Defining the Traditional Wristwatch Market

Pete Weishaupt
Jan 16, 2018 · 2 min read

“Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.” — GI Joe

First, let’s define a traditional wristwatch. A traditional wristwatch uses either a mechanical or quartz movement to keep time. Mechanical movements use intricate arrangements of wheel, jewels, winding and regulating mechanisms. Quartz movements uses the precisely calibrated vibration of a quartz crystal powered by a battery. While the quartz movement keeps time much better than a mechanical movement, mechanicals are prized for the craftsmanship and are usually associated with high-end luxury.

According to reporting from the Fossil Group, which designs, produces and markets a variety of consumer fashion items to include wristwatches, traditional watches can be generally divided into four segments.

The first segment consists of fine watches by internationally known brand names like Cartier, Omega, Patek Philippe and Rolex. Watches in this segment are often made of precious metals and can be set with precious gems. They are almost exclusively made in Switzerland and are sold by jewelers and in the fine jewelry departments of high end department stores. Prices typically range from $4,000 to over $20,000.

The second segment of the traditional watch market includes fine premium branded and designer watches produced in both Switzerland and Asia. This segment includes names like Gucci, Movado, Raymond Weil, Seiko, TAG Heuer and Tissot. These watches retail for around $495 to $4,000.

The third traditional watch segment consists of mass market digital and analog watches manufactured in Asia and sold through discount stores. Well-known brands include Armitron, Casio and Timex. Prices range from $7 to $60 bucks.

The fourth segment is the highly controversial ‘contemporary fashion’ watch segment which consists of well-known fashion brand names like Guess, Kenneth Cole, Armani Exchange, DIESEL, Michael Kors and more. These watches tend to be moderately priced ranging from $60 to $,1000 and sold by a variety of department and specialty stores.

Pete Weishaupt

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