At that time, everything changed: from a timepiece, a watch became a fashion accessory. How did this transformation come about?
The 80s: The Watch Becomes A Fashion Accessory
At the start of the 1980s, the Swiss watch industry was at its lowest. Its market shares are around 15% (compared to 83% in 1970). Banks then decide to finance a group that will become the Swatch Group. In 1983, the famous emblematic watch of the brand was released.
Its marketing is based on entirely new foundations: it is a watch that is affordable and fashionable. To do this, many colors are available, and plastic is part of its composition. This novelty is a success, particularly with young buyers who are the first targeted by these watches.
Competitors quickly appear. Guess, and Fossil also embark on the production of attractively priced watches with a trendy design. The time is no longer to search for technological jewels with complex mechanisms. What matters now is to have a watch in the latest fashion.
This is not the first time in the history of watchmaking that the craze for watches is incidental. In its beginnings, we have seen that the wristwatch was an imprecise accessory intended for women and mainly aesthetic.
Big Fashion Houses Create Their Watches.
This trend continued in the 90s. Everyone started to design watches, whether they were partnerships or original creations. The big fashion houses all lend themselves to the exercise. But unlike Swatch, they make high-end watches that are more like jewelry.
Now produced in large numbers and accessible to all, Watches sometimes create tough competition for traditional designers. Seiko is one of the big losers of the decade. The yen is unfavorable to it, and quartz watches are losing their appeal. At the same time, the mechanical watchmaking sector continues to innovate by doing research. In 2000, there was renewed interest in mechanical watches. Why?
Mechanical Watches Regain Their Letters Of Nobility
Mechanical watches, full of history and strong with complex and solid cogs, are again arousing interest. First of all, a small number of collectors browse the auction sales in search of rare ancient pearls.
Precious, resistant over time, they are now seen as real collector’s items.
In an era where many swap their watches for the cell phone, this is hardly surprising. Although they are excellent timepieces, they are no longer the only instruments that can tell the time precisely. With the democratization of the mobile phone and smartphone, most people have a watch, a stopwatch, a built-in compass.
Rich in history, guardians of our heritage, mechanical watches are in great demand today. More than a fashion accessory, more than a jewel, they are the witness of frantic research on the measurement of time through the ages.
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