FOR an industry that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of technological endeavour, the watch business – or at least, the luxury end of it – can also be rather backward looking. Just take its attitude to online technology – the internet has mostly been treated with the same hostility as digital watches once were, and the idea of selling high-end pieces online mostly dismissed by those in their Alpine ivory towers.
Things are changing though. Companies like Jura Watches in Mayfair (www.jurawatches.co.uk) and British watchmaker Christopher Ward (www.christopherward.co.uk) have demonstrated a ready market for online selling, and the odd prestige brand – most notably France’s Bell & Ross – has followed suit.
However it’s in the world of the app that companies are really noticing an opportunity to interact with tech savvy watch fans. This month has seen the launch of the most involved watch app yet, by Hublot. As smartly designed as the company’s ultra-cool watches, the app allows you to browse the collection, and rotate watches through 360 degrees to inspect them from every angle. You can also photograph your wrist via the app and see how it would look with a Hublot watch on – a function that will also be present in Jura’s about-to-appear app, through which you can interact with the online shop directly. Check out Jura’s website next week to download it.
Other watch apps include one from Montblanc that actually flies inside the movement of the Nicholas Rieussec chronograph; IWC, with which you can browse images of the collection; Boucheron, which has lots of jewellery to inspect as well as watches; and Bell & Ross, which allows you to have one of its distinctive watch faces as your lock screen.