One of the co-founders of Swatch is predicting that Apple will see rapid success with the Apple Watch, which he expects will cause headaches for Swiss watchmakers.
Elmar Mock, who co-founded Swiss watch brand Swatch, expects the Apple Watch Sport and stainless steel Apple Watch to have the most impact. They will put the most pressure on low-end and mid-tier watches, according to Bloomberg:
"Anything in the price range of 500 francs to 1,000 francs is really in danger," said Mock, speaking by phone from Biel, Switzerland. "I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us."
Mock says he's seeing a lot of arrogance coming from Swiss watchmakers, not only concerning the Apple Watch, but other smartwatches as well. He likens the attitude to what was seen at the beginning of the "quartz crisis," which saw Swiss mechanical timepieces supplanted in the market by lower-cost quartz watches.
Other watchmakers don't seem to share Mock's concern. LVMH watch unit head Jean-Claude Biver said he doesn't feel that the Apple Watch is a threat to the industry, and might even be good for Swiss manufacturers in the long run:
The Apple Watch may lead more young people to wear watches, and eventually they'll be more likely to buy mechanical ones, he said. "Considering that Switzerland does not own the same industrial technology and facilities as Silicon Valley or giants like Samsung, Sony and LG, I believe that the Swiss reaction shows huge dynamism and speed."
We should have a better idea on just how much of a threat the Apple Watch will be to Swiss watchmakers once it goes on sale beginning April 24.