwatches and was ultimately doomed. But much like the introduction of quartz watches in the '70s, which nearly decimated the luxury watch market, Switzerland rebounded and is now growing once again.

It was kind of cute to see 20-something Apple bloggers predict the end of mechanical watches because of Apple's wrist calculator.

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jewellery
by unclefester on Tue 9th May 2017 23:46 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Mechanical watches are nothing more than socially acceptable jewellery for (wealthy) men.

Rolex, Omega etc tell their male customers they are buying advanced technology. They tell their female customers they are buying jewel-encrusted fashion items. Quite often the male and female watches have identical movements.

Reply Score: 6

RE: jewellery
by Flatland_Spider on Wed 10th May 2017 01:02 UTC in reply to "jewellery"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

They are also totally awesome.

The sweep of the hand, the not worrying about a power supply, and the manufacturing prowess to make something so complicated yet so small. Then there is making something mechanical that can keep time with any sort of precision.

Anyone can make a quartz watch, and to a lesser extent a smartwatch, but it takes some machining skills to make a mechanical watch.

You don't have to be wealthy to own a mechanical watch. Seikos have some very reasonably priced, <$250, and they have more history and quality then pricier brands. The SNZF17 is $138 on Amazon right now. Then there is the used market where some good deals can be found.

I agree with you that Rolex and Omega are overblown. Vintage Rolexes are cool, but that's more historical then any sort of fashion statement.

Of course, they have the same movements. Ford doesn't make a discrete engine for each vehicle it makes, and the Lexus ES line is a tarted up Camry. Nvidia reuses GPU cores from previous generations. There are two companies that make x86 chips, and the bulk of the PC industry uses one of the two. Lots of things share parts.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: jewellery
by unclefester on Wed 10th May 2017 02:37 UTC in reply to "RE: jewellery"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

They are also totally awesome.

The sweep of the hand, the not worrying about a power supply, and the manufacturing prowess to make something so complicated yet so small. Then there is making something mechanical that can keep time with any sort of precision.


I see you've drunk the Kool Aid.

Mechanical watch movements are extremely crude early 18th century technology. They are made to very low tolerances (by modern standards) using very cheap low tech materials. The vast majority of modern mechanical movements are manufactured on (fully) automated mass production lines. They literally cost ~$2 to make.

People forget that mechanical watches need (very) expensive services every five years or so to work properly.

You can even buy quartz watches with smooth sweeping hands.


Anyone can make a quartz watch, and to a lesser extent a smartwatch, but it takes some machining skills to make a mechanical watch.


Quartz watches are mechanical watches. However they use stepper motors and quartz regulators instead of springs and balances. Quartz movements are also vastly more complicated to design and build than conventional spring driven models. In fact reliable quartz movements are so difficult to design and manufacture that only a handful of Swiss and Japanese mega corporations (eg Casio, Seiko, Citizen, Casio, Ronda and Swatch-ETA) make them.

You don't have to be wealthy to own a mechanical watch. Seikos have some very reasonably priced,


Affordable Seiko mechanical watches are woefully inaccurate (-20 to +40 secs/day.). Only the very high end Seiko mechanical (King Seiko, Grand Seiko) models are accurate.

Edited 2017-05-10 02:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: jewellery
by Kochise on Wed 10th May 2017 04:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

It's not about accuracy, it's about the relationship you have with your mechanical watch, the care you put into it, when you reload the spring, when you watch the tourbillon beat, then you can see the wheels running their endless loop. Quartz and smart watches do not have these appeals. They offer other commodities though.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: jewellery
by Drumhellar on Wed 10th May 2017 05:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I see you've drunk the Kool Aid.


Oh, it is so wonderful that you are soooo far removed from, nay above, the human condition, and are able to share with us how much better you are that you have not a single preference for any material object that isn't based on pure functionality.

It is refreshing to see somebody so untouched by the slightest hint of vanity or self-consciousness that nobody can help but feel shame in your presence that they might prefer something for reasons that are abstract and/or intangible.

You truly are an elite - not for the quality of your contribution, but for the quality of your judgement.

Edited 2017-05-10 05:20 UTC

Reply Score: 6

v RE[4]: jewellery
by FooBat on Wed 10th May 2017 06:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: jewellery"
v RE[3]: jewellery
by FooBat on Wed 10th May 2017 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
RE[3]: jewellery
by codifies on Wed 10th May 2017 08:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
codifies Member since:
2014-02-14

Mechanical watch movements are extremely crude early 18th century technology.

That given it should be simple for you to make such a crude mechanism...

Take a look at some of the modern hobbyists making clocks - there are some brilliantly made complex and beautiful build logs and examples on youtube...

making such a "crude" thing is part art and highly skilled accomplishment.

