December 16, 2012

Hands of time still on our wrists

Fewer people wear watches since the advent of time-tracking smart devices, yet they continue to sell.

By RICK MONTGOMERY McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 1)

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For millions, the phone represents the return of the pocket watch, the preferred time-telling tool before World War I. Some apps display the time with Roman numerals on a clock face, a second hand and even ticking noises on command.

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Looming over future sales are those bare-wristed millennials: Less than a third of Americans ages 18 to 29 report wearing a watch at least most of the time, according to surveys by YPulse, a market researcher.

The most commonly cited reason? "It's unnecessary ... since I always look at my phone to know the time."

Still, more than one-quarter of young adults tell YPulse they will sport wristwatches from time to time as fashion accessories.

That means they'll buy, then buy again, but the watches on most days stay on the dresser while the cellphone goes everywhere.

For millions, the phone represents the return of the pocket watch, the preferred time-telling tool before World War I. Any number of apps can display the time as if it is a pocket watch, with Roman numerals on a clock face, a second hand and even ticking noises on command.

With dozens of GPS satellites overhead talking to a network of cell-tower receivers on the ground, telecommunications companies such as Sprint Nextel can "have all times synchronized precisely to the micro-second," Sprint manager Ben Bellinder said. "We call it network time."

The network even knows when you cross time zones.

Some of the world's largest electronics manufacturers have begun to blend such technology with wristwatch fashion. For about $150 retail, Sony's SmartWatch slaps around your wrist a 2-inch-square screen that channels the Android phone in your pocket. You can check the time and read emails and texts without reaching for a mobile device.

Omega is plastering images from the new James Bond flick, "Skyfall," on its website. That's actor Daniel Craig sporting an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, priced at $10,000 and beyond. (Until the mid-1990s, the Bond character was a Rolex man.)

Omega is part of the Swatch Group, owner of 19 high-end brands, which in July posted double-digit growth in gross sales and operating profit for the second straight year.

 

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WATCHES
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Jules Borel & Co. in Kansas City does a big business in watch repair.

McClatchy Newspapers

  


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