The Apple Watch will do to the luxury watch industry what the iPhone did to the phone industry, which is to say it will almost completely erase regular luxury watches from existence, with Switzerland taking the biggest hit. At least, that’s what Swatch co-inventor Elmar Mock claims is going to happen, saying that the release of the Apple Watch will usher in an “Ice Age” for the Swiss watch industry.
Apple Inc. may soon sell as many timepieces as all of Switzerland, threatening the country’s four-century-old industry, the co-inventor of the Swatch predicted. The Apple Watch may reach sales of 20 million to 30 million units annually in the first few years, Elmar Mock said by phone on Tuesday. Switzerland exported 28.6 million watches in 2014. The Apple Watch will be available next month starting at $349 for a Sport model, $549 for a midrange version, and $10,000 for the high-end Apple Watch Edition. “Apple will succeed quickly,” said the 61-year-old, who helped create the low-price Swatch in the 1980s. “It will put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland.”