Swiss micro-mechanical trade show EPHJ has opened its doors in Geneva this morning and organisers have released details of an exclusive survey on youth attitudes towards watches.
The survey was launched on the 15th anniversary of the Salon EPHJ-EPMT-SMT to discover the attitudes of a younger generation towards traditional watches in the face of recent competition from smart devices.
The survey results (in the words of Salon EPHJ-EPMT-SMT) are as follows:
- Most young Swiss people have more than one watch (2.5 on average, equally divided between purchases and gifts). The value of the watches varies considerably depending of the respondents’ profiles: it averages CHF 750 (but this average is skewed by several very highly priced watches). However, men have much more valuable watches than women. Ultimately, most respondents have watches worth less than CHF 500.
- When asked about their future purchasing intentions, the participants expressed a desire above all for watches worth several hundred francs. A small minority currently envisage spending one thousand francs. On the other hand, watches are the favourite gift of young Swiss citizens at Christmas.
- In the eyes of these young people, a beautiful watch represents above all a certain stylishness, a specific concept of fashion. By contrast, a significant majority reject the idea that a beautiful watch reflects a specific social status, symbolises success, or is a means of self-affirmation.
- In general, they favour elegant watches with a hint of sobriety, but definitely not flashy ones.
- The most important criteria that inform their choice of watches are mainly colour and form, but also the size and material, with women preferring silver and men preferring steel. The functions, a Swiss-made label and the brand are also important, but to a lesser extent. By contrast, young people attach little importance to the box and decorative precious stones.
- Young people’s perception of a brand’s image is clearly influenced by advertising and the celebrities that stand for it, such as Roger Federer, who dominates all other watch brand ambassadors by far. One in two young people admit to being influenced in this way. On the other hand, advertising is young people’s preferred means of finding out about watches.
- They ranked brands in the same order in terms of familiarity and preference: Swatch first, Rolex second and Tissot third. The question about the brands they were wearing put Swatch as the leader, but the runner-up was Fossil, just ahead of Rolex and Tissot. Overall, young men are more interested in the watch brands in themselves while young women are a little more attracted to watches from fashion brands.
- The young generation only showed very moderate interest in smart watches, which came as something of a surprise. In all cases, the new technology of smart watches does not currently seem to be casting much of a shadow on classical watches, either in terms of their general appeal or their future purchasing intentions.
- Finally, they are relatively attached to watches, which is evident in particular in their desire to visit a watchmaking workshop, but also, for a not insignificant proportion of young people, in their interest in taking up a career in this branch.