Affairs

Some free market research on why smartwatches are failing.

LONDON — Montblanc released a new smartwatch in London last week — and suffice it to say, the response, at least among Hodinkee readers, was far from favorable.

Some invaluable insights here for the Montblanc team — and other smartwatch players — if they’re paying attention.

The highlights:

“Like many, including myself, a “smart watch” is not a watch, it’s a tool or a wrist worn piece of tech. The appreciation for Horology for most collectors is in the art of watchmaking, the skill of building a luxury timepiece, and the history. Are these pieces of tech cool, sure, they have some solid features, but are really just an extension of your cell phone. To me, as a watch collector/enthusiast and someone who truly appreciates the world of high Horology, a smart watch will never replace a mechanical timepiece……end rant lol :-)”
– WristCheck

“First – what a load of hooey regarding the “inspiration” for this watch. I’m certain there are no outlets on the Matterhorn. Second, Montblanc is now exemplifying what Peter Lynch described as the downhill slide that poorly managed companies undergo – “diworsification.” Lastly, who would purchase a mechanical that failed if it wasn’t wound nightly ? The watch gives new meaning to the notion of inadequate power reserve. Arrgh.”
– JayMrt

“I love a good made in China smartwatch.
Said no-one ever.”
– BLZ

“Seems like more brands are getting into this smartwatch hype. If a brand like Rolex starts to make smartwatches at some point, then I’m moving to another planet.”
– SohnofaLange

“Have to comment again on the size issue here because it’s really outrageous. Even that New Yorker article gave Hodinkee some of the credit for moving the watch world back away from the absurd dinner-plate trend, and I have always felt that might be the case and hoped it would be, yet here we have a photo of a ridiculous, 46mm wide, incredibly thick (that’s more than 12.5mm!) watch with the lugs literally hanging over the edge of the wrist and the caption says it “doesn’t look too big”. (And you’ve pulled the sleeve cuff carefully over part of the bezel to make it seem like this might actually ever happen — sorry but I’m calling that.) And then another photo showing the watch’s mile-high profile and a caption saying “well proportioned”. I mean, what? If we all really do agree with Shteyngart and find (as I do) that all those men “with something to prove” and their dinner plates in their wrists just look silly, then why legitimise that look?”
– PaulMiller

“Feels like the quartz revolution. Stephen’s work and pictures are great I just cringe every time I hear or see a smart watch post. Watch manufactures need to be a bit more creative and not just jump on the Smart Watch band wagon. How about coming up with more useable complications or an oscillator that loses less time and can compete against a quartz, smart watch or atomic clock instead of following the herd. The quartz days were the same. Stay true to form manufactures!! don’t buckle under the pressure. Make what you have more efficient. You are not battling against Apple or Google they are battling against you. As soon as you realize that the stronger you will be as a whole. You cannot compare the craftsmanship of a mechanical watch to a smart watch. I understand the amount of time that goes into creating a smart watch but a mechanical watch feels alive with a beating heart. You will not get that emotional almost human like connection with a smartwatch.”
– Geor9e

Why this matters: Hodinkee — arguably the most important and influential watch publication in existence today — is a hub for the watch community: casual fans, insiders, collectors, and actual watch brand owners themselves all gather there. Its young readers are the next generation of watch collectors: and they know their stuff and often tell it like it is — often with their names attached. So although it may seem superficial or anecdotal, for watch companies and key decision makers at brand, Hodinkee’s comments section can be a valuable treasure trove of free market research.

What this says about the smartwatch market: Consumers aren’t fooled by the bells and whistles smartwatches bring to the table. The question we’ve asked at Lean Luxe is whether connected capabilities, and making the watch a smartphone for the wrist, is an improvement on a tool that’s served us just fine for centuries (literally). It seems consumers are asking the very same question. Not even Apple is immune to this.

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