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Watches – a style statement

Watches are no longer bought to keep time, but to make a statement about the wearer’s personality

Despite the rapid advancement of modern science and technology that made tracking of time very easy through multiple devices, the love for an adorable timepiece wrapped around the wrist is still very strong. It is even stronger among men in Oman and other countries in the region.

Watchmakers, ranging from Chinese manufacturers to Swiss brands, have a presence in Oman. For men, watches are a favourite accessory.

“GCC, like any other region, has a special meaning for watches. Watches also shows the wearer’s personality. Customers from the region have an extremely refined taste and are always up to date with what is new. They look for limited edition pieces and appreciate being part of the first ones to have access and really appreciate the understatement of timeless designs,” said Dharmesh Khimji, managing director, Mistal.

According to retailers, buyers of timepieces have evolved over the years to become collectors of a fine specimen or elegantly designed ones. These days, watches are hardly bought to keep time. This has not impacted the watch industry much, which is gradually projecting itself as a fashion accessory industry.

Many are now using watches to indicate success in their lives, showcase their taste for quality products or to make an individual style statement.

Swiss watches in good demand

Despite the emergence of other popular manufacturing destinations, Switzerland-made watches dominate when it comes to preferences. “Swiss is the best and dominate the majority of the market. Today, Swiss watches – particularly the handcrafted mechanical variety, lauded for their precision and pedigree – are synonymous with luxury. The Swiss have that image of producing quality at the highest level, as Germans have the image of producing the best cars in the world,” said Khimji.

Swiss watches hold a magical appeal for a lot of people. They spend hundreds of dollars on a watch that is Swiss-made even though they can buy a Chinese-made timepiece for only RO10, said a dealer in Ruwi.

Audemars, Piguet, Omega,  Rolex, Breguet, Cartier, Patek Philippe are some of the popular brands that are available with all major watch dealers in Oman.

As per industry experts, one of the reasons these brands are so popular is their rich history. The fine art of watchmaking has become extinct in most parts of the world, with the exception of Switzerland

The entry of smartwatches has also opened a new chapter in the business. Some believe that it has bought the younger generation, who moved away from wearing watches, back to the segment and could even give the timepiece industry a potential new generation of young consumers.

Others, however, believe that this could be the end for other forms of watches as, in terms of practical usage and features, smartwatches outweigh all others by a huge margin.

Wristlets to wristwatches

Originally, wristwatches were designed for wealthy women and considered as jewellery. These were often called ‘wristlets’ due to the combination of the watch on a bracelet. Men preferred pocket watches as they felt wristwatches were too lady-like and would get in the way of a man’s work. However, later, people realised that it will be more practical to wear wristwatches to facilitate working, driving, etc.