Watchmakers have spent hundreds of years mastering the complications of the wrist watch. But are watches finally making a comeback now?
The intricate gearing and mechanical engineer that goes into luxury watches like Rolex and Patek Phillippe is something of genius. It is no wonder that people still marvel at something that looks so simple from the outside has inner workings that are so precise they can last hundreds of years without being reset.
In an age where digital devices rule the world, it is nice to find solace in something as elegant as a wrist watch. While many watch makers did see a dib in sales during the raise of the smartphone, the popularity of wrist watches has made a comeback and shows no sign of slowing down.
Were analog watches ever out of style?
It was only a couple years ago that publications talked about analog watches being something of the past. This assumption was not ignorant by any means, especially with the enormous pre-order response of the Apple watch. What some naysayers of the analog watch failed to realize, was that watches are just as much a fashion item as they are a way to tell time.
Men really have only a few options for wrist/hand jewelry – wedding ring and watch. The right watch completes an outfit and shows sophistication. After all, wearing a Patek Phillippe with your tuxedo escalates your style to a level an Apple watch could probably never achieve.
Millennial entrepreneurs are building massively successful watch companies
It was just a matter of time for millennial entrepreneurs to realize there was a gap in the watch market. Most millennials grew up wearing a G-Shock or Fossil watches and seeing their grandparents wearing more classic time pieces. Realizing an opportunity, companies started producing stylish watches that replicated the traditional watch designs.
Companies like MVMT started capitalizing on this new found trend, offering watches with a designer look, at an affordable $100 price point. And it isn’t just one company jumping on this trend either. In 2011, a 24-year old Swedish man, Daniel Wellington, founded a watch business that took inspiration from Rolex and created a minimalistic watch that costed less than $200. Within five years, his company had already generated over $200 million in revenue, selling over one million watches a year.
While companies like Apple are pushing to evolve their digital smart watches, classic analog watches are making a comeback in the emerging millennial market. Time has shown us that millennials are searching for a timepiece, with a high end luxury look, but without the expensive price tag. This hesitation to price is likely to change as the millennials become more accustomed to wearing a wrist watch.
Top reasons why you should start wearing a watch
The excuse that you have a cell phone and do not need a wrist watch is becoming less valid as people are weaning off chronic cell phone use. More millennials are realizing the appeal to wrist watches. If you are not convinced yet that watches are making a comeback, consider the following:
- Watches are more functional than cell phones – most watches today are self-powered and use a very small amount of energy, lasting years or decades. Compare this to your smartphone’s battery life of a day, or less.
- Watches provide convenience – when you are at the beach, or anywhere you wouldn’t want to take an expensive device, watches provide a convenient way to tell time.
- Watches can attract attention. I am not talking about the attention one gets from wearing an XXL rapper style watch, but more so, the attention you get from a classy watching completing an outfit.
- Watches are great heirloom items. Uou never hear of anyone passing an iPhone down from one generation to the next. A quality watch will last for hundreds of years with only modest maintenance, making them the perfect heirloom gift.
- They are a conversation piece – because so many have assumed watches are disappearing as smart phones take over, a nice wrist watch can be a great time conversation starter at your next event.
We have a long history with telling time
The original tracking of the passage of time dates back to 1500 BC. Measured by an Egyptian device that shadowed cast by its crossbar on a nonlinear rule. Fast forward to the start of the 14th century and the invention of the first mechanical clocks. It wasn’t until the mid-1600’s when the standard timekeeping device, the pendulum clock, was invented.
During the World War I, soldiers ever frustrated by having to dig through their pockets for their watches and started to wear them on their wrist. This led to the massive expansion in men’s wrist watches and the creation of the popular “field watch” style.
Today, watchmakers continue to push the limits in watch design. They’ve created calendar watches with over 50 complications and thousands of components – none of them being computerized. While this is on the extreme end of things in terms of complications (and price – fetching a cool $5 million USD), many watch companies are able to provide a watch with mechanical magnificence that smart phones cannot rival.