Watchmakers Show Off Survival Tools for an Apple Age at Baselworld


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BASEL, Switzerland — Acclimating to life with an 800-pound gorilla, watchmakers at Baselworld showed they are finding their footing by fine-tuning strategies to survive in territory invaded by Apple. A focus on mechanical skills underpinned the wide range of responses to competition from the Apple Watch — similar to the Swiss watch industry’s method for weathering the onslaught of quartz timepieces in the Eighties. High-end players such as Breguet, Patek Philippe and Bulgari continue to build on their luxury heritage and offered delicate chiming minute repeaters while more accessible brands emphasized affordability, with Tissot offering automatic watches in cheaper price ranges. A growing number of brands are pushing into the connected watch business themselves and Hublot marked its splashy entrance into the field by hosting a soccer game with star sports figures including Diego Maradona and Usain Bolt to introduce its soccer-themed Big Bang referee watch. The brand plans to limit connected watches to special partnerships. Watchmakers also continue to home in on specific technologies to maintain relevance. Citizen, the Japanese light-power specialist, celebrated its 100th anniversary with a sapphire crystal pocket watch called the Calibre 0100, reaching new levels of accuracy through internal mechanisms — more or less a second over a year. The concept

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