As one might have anticipated, the Apple Watch elicited its fair share of groans and critiques from traditional watchmakers who were quick to question the device's utility and design aesthetic. LVMH executive Jean-Claude Biver, for example, said that the watch has no sex appeal, is too feminine, and "looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester."
In a subsequent interview with Forbes, Biver said that the Apple Watch, at present, "cannot compete at all with European watches."
Singing a different tune, though, is Swatch co-inventor Elmar Mock who recently told the website Swissinfo.ch that traditional watch companies would be well advised not to so readily dismiss Apple's foray into the watch market.
Once the Apple Watch goes on sale, we'll soon know whether or not Biver is spot-on or if his pessimism will become yet another example of Apple proving naysayers and skeptics embarrassingly wrong. Recall former Palm CEO Ed Holligan's statements made in the wake of the iPhone unveiling:
The Apple Watch is by far the most attractive of the smartwatches. I would definitely wear it. Don't forget that the early smartphones did not immediately replace conventional mobile phones.
It's understandable why [luxury brands] Breguet, Rolex, Cartier or Patek Philippe are disinterested. Swatch, on the other hand, should be taking a leading a role. Swiss watchmakers seem to have forgotten how they underestimated Japanese quartz watches in the 1970s as mere gadgets and not real watches. That mistake led to the near collapse of the watch industry.
And yet, that's exactly what they did.
We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.