Many people are, and will be, for some time to come very happy to buy a mechanical masterpiece rather than some gizmo that won't last the day before a rechanrge and will be thrown away within a year or two.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: jewellery
by FooBat on Wed 10th May 2017 09:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: jewellery"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

"Mechanical watch movements are extremely crude early 18th century technology.

That given it should be simple for you to make such a crude mechanism...

Take a look at some of the modern hobbyists making clocks - there are some brilliantly made complex and beautiful build logs and examples on youtube...

making such a "crude" thing is part art and highly skilled accomplishment.

Many people are, and will be, for some time to come very happy to buy a mechanical masterpiece rather than some gizmo that won't last the day before a rechanrge and will be thrown away within a year or two.
"
Except absolute majority of modern mechanical watches are made entirely by automated machines, requiring very little to no human skill.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: jewellery
by agentj on Thu 11th May 2017 06:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
agentj Member since:
2005-08-19

They literally cost ~$2 to make.


Then make new watch model if it's so cheap to make, after all it just costs less than $10. You will earn a lot of money ... I'm sure they will pay you $20000 for a new one, that hasn't been even manufactured yet - again, it's just ~$2. We all know that cost of the product is just cost of raw materials ...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: jewellery
by Lobotomik on Thu 11th May 2017 07:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03


They are made to very low tolerances (by modern standards) using very cheap low tech materials.


Just to be no less smug, I'd wager you meant "made to very high tolerances"

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: jewellery
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 10th May 2017 03:54 UTC in reply to "RE: jewellery"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Anyone can make a quartz watch, and to a lesser extent a smartwatch, but it takes some machining skills to make a mechanical watch.


Ok sign me up for a subscription to watch the watchmaker competition. But don't try to sell me the sweat of their labor. Just as overpriced as a replica jersey.


You can like what ever obscure passion floats your boat, but don't pretend that it makes any logical sense what so ever.

Edited 2017-05-10 03:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: jewellery
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 12th May 2017 02:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Float the idea to your local Maker's group. They'll have a blast. ;) They'll have the soldering iron burns to prove the left it all out there.

Oh, I don't pretend it makes any sense at all. Just like it doesn't make any sense that I drive an E30 BMW, what to buy more computers, or like obscure operating systems. None of those things enhance my life in any significant fashion, and I could probably save money by picking much more pedestrian pursuits.

I will explain what I get out of them for the sake of discussion though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: jewellery
by Soulbender on Wed 10th May 2017 05:07 UTC in reply to "RE: jewellery"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

the not worrying about a power supply


Instead you worry about winding it up.

but it takes some machining skills to make a mechanical watch.


It takes skill to make woodcarvings too but I don't think you have any of those.

And it's still just jewelry for men.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: jewellery
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 12th May 2017 02:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Automatics not manual wind. Automatics wind themselves.

I have a few hand built pieces of furniture and some older nic naks around the house that were probably hand made.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: jewellery
by AndriusDuksta on Fri 12th May 2017 06:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: jewellery"
AndriusDuksta Member since:
2017-05-11

Automatics not manual wind. Automatics wind themselves.

...if you wear them constantly. I don't get it, why do people always forget to mention this. I have had mechanical automatics, as well as manual-wound watches, and I can tell you, the difference in convenience between the two is not that big: throw an automatic into the drawer for the weekend, and you end up winding it up manually on Monday anyway.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: jewellery
by FooBat on Wed 10th May 2017 06:21 UTC in reply to "RE: jewellery"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

The sweep of the hand, the not worrying about a power supply, and the manufacturing prowess to make something so complicated yet so small.

And the constant need to re-adjust it if you want it to be precise to the second. Absolutely any cheapest quartz watch is more precise than the most expensive luxury mechanical watch. I know, because I used to be into mechanical watches. Yes, they are cool, they feel awesome, they are (usually) very stylish and deserve to be treated as jewelry... But they are ancient technology, and they are inferior to modern quartz in every practical way.
Not worry about power supply, you say? Hahaha, good one :-D That was actually one of the biggest problems for me with mechanical watches — you either have to wind them up by hand every day or two, or you have to constantly wear them (automatic watches). If you throw one in a drawer for a few days — it will stop...
Also, another big issue is that most mechanical watches start going too fast if you are being more physically active, or run too slow if you are less active. And that's annoying.
The only case where you don't have to worry about power supply is if you wear something like G-Shock with lithium battery that lasts for 10+ years, coupled with solar cell. That is what I am wearing now, and believe me, compared to this, all mechanical watches are pain in the ass regarding how much maintenance they require...

Then there is making something mechanical that can keep time with any sort of precision.

