Something I thought about today:
On Apple's website, there are videos
showcasing the alloys they are using for the Apple Watch. There is one for gold, stainless steel, and aluminium (for you brits
). As Apple doesn't always go into a lot
of detail regarding their production techniques, they do like to brag a bit. Bragging about the materials in the Watch gives us some insight into production quality, but I also thought it might accomplish something else.
I have been reading a bit about watch materials, and it seems that every high-end watch manufacturer brags about their own "custom" alloys. While there do appear to be some genuine "custom" alloys, they are all seemingly similar to a certain extent, and no one talks about their own, in-house formulas all that much other than to say "we use x-blend of this and that to create the hardest, most durable alloys". Every watch manufacturer has a marketing tagline pretending that their alloy is teh awesome!
So along comes Apple and the big-time watch makers begin the poo-pooing similar to the phone industry, making all these claims that Apple can't just walk in here and enter this market and compete and blah blah blah. "We have more experience" and "we have better materials" and such.
So along comes Apple and releases these videos playing the same game. "We have this formula and that formula," they say.
It's almost like they're all playing a game of poker and Apple just went all in. The other players have only two choices: 1) Match Apple's bet and call their bluff; or 2) fold.
To match Apple's bet, they must show their own alloys to be superior, which might mean releasing some long-held corporate secrets. To fold would be to admit that Apple's watches are actually made from materials as good as — if not better than — their own custom alloys. Either way, they are forced to legitimize Apple's claims. Either prove their materials are better, or admit they aren't.
I think the watch industry is going to find itself in a bit of a paradox, and I'm not even talking about the Apple Watch's software. I'm only talking about the hardware. The fit and finish seems exceptional and the attention to detail is as robust as any swiss maker (excluding the tiny gears, of course). Truly, the customary swiss makers and Apple cannot
be compared in terms of movements. The swiss maker's movements are all miniaturized mechanical masterpieces, while Apple's movement is a revolution in digital miniaturization. However, the thing the movement's sit in (the body) and that silly thing that wraps around your wrist can
What I'm getting at is that with Apple Watch 1.0, Apple appears to have nailed it in terms of the physical parts of the Watch. Expert craftsmanship, superb attention to detail, materials R&D, etc. And they've done this on a scale no other maker can match.
I'm no expert, but after some reading and video watching, I can't come up with a reason that Apple's watch body and bands aren't as good as anyone else in the industry. The software will need some tweaking, and I'm sure there are minor issues with the hardware, but for a 1.0 product,
At the end of the day, I think a lot of really nice watches are going to be stuffed into a drawer, replaced by a new really nice watch that does things mechanical watches can't even fantasize about. And those new really nice watches are going to look and feel just as good as the old thing.