Apple Plans July Opening for Basel Apple Store in Swiss Watch Home Turf

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Apple announced a July 12th, 2014 opening date for a new Apple Store in Basel, Switzerland. The country's third most populous city (195,000 people), Basel will be the site of the fourth Swiss Apple Store—and perhaps coincidentally, it's in the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry.

Freie Strasse

Apple's Placeholder Image for Apple Store Freie Strasse

Baselworld is the largest and most important watch (and jewelry) trade show in the world, and as the name suggests, it takes place in Basel. It's where most new high-end timepieces are unveiled, and it's where many distribution and retail agreements either start or get signed.

This may be relevant to Apple because the company's unannounced iWatch is the hottest story on the planet. Just in case anyone thinks Apple isn't serious about selling a device for your wrist, the company recently hired Patrick Pruniaux, former vice president for sales at Swiss watchmaker Tag Heur.

Whether or not it's a coincidence, Apple Store Freie Strasse opens on July 12th, 2014, at 10:00 AM local.

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Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but I don't think there's a chance in heck this is a coincidence. Sure, Basel was likely to get an Apple Store at some point, one way or another, but I think Apple wants to make a point of having a store in the center of the watch universe.

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Bryan, on the subject of the watch universe, here’s a fascinating article where luxury watch executives weigh in on the smartwatch movement. It’s not pretty:

I think it also speaks to the challenge Apple is up against: They have to create something that’s not cheap and plastic, but a genuine piece of jewelry. It will be very interesting to see what they come up with.

Bryan Chaffin

Traditional watch execs poopooing smartwatches? Not surprising. This is an industry that is as conservative as they come. Much of its current success is rooted in the fact that time pieces today are simply better designed relics from the past.

And I am a watch nut.

In any event, I’ve been thinking about a piece exploring Apple’s potential impact on the watch world, and I appreciate the heads up on the TechHive piece.



In any event, I’ve been thinking about a piece exploring Apple’s potential impact on the watch world….

I’d look forward to it. If Apple is going to disrupt the watch world, I think they should look to the early 1980s, when companies like Sharper Image sold really well-crafted, relatively high-end digital watches from long-forgotten companies like Xernus. Their watches were so gorgeous—and out of my range (I was in high school)—that I still remember a particular silver model on a Sharper Image catalog page.


@webmax I don’t think Apple, especially Jony, is unaware of the design standards that they need to live up to in order to successfully create a real market for smart watches.  I remember how in some video, Jony (or Steve) described how they made the iPhone to look and feel like a piece of fine jewelry. 

Thirty years ago, Japanese manufacturers were talking about their expertise in ‘mechatronics’ by which they mean devices that combine precision mechanics and electronics:  i.e. Cameras, camcorders, walkmans, quartz watches, etc.  A successful smart watch, will go beyond that because it’s mechatronics + software.  (And an attractive, aspirational brand image, I might add.)  There’s never any guarantee of course, but of all tech companies, Apple is the best equipped to succeed in breaking open a market for smart watches or ‘high proximity wearable devices’.


Make that ‘high proximity wearable computing devices’.

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