You are kidding, right? As I said above, literally any modern quartz will be more precise than your high-end expensive mechanical watch.

Edited 2017-05-10 06:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: jewellery
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 12th May 2017 02:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: jewellery"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

If you want real precision, connect that Casio to NTP so it will correct it's time to millisecond precision, or just use your cellphone because it already does that and you have one anyway. Even the most basic of phones use NTP.

However, no people outside of the military operate on millisecond precision, so it's kind of a silly point.

"Any sort of precision", as in roughly the correct time. I'm not claiming they're accurate or precise in the way quartz watches are. I'm amazed they are even able to be approximately correct.

I have mechanical watches, but they aren't high-end and they weren't expensive.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: jewellery
by AndriusDuksta on Fri 12th May 2017 06:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: jewellery"
AndriusDuksta Member since:
2017-05-11

If you want real precision, connect that Casio to NTP so it will correct it's time to millisecond precision

It is already doing that. Syncs to atomic clock in Germany every night.

However, no people outside of the military operate on millisecond precision, so it's kind of a silly point.

No people (including military) need mechanical watches, either, so that, too, is a silly point. My point is, I LIKE and I WANT high-precision watch that never needs adjustment. Never ever.

Edited 2017-05-12 06:04 UTC

Reply Score: 1

I'd get one if...
by ronaldst on Wed 10th May 2017 01:17 UTC
ronaldst
Member since:
2005-06-29

the battery life wasn't such a joke. It should last at least a month. Also the very early planned obsolescence. Which make it another environmental dumpster stuffer.

Reply Score: 6

RE: I'd get one if...
by leech on Wed 10th May 2017 03:50 UTC in reply to "I'd get one if..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Yeah, that's my two biggest complaints with Smart watches. Lack of updates makes it a planned obsolescence and the fact that batteries are not easily replaced.

I do love my Gear S2 Classic 4G, and it has even been nice to use the 'phone' features when I've left my phone behind. But battery life is fairly terrible.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Wed 10th May 2017 05:58 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

The idea that smartwatches are a threat to the luxury watch market is as stupid as thinking Tesla cars are threatening the classic car market. Nothing about a smartwatch is appealing to someone who is into (and collects) nice watches. Both can and do co-exist, and both cater to completely different customers.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Max_Might
by Max_Might on Wed 10th May 2017 06:13 UTC
Max_Might
Member since:
2009-01-06

"... introduction of quartz watches in the '70s ..."

This is a bit off topic but wow, finally someone on the internet, who knows how to use an apostrophe! Abusing it has been so common as of lately.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Max_Might
by Anachronda on Wed 10th May 2017 15:59 UTC in reply to "Comment by Max_Might"
Anachronda Member since:
2007-04-18

This is a bit off topic but wow, finally someone on the internet, who knows how to use an apostrophe!


Probably just consulted the style guide he keeps up in the fo'c's'le.

Reply Score: 1

Predicting the Current Time
by atsureki on Wed 10th May 2017 06:36 UTC
atsureki
Member since:
2006-03-12

It was kind of cute to see 20-something Apple bloggers predict the end of mechanical watches because of Apple's wrist calculator.


I don't recall anyone saying smartwatches would spell the end for mechanical watches. They're obviously different strokes.

What I do recall seeing is lots of observations that Apple Watch is very successful if measured as a competitor within the established watch market, rather than compared with the earth-shattering success of the smartphone revolution.

Maybe even a relatively dumb computer has broader appeal in our time than a smart piece of jewelry. Maybe the saturation curve for wearable tech will be much more acute than that of classical timepieces, and Apple Watch's standing among traditional watches will get a lot less flattering, soon and quickly. The only thing we can be sure of is that not every conceivable pair of two Things is locked in a struggle to the death.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by snorkel1
by snorkel1 on Wed 10th May 2017 06:54 UTC
snorkel1
Member since:
2012-02-25

A lot of mechanical watches are self winding.
Also they will survive an EMP event man-made or otherwise.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by snorkel1
by FooBat on Wed 10th May 2017 07:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by snorkel1"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

A lot of mechanical watches are self winding.

...as long as you are actively wearing them all the time.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by snorkel1
by gan17 on Fri 12th May 2017 18:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by snorkel1"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Also they will survive an EMP event man-made or otherwise.

