As many of you already know, IWC announced the Connect; a button, of sorts, that fits onto their watch straps. It seems that the Connect won’t be released for quite some time (our guess is SIHH 2016), and even the details will be kept quiet for a few more months. So, since IWC is looking to drum up publicity without much substance, I wanted to take the opportunity to speculate about the Connect.
Montblanc, Alpina, and Frederique Constant all threw their hats into the smart watch ring (and Tag Heuer let us down at Baselworld 2015), but IWC is the first of the “big boys” to do so. Although I think IWC has fallen trap to trends and too many celebrity spokespeople, they’re still one of the major luxury watchmakers, and this is big news. My gut says the watchmakers at the mid-tier level (IWC, JLC, Rolex, etc.) and above (Lange, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin) should stay out of this game. The last time they chased technology was the quartz crisis, and it didn’t work well or last long. I can’t be alone when I say I don’t look to these higher-level watchmakers for Silicon Valley solutions to my everyday life.
Let’s get back to IWC’s button. According to their PR, it will be able to handle activity tracking, as well as control devices that are connected to the internet via Bluetooth. Just as I said with theMontblanc e-Strap, activity trackers don’t mean much to me, so I need a bit more than that. The remote control capabilities are intriguing, but mostly because they haven’t divulged any more details on what those capabilities entail. It’s all very nebulous at this point. IWC says users will have control over devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). I think there’s a huge future in the IoT, and how it will play into our lives, but for now, I don’t care to control my thermostat and washing machine with my IWC replica watch. What’s more, by the time the IoT becomes a bigger part of everyday life, there will likely be much better solutions than something from a Swiss watchmaker – you know, from tech companies.
In my opinion, IWC really needs to deliver on this. Tag Heuer made a lot of noise about a smart replica watch for sale release at Baselworld, and then didn’t come through. It felt like they just wanted the publicity up front, and then let Jean-Claude Biver’s speech hypnotize us into forgetting about the teaser. The market expects top quality from a watchmaker like IWC, and if they under-deliver (or don’t deliver at all), there will be some disappointed people out there. I hope they can put out a quality product with the IWC Connect replica watch, but I have a sinking feeling it’s going to bomb. Prove me wrong, IWC!