The watch industry has always been a conservative industry. The lever escapement commonly used today has a long history without major changes. Innovation is mainly defined by gradual progress. However, every once in a while, there will be major and surprising leaps. Looking back over a longer period of time, we can find that this leap has changed the trajectory of the watchmaking industry.
Top 1. Cartier Santos
The innovative Cartier Santos is the first pilot watch. At the turn of the 20th century, watches were womens jewellery, and men didnt like them even more;
With the advent of the first airplane and the watch made for fearless pilots, all this has been changed. Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont is a close friend of Louis Cartier. He complained to his friends that he could not take out his pocket watch from his pocket to check the time during the experimental flight. Cartier received demand and developed the first pilot watch for it in 1904: Cartier called it Santos. The original features included the famous cabochon crown, Roman numerals and rail-style markings. The unique exposed screws on the bezel (decades before the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak) can be regarded as aircraft rivets. When it was launched, its square shape helped to emphasize its wrist-worn purpose and distinguish it from a round pocket watch.
The most unusual feature of Cartier Santos is that it is a men's watch and it leads the trend of the future.
Top 2. Rolex Datejust
The common 3 o'clock date window originated from the Rolex Datejust introduced in 1945.
Before the advent of Datejust, calendar watches usually displayed the date on the periphery of the dial and used the centered hands to indicate. Rolexs contribution is both simple and pragmatic. Compared with relatively complex and expensive calendar watches, Rolexs target market is more for ordinary consumers (although the first Datejust watch is a gold watch). The 1945 Rolex Datejust Ref. 4467 has a 36 mm diameter, and a unique date window is arranged at the three o'clock position-below is a 31-day date disc, which beats around midnight and adjusts the date through the crown.
Since then, the 3 o'clock date window has become a standard feature, and now you ask any watch company Sales: it must be a simple and truly useful watch with a date display function.
Top 3. Seiko Astron quartz watch
The Seiko Astron launched in 1969 is the world's first quartz watch.
In the same year that Seiko won the championship in the automatic chronograph market competition, it also launched the world's first quartz watch!
Seiko Quartz Astron represents a breakthrough technological breakthrough. The tuning fork-shaped quartz oscillator of this watch provides the Astron movement with an amazing accuracy of 3 only 5 seconds per month, far exceeding any mechanical movement. The movement's small, slender stepping motor saves energy by moving only the second hand every second, which is a new development of the watch. Facts have proved that the oscillator has high shock resistance and can work at a very low voltage, thus ensuring a one-year battery life. The interesting thing is that quartz watches are famous for their cheap timepieces, and the first quartz watch is definitely the price of a luxury car, with an 18k gold case.
Needless to say, Seiko triggered a quartz crisis in the entire industry, and most of the Swiss brands died!
Top 4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
In 1970, Genta received a call from George Golay, managing director of Audemars Piguet. Audemars Piguet is close to bankruptcy and needs some miracles to survive. Golay asked Genta to design a waterproof steel sports watch for dealers in France and Italy, which he hoped would be completed the next day. Genta designed the Royal Oak with pencil and paper overnight. This watch contradicts everything Audemars Piguet knows.
This steel sports watch has an integrated bracelet, and eight large screws can be seen on the octagonal bezel. AP executives were not impressed, but they had no choice but to gamble on this unproven design. A few years later, Martin Wehrli, director of the Audemars Piguet Museum, recalled, At the Basel Watch Fair in 1972, the Audemars Piguet small exhibition hall next to the main road showed the Royal Oak watches in a small window. Everyone watched. When it said it was really big, they walked out 10 meters and said, "We can buy Audemars Piguet in six months. AP will definitely go bankrupt."
The revolutionary genius of design lies in the fusion of the case and the bracelet: the watch and the bracelet are designed as a whole, rather than a watch head with a bracelet. The steel is brushed, polished and faceted, just as a jeweler might treat gold, and the protruding screws in the bezel again refute the orthodoxy that the humble parts should be disguised and hidden.
Royal Oak has created a new market segment-luxury sports watches!
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Top 5. Apple Watch
In 2015, Apple launched the first-generation Apple Watch. By Q4 of 2017, Apple Watch shipments have exceeded the total shipments of major Swiss watch brands. It can be said that Apple's watch sales have defeated the Swiss watch industry. Global sales of Apple Watch in 2019 were 31 million pieces, while the total sales of all Swiss watch brands was 21 million pieces. It shows that this trend is still expanding.
Apple's emphasis on health and fitness makes the positioning of Apple Watch different from Swiss watches, which are marketed as jewelry and fashion accessories. However, compared with fashion and charm, Apple's health and fitness are more attractive to users, and these two value propositions are exactly what we are pursuing today. In the wearable device market, no one can find a better solution than Apple.
The popularity of Apple Watch has also benefited from the stronger ecosystem created by iPhone, iPad and other Apple brand products. Although Swiss watch companies also sell smart watches, they run on the Android ecosystem.