For years, people predicted the death of the wrist watches as mobile phones exploded in popularity.
Some said watches would eventually go the way of Video players and the Walkman.
However, after a drop during the recession, watches are experiencing a comeback. Big visual watches have shown up on red carpets and fashion shows. Retro styled have appeared up on Television shows. And watch companies are brining out new designs and high-tech varieties to suit everyone.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry recently reported that watch exports from Switzerland surged 19.2% in 2011, one of its strongest years of growth in the last 20 years. Swatch Watch. said it was cutting back selling watch parts to other companies to meet their own increasing demands.
Patek Philippe opened its first American store last month in Beverly Hills. And in another sign of the wrist watch’s return, shares of Fossil Inc., a very popular brand for younger people, leaped 31% in one day last week after it reporting a 12% jump in profit in its second quarter.
Industry experts say that as consumers slowly climb out of the Great Recession, many are looking to put a fresh spin on their wardrobes but are unwilling to pay large prices on entire outfits. The cheaper option is to spice things up with new accessories – especially watches.
Watch companies are eagerly courting the lucrative younger clientele which has grown up with mobile phones.
Watches have gone through varying cycles of popularity. Fans of watches say that Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet may have created the first widely known wristwatch for the queen of Naples in the early 19th century.
In the past three decades, mobile phones all but removed the requirement to wear a watch. But companies are fighting back with all new watch styles offered with added functions. Casio last year debuted its first Bluetooth-connected timepiece.
Ironically, watch companies and analysts say the resurgence of watches have a lot to do with the rise of mobile devices.
That seems to be especially the case for men, who have fewer accessory options than women and have thus largely depended on electronic gadgets to stand out, said Mitch Greenblatt, a founder of online retailer Watchismo.