Everybody’s in the Watch Biz Now

There was a time when wristwatches were relatively rare and expensive things that could be purchased only through a watchmaker.  Of course, these days, there are lots of companies making watches,.

That’s not a bad thing.  More competition means more improvements and newer gadgets and a better product overall.  It can also help to bring prices down.

But now, it seems like everybody is getting into the watch business, including companies that you would think wouldn’t have any interest n watches at all.  Even stranger, it seems as though a bunch of companies that wouldn’t have any interest in watches are suddenly interested in smart watches, of all things.

Fashion watches aren’t new.  Lots of companies that primarily sell clothes are aware that people buy watches to go with their clothes and so they’d like to offer them as fashion accessories.  Most of these companies just buy watches from other companies, put their own name on them, and sell them as their product.

armani smart watchPeople who are serious about watches don’t take these fashion watches very seriously, except in the rare cases of high end fashion companies that actually do design and market their own watches.  That’s pretty rare, though.  Most companies just slap new names on them.

The latest company to do this, and with a smart watch, no less, is Armani.  Yes, Armani, as in, “the company from whom you’d buy a suit.”  Apparently, Armani is worried that somebody might buy a suit, decide they want a watch to go with it, and then go elsewhere to buy that watch.

So they’re now marketing their own watch.  Or at least, they’ve announced one.

No, of course, Armani isn’t making the watch.  It’s being made by Fossil, who apparently make a lot of watches for a lot of companies.  I did not know that.  It’s called the Emporio Armani Connected, and it’s going to be based on the Android Wear 2.0 operating system.

The Connected will come with 8 different configurable watch faces and will have a traditional round face, so at least it will mostly look like a real watch.

The watch will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, which seems to be a pretty common one in current Android smartwatches.  Armani hasn’t yet announced a retail price, but given that it’s being attached to a luxury fashion brand, chances are that it’s going to be a bit pricey as Android smartwatches go.

It would be nice if fashion companies would just stick to fashion and leave the watches to the watch companies.  That’s just my 2¢.