One of the biggest events in the watch world, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is currently under way, which got me mussing over the future of replica watches and the improvements that might come out of the industry this year.
My guess is that we should expect to see replica watches become more smart and connected. What do I mean by that exactly? Let me explain.
I’m pretty sure you have observed the trend yourself: everyone rocks a smartphone of some kind today. A fact that opens up an interesting new window of opportunity. And tech giants like Apple or Samsung have already tapped into it by releasing the so called smartwatch product.
Smartwatches are basically mini computers that go on your wrist. They tell you the time, date, month and year just like any regular watch but they also come with a twist. They will connect to your smartphone and will send to your watch notifications for calls, text messages and social media.
Secondly they will be packed with sensors capable of measuring blood pressure, pulse and counting how many steps you’ve taken since you left the house. Do I see something like this being applied to replica watches? Yes, I do and let me explain why.
Smartwatches are apparently a big deal, especially since the mighty iPhone maker has joined the ranks with their Apple Watch. So Swiss luxury watchmakers are starting to be more and more interested in the trend too, in order to keep up with the competition.
Take Tag Heuer for example. An iconic timepiece producer, Tag Heuer is already ahead of the pack with their recently released Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch, the company’s unique attempt at intelligent timepiece making.
Android Wear (a smartwatch-optimized version of Android) is running onboard, so that means users will be able to swap watch faces and themes by virtue of a finger swipe (among other cool things like having access to different apps).
Do I see future Tag Heuer replica watches being capable of running Android Wear? Once again, yes I do. Many Chinese low-cost smartwatch manufacturers have been able to tap into Android Wear and I see no reason why replica watches manufacturers wouldn’t be able to do the same and continue to keep costs low.
But Tag Heuer isn’t the only Swiss watch-maker who has dabbed into the ever expanding world of tech. Another luxury watch pioneer, Breitling is currently offering the Exospace B55 Connected. Now this model is not 100% smartwatch per see, but borrows some features and puts them to good use.
The B55 makes use of Bluetooth LE to connect to a smartphone, which allows users to add functions such as setting a second time zone, alarms and reminder vibrations.
The almost-smartwatch is mainly aimed at pilots and features both digital and analog displays. I could really see myself switching from digital to analog on a beautiful Breitling replica and I’m really hoping replicators will be looking to try something new in 2016 in terms of features.
Tag Heuer and Breitling aren’t the only ones who have dabbed the seas of smartwatch making. Hodinkee also has a very good looking smartwatch called the Withings Activité, while Movado also offers two models, the BOLD Motion being powered by HP technology.
I think in 2016, replica manufacturers should really think about reinventing their core product by adding new functionalities. Tag Heuer replica watches could be upgraded to allow users to run apps or open hotel doors (like the Apple Watch).
Surely adding new functions to a Breitling replica or a Rolex entails funds being poured into software and hardware-related research and development, but I’m confident that replica watches makers have the means to think bold and achieve this. What do you think? Would you buy a connected replica?