From various sources I have deduced that three defining factors give a wristwatch luxury.
Prestige -From a wristwatch perspective, this is an expectation of quality which can only be obtained over many years. The greater and grander the history, the greater the prestige and thus this is a major factor in the price you pay.
Watch Housing/Body – This section clearly separates the luxurious from the standard. The aesthetics, material, finish and build assembly all define the tangible product that represents the brand. Mass manufactured plastic will always loose too machined stainless steel. Precious metals and stones will always add value.
Ultimately many variants define the base value of a watch, but by using the very best in all areas an superior watch will always be produced.
Movement – This is the mechanism inside the watch.
Watch company’s spend millions on producing their own in-house movements and this alone can justify the price. Using a basic industry respected movement will get a basic appreciation, but these movements can vary from £20 to £200 and limit the maximum price a watches final price.
They do far more than you could ever dream your conventional watch could do. A microcomputer on your arm doesn’t have the most space to interface with, but still a convenient midpoint between you and your smart device.
There is a place for the smart watch but it shouldn’t replace the traditional mechanical wristwatch.
Power – The basic and most important function for a watch is to tell the time. The most popular Apple Watch cannot go more than 18hours without having to be recharged. This 18hours is a best case scenario – after a year or two of use this usage time will decrease, this is because over time battery’s degrade. A typical mechanical wrist watch battery will last 2 years and kinetic or Automatic watches do not require battery’s.
Value – Initial outlay is high specifically for the top end smart watches that utilise precious metals, yet to date you do not see these holding or increasing in value. History has shown us that watches of the prestige’s brands often hold or increased in value.
Desuetude – Built in obsolescence of the smartwatch takes the form in software that will inevitably outgrow the hardware of the device (usually after 2 years if you’re lucky). Thus, making it slow, laggy and not being able to perform its functions properly.
Fashion – Wearable technology is the new buzz word, but will the trend compete with tradition? A dress watch compliments a suit, would smart watch look in place? Smart watches already have precious metal coating and it’s only a matter of time until they introduce precious stones. Currently there is far much more choice to suite you with a tradition wrist watch.
Choice – Recently smart watches have started to outsell Swiss watches. This is more likely to do with the high end of the market. For those of you who do not have £500 and upwards to spend on a watch, a mechanical watch will be far more affordable and you will will have a hundred fold more choice.
From this BBC article, it is clear that wearable technology is an increasingly relevant utility in our ever technology driven lives.
“There is no need for a watch in these modern times” some might say and whilst in part true I would dare to suggest the opposite. There is every need for a luxury watch in these modern times because the wristwatch is timeless.
Today your smart phone is arguably being used less as a traditional phone and more for it’s other utilities such as internet based services, camera and music player. The same can also be said for the wristwatch which has a primary function of telling the time but is equally worn to compliment your attire.
“It gets more to do with status the older they get.” – The BBC Article
This is the whole concept of a luxury wristwatch and therefore they will always have place in the modern world.
So, Should Wearable Technology Challenge the Wristwatch?
Although some brands are tinkering with smart watches (Tag-Heuer for example), ultimately, they do not need to challenge as they are two separate pieces of technology that share the same function.
Like a vintage Rolls Royce or Bentley being compared to be new Ford Fiesta packed to the brim with technology – there is no replacement for class.
W1V2 is a wrist watch brand targeting the modern watch market. Precision engineered components that are hard anodised have been used to produce a quality British assembled product.
The images below show proof-of-concept for the assembly method. An improved aesthetic version is in the process of being manufactured and will utilise the same double O-ring sealing design.
The W1V2 concept was also test fitted for each component to address any errors discovered with regards to ergonomics and function. Errors found included missing second indicators on the dial face and the movement stem failing to stand proud of the hour hand.
W1V2 Concept Front
W1V2 Concept Back
A further aesthetic to be addressed in the next version of W1V2 is the matching of the strap colour to the watch body. As seen above it was difficult to pair the natural grey of the hard anodised watch body to a strap of the same colour and so in the next version an all-black anodised body (and dial face) will be manufactured to create a uniform design. A suitable crown has also been identified and sourced and this will completed the sub-sea capability of the watch to survive depths of 100 metres minimum.
As the final version of W1V2 is being produced, a suitable watch-box and packaging is being researched and an online presence is being nurtured.