A Tale of Misguided Releases: A $400 Casio and a Bizarre Swatch
Two remarkable releases have set a strong precedent as to the direction of the entry-level watch market. Swatch recently unveiled the Flymagic; a dramatic departure from the norm. It features a turbine-like bezel and a horrendously finished movement visible through the dial side. In fact, the movement is inverted — what was traditionally the reverse side is now presented obversely. However, Swatch intentionally left the seconds hand to tick counterclockwise. The movement quirks are perhaps this watches’ only redeeming quality, but the design and execution is bafflingly ugly. At $1200, this watch is not worth the price. You could expect exponentially better style and execution at half the price. You could pick up a beautiful Oris or Sinn, and they put this watch to shame.
Additionally, Casio released an all-metal version of the original G-Shock. It is priced at upwards of $400. The only noticeable departure from the plastic G-Shock is the addition of stainless steel. In my opinion, such a brutalist and utilitarian form should not be marketed as a “luxury” product. It still features a cheap quartz movement and an LCD. If you like the G-Shock, I would highly recommend the standard model; not the overhyped “special” edition.
This article was not produced solely to bash these two watches, but rather to draw a conclusion about where the entry-level brands are positioning themselves. For starters, their bottom lines have been obliterated by the Apple Watch. While the luxury products remain far above the reach of Apple, the low-end products cannot compete. Therefore, bottom-tier companies are scrambling to position themselves as a luxury product, instead of competing directly with Apple. The result is watches with the same cheap parts and novelty designs at best. It’s a sad reality, but hopefully the flaws will be ironed out over time.