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Gerry's Corner - Watches in the 21st Century: A Surprising Success Story

Gerry Cameron - Feb 17, 2018
If you’ve tucked away your grandfather’s watch, now is a good time to take it out of the drawer and wear it.

If you’ve tucked away your grandfather’s watch, now is a good time to take it out of the drawer and wear it.


Not that long ago several people were predicting the death of the wristwatch because of today’s technology: smart phones and digital accessories that can give you the hour at your fingertips.  But contrary to these beliefs, analog watches are making a comeback in a big way and many companies, started by millennials, are profiting from the trend.

True, the classics have never really gone out of style and nothing is nicer than adding a luxury wristwatch to your wardrobe.  The brands heritage and good looks are sure to catch a look.  And then there is the craftsmanship; ask any horologist about a Rolex and they will be sure to tell you it takes a year to make this respected, admired, and valued timepiece known across the globe. To put this commitment into perspective, it takes thirteen hours to build a Toyota.

However, a lot of people do not have the cash or can’t justify the expense to tell the time. Unfortunately, there are people who buy counterfeits of luxury brands and wear them more as a status symbol which shows no appreciation to the actual company. In an article by Brett and Kate McKay, a study reported in Scientific American showed that people who wear knockoffs are in general more inclined to act in dishonest ways with cheating and become more cynical with the real world.


On the other hand, thank god, a real buzz is taking place with startups being created by a new breed of watchmakers; millennials making quartz watches with analog dials and rotating hands priced between $100-300US.

In an article by Elizabeth Segran, one such startup is the company Daniel Wellington, started by 24-year-old Filip Tysander. Daniel Wellington makes minimalistic watches inspired by the looks of Rolex and Piaget all for under $200. He’s obviously on to something. Sales in 2016 were a staggering $200million and in 2017 the company was recognized as the fastest growing business in Europe by Inc. Magazine.


 In 2014, a 24-year-old German by the name of Artjem Weissbeck started the company Kapten & Son, producing watches known for its Swedish design, German precision, and Swiss movement.  Weissbeck’s watches can be found in such establishments as Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. In 2013, a pair of 24-year-olds out of LA started the brand MVMT and the list goes on with startups like Rosefield, Oak & Oscar, and Aevig.


Why the resurgence? Weissbeck says there are people looking for relief from the constant barrage of technology and unlike generation Z who have grown up with smartphones all their lives, many millennials are nostalgic when it comes to analog watches, bring back memories of wearing them while growing up.  But this time they are looking for timepieces that have a sophisticated look but do not want to spend the thousands it takes to own a high-end luxury watch. 


For me, wearing your grandfather’s watch is a good place to start.



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