Apple Watch: This is what luxury watch stocks are doing after Apple's smartwatch launch

Lynsey Barber
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After the fanfare of the Apple Watch, stocks in the world’s traditional luxury watchmakers dipped lower as the historic industry faces up to the modern age.

The Swiss watch industry, where the majority of luxury watches are made, exported 28.6m units in 2014, while analysts are predicting challenger Apple (in the watch arena at least) will ship anywhere between 8m and 42m Apple Watches this year.

Of course, not all those will be at the luxury end - the entry point for the Apple Watch Sport is £299 compared to the most expensive £13,50018 carat solid gold Apple Watch Edition .

But, luxury watchmakers are worried.

Tag Heuer, the watch brand worn by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and owned by french luxury giant LVMH, has admitted it will pull itself into the modern age with its own smartwatch.

Swatch, the biggest Swiss watchmaker of them all, is also making plans.
Co-creator of the Swatch watch - which spawned a group that now owns some of the biggest Swiss watch brands in the world such as Omega and Tissot - Elmar Mock told Bloomberg Apple sales will reach 20m to 30m a year, putting "a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland."
The Swiss watch industry was worth around £15bn in exports last year and in the traditional watch market, specifically the quartz watch, Switzerland produces around 26 per cent of the world's timepieces analysts at Barclays estimate.
"The worst case scenario in our view is that the 20m volumes of the iWatch directly replace volumes in the quartz watch industry resulting in a 25 per cent fall in volumes. We believe that this is a conservative estimate as quartz watches are at a wide price range and we would not expect the upper end to be affected," said Barclays about Swatch back in September.
Upon the full details of the watch being revealed, its outlook remains unchanged.
Pressure in the wider luxury market from slower sales in Europe where economic growth is weak, as well as emerging markets such as China are not helping the big luxury groups. Adding to that now could be the Apple Watch effect.
Here's how those watchmakers did in 2014.
Chart notes: Chart one is based on Friday's closing and share price at pixel time 10 March. The second chart is based on close on the last day of trading in 2013 and 2014.

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