Wearables smothering Swiss watch business, Fossil CEO says

Fossil will start selling an Android Wear smartwatch in October or November, said CEO Kosta Kartsotis

Fossil's CEO is looking to make the company's traditional watches smarter by adding sensors to monitor a person's physical activities and sleep patterns.

Fossil's CEO is looking to make the company's traditional watches smarter by adding sensors to monitor a person's physical activities and sleep patterns.

Wearables are reducing interest in Swiss watches, with those highly regarded timepieces losing some of their luster as technology is incorporated into what people wear on their wrists.

"I think technology and the whole idea of wearables ... has taken some of the oxygen out of the Swiss business," Fossil CEO Kosta Kartsotis told analysts on a call to discuss the watch maker's second quarter results.

Without mentioning Apple or its smartwatch by name, Kartsotis implied the arrival of tech companies in the fashion world means the industry needs to incorporate technology into its products to stay trendy.

"We also see technology emerging as the latest trend in fashion, with the growing interest in wearable technology inspiring new entrants into the watch space," he said.

These new competitors, along with other factors like a strong US. dollar, contributed to Fossil's quarterly revenue decline, Kartsotis said. For the quarter ending July 4, Fossil recorded revenue of $US740 million versus $US773 million for the year-ago period.

The Apple Watch, meanwhile, went on sale during that time frame. Starting in April, the wearable could be ordered only from Apple's website before the company began carrying the watch in its stores in June.

It is unclear what impact smartwatches will have on the sale of analog timepieces. Some analysts predict that consumers are more inclined to purchase sensor-equipped devices that do more than tell time. Last week, a report from market research firm NPD Group claimed the Apple Watch was partially behind the largest slump in U.S. watch sales since 2008.

Fossil sees wearables as a key component of the industry's future and the company is developing three product categories around the technology.

First, there are smartwatches, like the Android Wear model Fossil is planning on launching in October or November, Kartsotis said. When Google announced its OS for wearables last March, Fossil was listed as a partner that would make watches running Android Wear.

Since then, not much has been heard about the effort. Fossil, though, has said development is taking longer than anticipated, and that the watch will include Intel sensors.

Kartsotis also predicted wearables will spawn a device category akin to jewelry, such as bracelets, which lack the displays found on smartwatches.

The final category, which Kartsotis labelled "smarter watches," will have the greatest long-term impact at Fossil. These devices will be existing analog watches with sensors added to perform functions like tracking activity and sleep, he said. Fossil is on track to release those watches this year, Kartsotis added.

Some day, every watch Fossil makes could have technology in it, he said.

In addition to meeting market demand, incorporating technology into its watches gives Fossil access to user data that can be fed into the company's CRM software and used for marketing efforts, Kartsotis said.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags retailconsumer electronicssmartwatchesFossilSwiss watchesWearables

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?