With the increased presence of Smartphones and other high tech devices, how is it that old-fashion watches are sold and companies like Fossil, Citizen, and Seiko still generate revenue?
In the early 15th century, Nuremberg watchmaker, Peter Henlein, invented the first watch — simply a timepiece worn as a pendant. There are several different theories, however, for the origin of the “wristwatch”. Whether the first wristwatch was created by Robert Dudley in 1571 for Elizabeth I of England or Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1810 for the Queen of Naples, wristwatches weren’t noticeable in the Americas until the late 1800s. At this point in history, watches were almost exclusively worn by women. Soldiers and officers in the military were the first men to wear wristwatches, since a pocket watch was difficult to use during a time of war. After World War I, the watch solidified its place in everyday men’s fashion.
Today, there are thousands of brands and manufactures for the everyday person to buy. Some of these brands like Rolex, are high-end watches that have been around since the beginning of the 1900s; others like Fossil have not been around quite as long — the Fossil brand was founded in 1954 — but create quality watches at a lower price-point.
In addition to traditional watches, today, we have what is called a “Smartwatch”. These watches can track the steps you take, sleep patterns, and even alert you of texts, emails, and social media notifications. Even with these watches gaining popularity, their sales are still aren’t within reach of the sales of classic wristwatches.
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work for a Fossil retail location selling their watches. It certainly is an interesting experience. All different types of people walk into our store looking for a watch. Rich people, middle class people, students graduating, even young fiances about to be married come in to buy a watch.
Below are several reasons why I think classic watches are still around today.
- Watches are a fashion staple
Whether you’re going to a nice dinner, work or even school, wearing watches are an iconic part of any ensemble; someone wearing a watch will always receive compliments on the watch they are wearing. Even if someone mostly looks at their phone to check the time, some still feel “naked” not wearing a watch.
- Buying/Gifting a watch is a “rite-of-passage”
People buy and gift watches for birthdays, graduations, and even weddings. Today, watches are a part of growing up and a milestone to adulthood. It symbolizes professionalism and the independence of one’s own schedule. Plus, a quality watch makes a fantastic heirloom that can be passed down for generations to come.
- Checking the time on your phone
In some cases, checking the time on your phone may be considered rude. It is always nice to have a watch on to check the time with because it can help with unplugging from mobile devices. Also, some jobs like those in the military, police or firefighting require workers to track time, but using a phone would hinder their ability to work. Even though those professions only make up a sliver of the total work force, no matter where you are, where you’re working or who you’re with, it is still a sign a of courtesy to not be glued to a mobile device. Having a watch to check the time allows you to not become distracted by other aspects of a phone, and can also improve the interactions you have well with others, as well as the quality of the work you produce.
- Watches are like tattoos
Most people with tattoos will say that once you get one tattoo, you’ll want another. Watches are the same way for some people. Once you buy one nice wristwatch, you’re constantly looking for the next watch you want to buy to diversify your wardrobe.
Personally, if I don’t wear a watch or have a clock around, I have almost no concept of the movement of time. Sure, in some cases this isn’t a bad thing, but if I have work, school or some other timely event, it is always beneficial to me to have my watch on me so I can stay focused.
- There’s something for everyone
If you like metal bands over leather, silver gold, digital faces over analog ones, sports watches over dressy ones, “unique” cases/bezels over traditional ones or even wild and crazy colors, there is a watch out there that can fit anyone’s needs and/or wants.
One the most aspects of the world we live in today is time. We as humans will always be concerned with tracking and trying to control the time that we have. Wristwatches allow this to happen. In all of the glory of a watch’s professionalism, function and pure style, a classical watch’s time will never run out.