Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wrist watches are here to stay despite competition from mobile phones

While wrist watches are being replaced by the mobile phone, they will continue to have staying power by going upscale and becoming luxury items.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

A watch used to be a rite of passage as part of growing up, something that your parents would buy for you when you were “old enough” to tell the time.

But in a world which mobile phones and smart phones do everything from tell the time to the humidity and even your elevation, why would you need a watch anymore? Especially with generation-y and the kids after them, a massive number of people are used to looking at the time via their iPhones, Blackberries and Nokias.

Statistics have shown that the global sales of watches have been in constant decline since 2005, even after accounting for the economic recession that hit the United States

For watch lovers however, there is no need to fear that the wrist watch will be consigned to the dustbins of history, as watches are a direct parallel to the fate of fountain pens.

Once common in every school child’s and office workers stationary, the invention and mass production of the cheap ball pen was thought to drive the fountain pen to extinction. It has survived those predictions by shifting to targeting enthusiasts and the niche luxury market, where prices can reach over US $1000 per pen. In fact, an industry report forecasts that between 2009-2014, watch demand will expand 5.9 percent annually to US $4.0 billion with multiple purchases of luxury watches leading the way.

While for the most of us wrist watches will be replaced by our cell phones and no longer be a necessity, they will certainly still be here to stay.

Photo credit: hjrosasq
Statistics source: Freedonia Focus in Jewelry, Watches and Clocks, November 2010


  1. Wrist watches will never be replaced by the mobile phone. Its a fact that some teenagers prefer to use their mobile phone instead of a wrist watch, but once they grow up and realize that a watch is one of the few accessories adding to your prestige and reputation.

  2. While it is true that a watch will remain a luxury item, the trend of declining sales is not just limited to teenagers but to most demographics as the statistics show. You are right in saying that it adds to your prestige though :)

  3. I really like you data graph - can you cite where it from - or did you create it? If so can you share the data sources? Thanks.

  4. Hi Dan

    It's from a report from Freedonia, titled Focus in Jewelry, Watches and Clocks. It was published in November 2010.