The technological news of the week has been Apple with itsApple Watch, the launch of its own smart watch that wants to rival the major bets of other manufacturers that are already on the market.
But should smartwaches resemble traditional mechanical clocks to succeed, at least in this first batch? Do you have a place in the world of design and fashion? We have spoken with various experts in the sector, who comment on their impressions.
The traditional round clock as a reference?
Yen Rodeiro, a watchmaker and editor and co-founder ofTiempo de Lujo , believes that smart watches “are a new variable needed in the market” and that, after the failure of smart glasses, have opted for “an element that already we are used to it”. Do they need to look like a conventional clock?
Here he explains that it depends on the type of customer, and there are many different: “Those who want to look like a watch to use, because it will be his only watch, or even his first watch. Centuries of craftsmanship and mechanical dexterity and we see it as a new technological product that will not replace the watchmaking that we like, so we will be more open to more breakthrough designs.
Rodeiro is clear about the question of whether round or square: “Throughout history it has been proven that the round clock has taken a toll on sales. There are cases of success in rectangular watches (eg The idea is to transport a computer screen to the wrist, and for that the circular shape is not the most optimizable ” .
Yen Rodeiro: “The idea is to transport a computer screen to the wrist, and for that the circular shape is not the most optimizable”
Andrés Cohen is co-director of Ibernegocios , a company that has been dedicated to the distribution of watchmaking for 25 years, and agrees with what Yen Rodeiro comments: it depends on the customer, although he believes that smart watches are aimed more at technology lovers than lovers Of watchmaking and thattherefore it is not necessary for both watches to resemble each other.
“The closer to the conventional clock, the more it will go away from the design required by the technological generation.” They are very different products and even different markets. A technological gadget. So I do not think it’s key to smartwatch to look like a conventional one, “explains Andrés.
Regarding design, Andres points out that although “more than 80% of the watches sold are round, it does not have to be repeated statistics in smartwatch.” This is due, in his opinion, to “the consumer looking for a design clock or a classic will never go to the smartwatch” and recognizes that for now still “remains to know what kind of design the smartwatch consumer will seek.”
Andrés Cohen: “the consumer looking for a design clock or a classic will never go to smartwatch”
Jordi Colomé , watch expert and watchmaker of the Watch Testpublication , believes that smartwatches are no match for mechanical watches and much less for high-end watchmaking: “In my opinion they are completely different markets with a clearly differentiated public. Factor that most distinguishes both products is the human factor and the added value of manual labor involving mechanical keepers. ”
Round or square? “In terms of design, I do not think that this should be governed by the standards of mechanical watchmaking. Here they have complete freedom, but possibly, and because of the greater use that would imply for a larger screen surface, I consider a square shape more appropriate.”
“In fact,” adds Jordi, “the round shape of mechanical watch cases came, initially, somehow imposed by the fact that the hour, minute, and second hands described a circle in their path and was, for It was more logical to adopt the same morphology in the boxes, but other forms, such as squares and rectangles, which were much appreciated in Haute Horlogerie by the fact of having mechanical movements “of form” in their interior, soon appeared.
Jordi believes that smwartwatches, even for a specific audience, “have arrived to stay” and warns that technology companies will soon have a major competition in the watch manufacturers themselves: “surely (Montblanc presented its e-Strap in The SIHH of this 2015 and in the next edition of Baselworld that begins next week will present already models of Alpina and Frederique Constant) the manufactures of traditionally mechanical watches will make their pinitos in this new niche of market and will present / display worthy competition.
Jordi Colomé: “Traditionally mechanical watches manufacturers will make their mark in this new market niche and will present worthy competition”
On whether it is key that a smartwatch resembles a conventional clock, we asked María Llanos , editorial director of the Weblogs SL Women’s and Lifestyle Channel: “We do not know what the keys are. New product and has to conquer.create an effect of desire and need.It must be beautiful, understandable and easy to use. ”
Square or round? Maria points out that there are tastes for everything and that “each one will look for the one that goes more with his style”. She prefers the classic-looking ones and explains that ” those that are rectangular do not fit in the looks of a natural way, and I would bet that Apple is working on other more classic aesthetics for a future. like.”
María Llanos: “I would bet that Apple is working on other more classic aesthetics for a future”
The timelessness of mechanical watches
For Daniel Jiménez , from the design brand of Pita Barcelona handmade watches , there is a fundamental difference between a mechanical watch and a smartwatch: “Mechanical watches are timeless because there is a craftsmanship, they are created piece by piece of the customer and by Both you can create a thousand shapes not only round / square, they can be repaired even if 100 years pass and their value is stable or increases with time.That is why a mechanical gold watch has a high value, because within 100 years will continue to work and Its value will be maintained or increased.”
As he explains, in his opinion digital watches or smartwatches “have a functional reason and not so emotional (I do not think many people by now take it saying, how nice I have left in the wrist!”), Which in turn Has an expiration date: “as they are based on technology, this is in turn the reason for its popularity and its abandonment in a few years.Who will take the smartwatch from 4 years ago, if all the features are outdated? How often do we change our mobile or computer? ”
Daniel Jiménez: “Who will take the smartwatch 4 years ago, if all the features are outdated? How often do we change our mobile or computer?”
For this reason, he does not see any sense to the golden smartwatches: “We are basically accepting that we will pay an awful lot for something that will be completely useless in a few years (due to scheduled obsolescence), and then we have to throw (or leave in a drawer ) This contrasts with’ grandfather ‘s clock’, which is, and will remain in 100 years a useful object of collection and investment.
Jordi Colomé makes a similar reading and, for him, the need to update software or the complete equipment is, along with the tightness and autonomy, three outstanding issues of current smartwatches: “It is conceivable that a piece with a price The only added value they bring is the material used in the watch case, nothing more.”
Can smartwatches succeed in the design world?And fashion?
Here, for Yen Rodeiro, the key lies in the functionalities both for the technology buyer and for the watch shopper: “The traditional watchmaker will not ask for what they already have their watches, but will be more demanding in other respects ( Autonomy, connectivity, interface.) We will ask the same thing as a technological element. ”
Yen Rodeiro: “The traditional watch buyer will not ask you what your watches already have”
And in fashion? Maria Llanos explains that “contrary to what is thought, futuristic aesthetics do not always help you like the avant-garde.” For her, “If the smartwatch is more futuristic, it takes on too much importance and people do not usually want to get noticed. I think the beginnings will be easier for classic aesthetics, although the market that Apple/IOS has conquered will do Let him succeed whatever he does.”