Survive only up until they'd need to get serviced, that is. Good luck making an appointment with that Panerai technician in the post apocalyptic world.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Wed 10th May 2017 07:31 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't need a smarwatch. A watch must tell me the time and date (I know, my phone does that too).
My watch must be as accurate as possible and possibly have no need to replace the battery, thus solar and radio controlled (Seiko, Citizen).
I also like some mid-range automatic watches, like the Steinhart, but they are more expensive (around 500 euro) and less accurate.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by FooBat on Wed 10th May 2017 07:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by Anonymous Penguin"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

I don't need a smarwatch. A watch must tell me the time and date (I know, my phone does that too).
My watch must be as accurate as possible and possibly have no need to replace the battery, thus solar and radio controlled (Seiko, Citizen).

Exactly! That is why I switched from mechanical automatic to G-Shock Rangeman with solar cell and automatic radio-synchronization with atomic clocks. Best watch I've ever seen. Absolutely maintenance-free, always precise to the second, very rugged (no fear of breaking it). Of course, many people find it ugly looking, but I don't care for looks any more.

Edited 2017-05-10 07:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08


Sorry, I don't get what you mean by this comment.

Reply Score: 1

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Less ugly looking.

Reply Score: 2

No
by pmac on Wed 10th May 2017 11:36 UTC
pmac
Member since:
2009-07-08

I saw no Apple bloggers predict the end of mechanical watches. In fact, I saw the opposite. All of Thom's idols (you know the ones, the Apple bloggers he tweets, disagreeing with everything they say, in a way that reminds of little boys pulling the hair of little girl's they like; desperate for attention), said that they didn't think the people who would buy Apple Watches are the same people who'd buy mechanical watches (Gruber, Arment, et al).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: No
by pmac on Thu 11th May 2017 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
pmac Member since:
2009-07-08

Not a single one of those is from an Apple blogger. They're all tech news sites.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: No
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 12th May 2017 08:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

9to5mac, AppleInsider, and CultOfMac are not Apple sites?

OK.

Fun addition: just today, another Apple blogger claimed the traditional watch industry is doomed.

http://www.loopinsight.com/2017/05/11/another-sign-that-apple-watch...

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: No
by pmac on Fri 12th May 2017 19:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No"
pmac Member since:
2009-07-08

I didn't say the weren't Apple sites, I said they were news sites, not blogs. I could be wrong, but as far as I know Fossil watches are shitty fashion watches and are mostly quartz mechanisms. In any case, the new blog post you referenced hardly affects the accuracy of what I said when I said it.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by The123king
by The123king on Wed 10th May 2017 12:41 UTC
The123king
Member since:
2009-05-28

Now i want me a Sinclair Electronic Watch

Or one of those Casio calculator ones

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by The123king
by CodeMonkey on Wed 10th May 2017 13:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by The123king"
CodeMonkey Member since:
2005-09-22

Or one of those Casio calculator ones


Yes!!! I remember quite fondly my Casio calculator watches over the years during the late 80's and all through the 90's. Thier utility essentially evaporated with the proliferation of mobile phones with much easier to use calculators and phone number banks, (well before smartphones) but they had their time, no pun intented...

And besides, Nobody ever really got excited about storing 10 - 20 phone numbers that you didn't have to remember into a cell phone like they did when you could do it on your wrist!

Sure we're a bit off topic w.r.t. the conversation on mechanical watches, but I'd say it fits well enough with "watch nostolgia".

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by The123king
by AndriusDuksta on Thu 11th May 2017 07:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by The123king"
AndriusDuksta Member since:
2017-05-11

"Or one of those Casio calculator ones


Yes!!! I remember quite fondly my Casio calculator watches over the years during the late 80's and all through the 90's. Thier utility essentially evaporated with the proliferation of mobile phones with much easier to use calculators and phone number banks, (well before smartphones) but they had their time, no pun intented...

And besides, Nobody ever really got excited about storing 10 - 20 phone numbers that you didn't have to remember into a cell phone like they did when you could do it on your wrist!

Sure we're a bit off topic w.r.t. the conversation on mechanical watches, but I'd say it fits well enough with "watch nostolgia".
"

No need to thank me, but:
https://www.theverge.com/2015/6/29/8860737/casio-watches-smartwatch-...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by The123king
by antdude on Thu 11th May 2017 07:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by The123king"
antdude Member since:
2017-05-11

"Or one of those Casio calculator ones


Yes!!! I remember quite fondly my Casio calculator watches over the years during the late 80's and all through the 90's. Thier utility essentially evaporated with the proliferation of mobile phones with much easier to use calculators and phone number banks, (well before smartphones) but they had their time, no pun intented...

And besides, Nobody ever really got excited about storing 10 - 20 phone numbers that you didn't have to remember into a cell phone like they did when you could do it on your wrist!

Sure we're a bit off topic w.r.t. the conversation on mechanical watches, but I'd say it fits well enough with "watch nostolgia".
"I still wear and use a Casio Data Bank 300 watch. ;)

Reply Score: 1