The smart watch has been something of a phenomenon in the past 5 years, going from bulky wrist mounted boxes with little function to sleek miniature computers. This has largely been brought about by the relentless pace that technology moves at, and by smartphones specifically. The smart phone outsells the smart watch by a vast amount, and the endless drive for more tech in a smaller space with the phone has helped the watch, and to some extent other wearables. It means that the smart watch can now provide a lot of the functions that a phone can, with the added bonus that it’s attached to you all the time, so you never miss a thing. Whilst some might not see this as an advantage, in the digitally connected world we live in today, it certainly has it’s advantages.
However, whilst smartphones are seen by many as a tool, and apart from the sleek industrial look of the iPhone a lot of people aren’t concerned with the way they look, the watch is another matter. For hundreds of years they have been the bastion of good taste, and a mark of wealth. Whilst the main function of the watch is to tell the time, it has always been more concerned with the look of the case and the connection that the brand has.
For that reason, sales of smartwatches have been stagnating, as many of them look like generic dark grey boxes, like the smartphone. While this doesn’t bother the smartphone user, it has more significance for the watch buyer. However, an uptake of sales in the past year or so can be attributed to clever brands seeing a gap in the market. With the amazing off the shelf OS capability of Google’s Android Wear, brands that might not have even produced watches in the past are being drawn into the market, with the ease of entry obvious. If Michael Kors is selling a smartwatch to their brand devotees, then why not Dolce & Gabanna or Ralph Lauren.
So, in the past year or so there has been an explosion in branded smart watches released, with everyone from Armani to Gucci to Hugo Boss Black watches getting in on the act. The majority of these run Android Wear, so the digital technology inside is both well tested and flexible enough to appear different between manufacturers, and it leaves the design houses to concentrate on what they do best, the look of the watch.