Urban Eola

Modernizing the wristwatch

Remember when the 1960s generation talked about the 30th birthday as the dividing line between the hip and the over-the-hill gang? Abbie Hoffman, one of the pied pipers of the hippy generation, said “never trust anyone over 30” and the idea stuck with his followers. But today’s younger generation may have come up with a different way of identifying the un-hip: The wristwatch. Yes, if you’re over 30, you’re probably wearing a wristwatch, and if you’re standing next to someone under 30, that someone may be thinking: “Why do old people wear those things? All watches do is show the time.”

According to The Wall Street Journal last week, sales of wristwatches in the $30 to $150 price range fell by 10% last year as young people are learning to rely more and more on cell phones, iPods, and similar multi-purpose devices to keep time. Sales of watches that cost more than $150 are still increasing, but that just proves the point: As the baby boom generation becomes older and financially more secure, it is trading up in timepieces. But then they’re out-of-date.

To survive, watchmakers are adding functions to the traditional wristwatch. Swatch, for instance, just introduced a watch called the “Paparazzi” that tells not only the time, but also displays news, horoscopes, and tips on local bars and nightclubs. Other watch brands can display messages or store and play music. But that means watches are turning into cells and MP3 players. Dick Tracy would be amused.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:07 PM |

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