The Smart Watch Cometh?

Pebble Smart Watch


by Adrian Herscovici  

Why smart watches are not the future (for now)

Who here remembers the cartoon character Dick Tracy? Back in the 1940s, Tracy wore a watch that featured a two-way radio – perhaps the earliest reference to a so-called “smart watch.”

Seiko Data 2000In real life Seiko released the Data 2000 watch in 1983 – a wrist-mounted data-storage device that connected to a special keypad. It was one of the first watches with computing ability and one of the earliest smart watches. Did the Data 2000 change the way people wore watches? No, not at all; nor did any of the smart watches that came later including the Microsoft-developed SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) smart watches of the mid-2000s.

Today, after 30 years of development, smart watches are making bigger waves with new models arriving to market at a record pace. They are increasingly useful, wearable computers that work in tandem with our other devices. Smart watches run apps and play media; some already function as phones – much like Dick Tracy.

21st century wrist race

Why the sudden deluge? Surprisingly, it has little to do with demand; rather, the proliferation is due to advancements in technology and access to cheaper components. Oh, that and the fact that tech companies want to cash in, naturally.

Smart Watch Tied to PhoneBut smart watches come with some serious limitations. The biggest is they do everything your smart phones do, and less. A smart watch may assist you in managing your mobile device but it will not replace that device. So why bother? For looks? Doubt it.

Men, for example, already face a limited choice of fashion accessories. Watches are one of them, and a fashion-conscious guy takes his timepiece seriously. Smart watches are too busy trying to become relevant and functional to look sharp (and geek chic will only carry them so far). Furthermore, they require a significant display area, which means they all look more or less similar, relying on a few obvious physical differentiators to set them apart.

Smart watches need to win us over with utilitarian value, with functionality that offers us something more or completely different than what we already have. For now, they are less stylish than a wristwatch and less technologically useful than a smart phone. They defy obvious trends in usage, too, like the proclivity towards larger screens – unlike a smart phone, which pushes the limits of our pockets, purses and attachés, a smart watch cannot grow the size of our wrists.

Impact on mechanical and quartz watches

Samsung Galaxy Gear and Classic WatchAmong watch insiders and enthusiasts, the talk is of course about the impact of a smart watch revolution on traditional wristwatches, and whether or not it will lead to their becoming obsolete. The fact is, mechanical watches enjoy immense popularity today because they are obsolete. People wear them because they love the artistry and lengthy history associated with mechanical watchmaking.

Quartz watches should also have diminished in popularity by now in our smart-device world: people could easily leave them at home, relying instead on their smart phone to tell time. But people like the way they look, and with annual global sales in the billions, quartz watches seem to have a rather strong following, too.

Smart devices are here to stay; smart watches, well, maybe. (Starfleet, after all, preferred the smart brooch.) In the next several years we will undoubtedly see advancements. If smart watches do become an accepted innovation, they will likely phase in to our lives over time – there will be early adopters; others will wade in when their professional life requires it; and still more when the applications become the norm.

But the time-honored mechanical wristwatch is no danger of disappearing, nor is the ever-practical quartz watch. We like what they represent and the way they look. Smart watches – well, for now, they’re just gadgets.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupWatchmaker and wholesale watch distributor Gevril Group is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury, Swiss and fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

The Importance of Mobile Commerce for Retailers

Shopping on a Smartphone


by Bonnie McEwan  

Retail is Going Mobile

The latest trend in retailing is m-commerce, in which the ‘m’ stands for mobile. Increasingly, customers are making purchases directly from smart phones. According to Forrester Research, retail sales made on smart phones reached $8 billion in 2012, comprising 3% of total e-commerce sales. For 2013, Forrester predicts that smart phone sales will rise to $12 billion (5% of total e-commerce) and in 2014 $17 billion (6% of total e-commerce). By 2017, m-commerce is expected to account for $31 billion, about 9% of the entire e-commerce market.

Why is Mobile Going Global?

These m-commerce customers told the survey firm comScore that they buy with their smart phones for a variety of reasons. The top four were:

  • On-the-go convenience, cited by 63% of respondents
  • To get special offers and coupons — 52% of respondents
  • Ease of comparing prices to find best deal — 48% of respondents
  • Product was not found in a brick and mortar store — 41% of resondents

What Retailers Can Do About It

This preference for m-commerce has some significant implications for retailers:

  1. You must be sure that your website — in this situation, referred to as a mobile site — is optimized for the small screen, whose average size is about 2.5 x 3 inches.
  2. You should also offer free ‘apps’ — short for applications — for all the major smart phone operating systems. [An app is a small piece of software that is downloaded to a mobile device to facilitate online activities.] Pay special attention to developing a good app for Apple’s iOS, since iPhone owners do substantially more mobile shopping than owners of other brands.
  3. You may also want to investigate selling watches and other products via a virtual store within one or both of the two most heavily trafficked m-commerce sites, eBay and Amazon. Consider this: eBay receives 6,400 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits the site an average of 7.5 times for an average of 10 minutes per visit. Amazon is close behind, with 5,824 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits an average of 5.6 times per month and remains on the site for about10 minutes. Some major retailers sell on these sites, including Target on Amazon and Brookstone on eBay.
  4. If you sell retail from temporary locations, such as outdoor kiosks, pop-up stores or Christmas village shops, there are m-commerce products for your smart phone that make selling more convenient. For example, a company called Square makes a small device that attaches to your smart phone and enables it to take credit cards. There’s no need for card machines or electrical access. Just slide the customer’s card through the Square device. It will record the sale, send an electronic receipt to the customer’s phone and that’s it.


