Apple Watch Outsold the Entire Swiss Industry … By 10 Million Units

The first name in horology has been put on notice

Apple Watch smartwatch
How popular are Apple Watches? Apparently, more popular than every Swiss watch company combined.
Alvaro Reyes/Unsplash
By Alex Lauer / February 6, 2020 12:36 pm

Wearing an analog watch is a comforting feeling in 2020, letting you tell the time without pulling out your phone, getting distracted by apps or adding to your “screen time.” But none of those seem to be good enough reasons for modern watch buyers.

The Apple Watch sold more units than the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics detailed at CNBC. And it wasn’t even close.

While Apple doesn’t release exact numbers, the market research firm estimates that 30.7 million of the smartwatches were shipped compared to just 21.1 million watches from every single Swiss brand. These figures also play out amongst the respective entities; Apple reported a 27% increase in net sales in its wearable division in 2019, while Swiss watch export numbers fell 13%, according to CNBC.

First and foremost, this is a blow to the pride of the Swiss watch industry, which is equated with the highest quality timepieces in the world, especially because we’re only talking about Apple and not other smartwatch makers outside of Switzerland. But more than that, Strategy Analytics said it could get worse if action isn’t taken. 

“The window for Swiss watch brands to make an impact in smartwatches is closing. Time may be running out for Swatch, Tissot, TAG Heuer, and others,” the firm told CNBC.

Of course, not all watches are created equal, and when these wholistic figures are pared down, pitting the Apple Watch versus a brand like Rolex, the story gets more complicated. While Apple is playing the game of scale and technology, premium Swiss brands, which are more focused on offering watches that won’t become obsolete and can be passed down through generations, are also more profitable through higher margins. 

In other words, don’t count the Swiss out just yet.

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