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Smartwatches: They’re cool, but are they a game-changer for the watch industry?

Watch fans in the making

A recent survey by MVI Marketing's Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council found two-thirds of watch wearers it polled said they would purchase a smartwatch like Samsung's Galaxy Gear.
A recent survey by MVI Marketing’s Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council found two-thirds of watch wearers it polled said they would purchase a smartwatch like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

Early adopters of new technology tend to be young adults, but in this case, will a generation that grew up using a smartphone to tell time even gravitate toward smartwatches when they’re not used to wearing a watch at all? Whether a smartwatch or not, Freiberg believes teens eventually turn to timepieces as they get older.

“You start to see interest in watches when people hit their 20s and they get the job they wanted and they want the watch to go with the suit they bought to go with the job,” he explains. “And they don’t just want the look; they want to appreciate what is going on inside the watch.”

Geronimo agrees. He counts eight watches in his collection, but admits he didn’t wear one at all until college. While he believes today’s younger generation is likely to follow a similar path, the smartwatch craze might actually create watch fans that will mature into enthusiasts of higher-end timepieces.

“As with smartphones, this generation is going to want this sort of technology because it’s cool and new,” he says. “What that is going to do is put watches on people who might not have otherwise worn them, at least at a certain age.”

DeVuono says he’s not entirely convinced younger demographics will naturally lean toward smartwatches, given their desire to be constantly connected. That’s what their smartphones are for.

“I think younger people wear designer watches so they have an affiliation with that designer and that designing trend,” he explains. “I think smartwatches are going to add a layer to the watch industry, as opposed to replacing it,” he adds.

In the end, Freiberg believes the decision consumers will be making is between which smartwatch to buy, rather than whether they should be picking up a smartwatch or opting for the old-fashioned way of telling time.

“These are two completely different clients,” he says. “Watches are basically an interest like any other, such as learning chess or loving art. It’s just something people get into and find themselves fascinated by.”

You could say traditional watches are bound to stand the test of time.

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