An interesting mobile development for watch retailers is the budding popularity of smart watches, which are predicted to be big for 2013 holiday gift-giving. Several brands are already on the market, although there aren’t many apps available at this point. You can read all about the new smart watches at SmartWatchNews.org, and perhaps be one of the first retailers to create an app for these novel devices. (Very Dick Tracy.)

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

The New Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch


by John Sealander  

Is Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smart Watch
The Next Big Thing, or Just a Waste of Time?

SamsungWhen Samsung introduced the Galaxy Gear on September 5th, 2013, many industry pundits said the company’s innovative new smart watch signaled the beginning of a new era in wearable technology. At first glance, the Galaxy Gear certainly is impressive. The 2.6 ounce smart watch can make phone calls, surf the web, and even take picture with a built-in 1.9 megapixel camera. A built-in speaker and voice activated operation allows users to make hands free calls directly from their wrist.

Will Smart Watches Catch On?

The unanswered question is whether there is a market for devices like the Galaxy Gear. It is clear that many people think there is. Sony has already introduced a smart watch that syncs with Android phones and will soon introduce another smart watch that can be used as a second screen for its Xperia Z1 smart phone. Tech giant Qualcomm has developed a new connected wristwatch called the Toq. And startup Pebble is already taking orders for it’s innovative e-paper watch, funded entirely through the popular crowdsourcing site Kickstarter.

The Europeans have entered the smart watch arena as well, with the fashionable Italian designed I’m Watch. The latest entry into the smart watch race is automaker Nissan, who recently introduced their Nismo watch, which can capture the wearer’s biometric data and even monitor vehicle performance, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The elephant in the room, of course, is the long rumored iWatch from Apple. All these new devices have the potential to revolutionize personal communications. Just imagine a device you could wear on your wrist that could establish your identity and eliminate the need for passcodes. Or how about paying for gas just by waving your watch at the pump? A smart watch could easily track your workouts and monitor your physical activity. Of course, all these innovative watches would also tell the time with near perfect accuracy.

How Will Smart Watches Affect Your Favorite Watch Brand?

Is all this innovation enough to motivate watch aficionados to abandon their favorite Fortis, Rolex and Versace timepieces? Probably not. Watches have become an important fashion accessory for both men and women and it is unlikely that technology will trump fashion any time soon. Since the market for fine timepieces continues to expand, it is very likely that there is a market for traditional timepieces and smart watches. The growing popularity of wristwatches as a fashion accessory will probably ensure that there is a market for Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear and a host of other innovative smart watches that will appear in the near future.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

Apple iWatch Rumors

Apple iWatch Mock-up, by Yrving Torrealba


by John Sealander  

Is the World Ready for an Apple Watch?

AppleRumors abound that Apple’s next blockbuster product will be a watch. The concept of a smartwatch isn’t new. There are already several of these enhanced wristwatches on the market. You can already purchase a watch that uses GPS to track your location. Other currently available smartwatches use miniature accelerometers to track your workouts and other physical activity. The problem with these first generation smartwatches is that almost everybody already has a watch. Today’s smartwatches are very specialized and don’t add much functionality to traditional timekeeping.

An Apple iWatch might change all that. The Apple infrastructure already includes thousands of innovative apps that add impressive new functionality to your phone, tablet, and computer. Just imagine if you could access these apps on your wrist. Using Bluetooth and the cloud to communicate with other devices, an Apple iWatch could be a game changer.

Possible Apple iWatch Functions

Some of the most useful applications for this new watch might have nothing to do with timekeeping. Imagine a watch that could eliminate the frustration of passcodes in an office environment. An iWatch could eliminate the necessity of entering your passcode ten or twenty times a day. With the addition of fingerprint recognition on the touchscreen, the watch could easily establish your identity in a variety of situations.

Do you frequently lose your phone? Just use your watch to find it. How about paying for gas just by waving your watch at the pump? Apple’s Siri technology could make it easy to communicate with your watch without using a keyboard. Even traditional timekeeping functions could be improved using smartwatch technology. Your iWatch will probably change time zones automatically for you while you travel. As Apple continues to improve its Passbook payment technology, your watch might even know when you’ve boarded your plane and where you’re going.

What will this amazing new watch look like? Nobody knows for sure, but with Apple’s design expertise, chances are that it will be spectacular. Many people think that an iWatch will incorporate Corning’s new curved glass technology, using a band of flexible curved glass that wraps around your wrist as a display.

When can you expect to see an iWatch on the market? Nobody knows. Many people think it would be wise for Apple to get on the smartwatch bandwagon as soon as possible though. The Bluetooth enabled Pebble smartwatch is already available and Sony already markets a smartwatch that works with Android smartphones. Do you think it’s time for an Apple watch? We may soon find out if Tim Cook agrees with you.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Reader comments are welcome.