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Baselworld 2016: Hopes are high for a reinvigorated watch sector

The situation may be additionally frustrating given the growing popularity of wearables. As the fair opened its doors, market research firm Strategy Analytics reported the number of smartwatches shipped in the last quarter of 2015 had reached 8.1 million units, overtaking the number of Swiss watches shipped by roughly 200,000. And according to International Data Corp. (IDC), the wearables market is forecast to grow by 38.2 per cent this year.

Gino DeVuono, vice-president of Toronto-based sales agency Specialty Watch Resource, says luxury watch brands are not shying away from wearables, but they are conscious about designing a piece offering connectivity within the look of a traditional watch.

“It looks like a watch and in particular, it looks like a Swiss watch,” he said, referring to Frederique Constant’s smartwatch. “There is still a customer for high-end luxury. Are they going to own a smartwatch? Yes, but it can be part of their wardrobe.

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