© Written by Rachael Taylor for Deutsche Wealth
Glance at the wrist of the closest Millennial to you right now, and the chances are you’ll find it bare. With their thumbs perpetually glued to tiny portable screens, each kitted out with impeccably accurate digital clocks, this generation has little need for archaic methods of timekeeping such as the wristwatch. Unless, of course, it can measure their heartbeat and track their steps.
“Technically, watches became irrelevant as soon as the smartphone hit the scene,” says a deadpan Emily Stoll, director of North American sales and marketing at luxury Swiss watch brand Carl F Bucherer, which has been creating mechanical watches on the banks of the Lucerne since 1888. “Appealing to younger generations has certainly proved to be a challenge across the industry. Current trends around fast fashion and tech have weakened the appeal of luxury craftsmanship.”
Nonchalant youths have not been the only challenge for the recently embattled watch industry. Exports of Swiss watches – which act as a barometer for the health of the global trade – recently suffered a period of significant decline. In 2016, the value of exports dropped to a six-year low of CHF19.4 billion (down nearly 10% on the year before), according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry’s accounts…