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Swatch Co-Inventor: Apple Will Succeed and an Ice Age Is Coming for Swiss Watches

Swatch Co Inventor Apple Will Succeed and an Ice Age Is Coming for Swiss Watches Bloomberg Business


Apple Inc. may soon sell as many timepieces as all of Switzerland, threatening the country’s four-century-old industry, the co-inventor of the Swatch predicted.

The Apple Watch may reach sales of 20 million to 30 million units annually in the first few years, Elmar Mock said by phone on Tuesday. Switzerland exported 28.6 million watches in 2014. The Apple Watch will be available next month starting at $349 for a Sport model, $549 for a midrange version, and $10,000 for the high-end Apple Watch Edition.

“Apple will succeed quickly,” said the 61-year-old, who helped create the low-price Swatch in the 1980s. “It will put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland.”

Apple is set to challenge Switzerland’s $38 billion watch industry after the Cupertino, California-based company shook up markets such as music by driving consumers from CDs to iTunes and eroded Nokia Oyj’s dominance by redefining the mobile phone. While some Swiss brands such as Tissot, TAG Heuer and Montblanc are dipping their toes in the smartwatch market, the industry as a whole has been underestimating the threat, Mock said.

“Anything in the price range of 500 francs to 1,000 francs is really in danger,” said Mock, speaking by phone from Biel, Switzerland. “I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us.”

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There were plenty of swatches in the sub-$100 range.

Apple needs a sub-$100 option for this to be huge.

Like the watch equivalent of iPod shuffle.

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