Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.
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  1. #1
    Member James A's Avatar
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    Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    It was 47 years ago in 1969 that Seiko launched the Seiko Astron quartz watch.
    Most of you know the story … the start of a revolution that swept through the watch industry and sent many companies to the wall…. that period in time is now referred to as the Quartz crisis.

    However, a new crisis may be emerging and … this time it’s for quartz!

    Here a sales report from Cnet.

    Thanks to Apple Watch, smartwatch sales could hit $11.5 billion this year - CNET!


    In the last quarter of 2015 Smart watch shipments totalled a whopping 8.1 million units shipped compared with 7.9 Swiss watch shipments according to watch-next.

    I don’t have the figures for Japanese watch shipments for the same period but don’t think the Japanese haven’t noticed. Seiko in particular have their boffins working on a Smartwatch. Make no mistake when Seiko enter the arena it won’t be a token effort.
    Here Seiko chief Hirohiko Umemoto talks to watch-next about their plans.

    Exclusive: Seiko studying a smart watch as global sales eclipse Swiss watches - Watch Next

    Apple have established a market that is growing beyond early adopters, tech geeks and the army of Apple fans. Young watch buyers entering the market today when faced with a choice of choosing a quartz watch or a smartwatch are increasingly looking to take the smartwatch option.

    Jean-Claude Biver the Tag Heuer boss recently told T&T that their biggest selling sku last year was their smart watch. He too confirms the cooling of quartz.

    VIDEO: The Long View with TAG Heuer's CEO, Jean-Claude Biver - Time and Tide Watches

    A temperature test would show the smartwatch as hot and quartz as tepid. I’m reminded of the old joke “That the difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer is taste “and for many a watch lover the smartwatch leaves a bad taste.

    So where then will it leave watch lovers? Is it folly to mourn quartz? Watches have always developed and ‘improved’ along the timeline from the English fusee to Swiss lever, tuning fork to electric. All have had their time in the sun and contributed to the story of the watch. The big difference this time is the smartwatch hasn’t grown out of the watch industry. Finally as the watch buying public begin to turn the page on quartz will collectors look to the early period of quartz with new eyes?

    With smartwatches getting their time from the cellular network there may well arise a nostalgia for (ye oldie world of) quartz mechanisms. A quartz crystal finely shaped into a fork then electrified to resonate and vibrate. Those vibrations are counted and translated to a 1 second step in time that motivates a drive train to turn the hands of a watch.

    Regards,

  2. #2
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    Still hard to predict.

    Of my regular watches, the solar-atomic quartz models are the best pick-up-and-go choices, by far. Although I have to make sure they remain where they can get some decent light, they're always ready if I change my mood.

    My automatics, however, are a nice counter to either my quartz watches or my smartwatch. They just need a few turns of the crown (some days more than others) and their old-style mechanisms happily tick away.

    But here's the thing: they've all taken a back seat to my smartwatch for daily wear.

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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    Smartwatches will not replace traditional wrist watches, neither quartz or mechanical. They are an add-on to a phone and will be replaced by the next iteration every couple of years, just like the phone.

    Luxury watches on the other hand are jewelry with a time telling function, and that's a totally different market. And cheap watches are simply much cheaper and more practical than smartwatches, so they won't be replaced either.

    The real threat to the watch was the mobile phone, which made many people abandon their watches and read the time on the display they carried anyway. Still, the value of Swiss watch exports increased from 10.3 billion $ in 2000 to 22.3 billion $ in 2014 (according to statista.com). The development of new markets in Asia had a far greater effect on the Swiss watch sales than the global spreading of mobile phones.

    I do see that some watch models will face hard times, e.g. Tissot T-Touch and other techy models priced in the $200 - $1000 range, which compete rather directly with the Apple watch. I'm not concerned about the vast majority of the watch market, though.

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    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    I wonder how many replies to this thread will come from smartwatch owners.

    I posted a basic poll over at MacRumors asking how many AW wearers already regularly wore watches, and just over a third did not.

    If my little poll reflects the overall market at all, yeah, I could say they're not in direct competition for a lot of people. But it's still two-thirds of AW owners who are, at least partially, replacing their regular watches.

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    Member ffritz's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    But it's still two-thirds of AW owners who are, at least partially, replacing their regular watches.
    Replacing or adding to the rotation? How can you tell?

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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    The battle never ends.
    rkamarowski likes this.
    2019

  8. #7
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by ffritz View Post
    Replacing or adding to the rotation? How can you tell?
    I'd guess it was probably half-and-half. Some owners who had pretty good collections said they were starting to sell off most of their watches simply because they weren't wearing them anymore.

  9. #8
    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    As many prospective smartwatch buyers would probably have gone for a quartz watch it's the sales of those that will feel the pressure more than mechanicals.
    AndrewFromTexas and tigerpac like this.

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    Ard
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    I have no doubt that for the constantly texting generation this is true, however I don't care at all.

    At my age I have seen and heard what I consider to have been the best that mankind can offer. The music, the artists, the space program, and on and on. Today what do I see introduced? I see a new world, a generation so desperately trying to become more. Extreme sports, extreme music, extreme art, private space programs, and now some gadget you wear on your wrist that would confuse even Dick Tracy. I read about these things and I think; you gotts be shi----- me! Just what someone who seldom ever stares into the sky with wonder needs!

    I'll be 62 in a few months and unlike so many I have heard say "I wish I were 20 again" I sure as hell don't wish that. Old age is coming fast for me and I welcome it. I'm so fortunate to have lived when I have and how I have that I am smug about my existence. Trust me when I say that Smart Watches are the least of our worries. It is the self absorbed data fueled people gripping their smart phones, staring into the screens, sliding screen to screen even while eating or sitting on the john that are going to ride this whole thing as it collapses not I.

    Fatalist? I think not. Stupid, ignorant, uneducated, a luddite? Not hardly. I'm living an existence, most of it spent outdoors and by the way I wear my stupid Swiss watches while I do all of this.


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    Member janiboi's Avatar
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    Re: Quartz Crises 2. The beginning of the end.

    If Apple (et al) can make their smart watches look like this, I'm in:
    If not, I can't see the end of quartz.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Grand Seiko SBGA229
    Omega Speedmaster 3570.50
    Omega Planet Ocean 8500
    Limes Endurance 1000 GMT3

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