About eighty percent of Americans own at least one watch, according to a recent survey. Many researchers were actually astounded by these figures. After all, the nearly ubiquitous cell phone also tells time as do other portable electronic devices like iPods and laptops. So, why are people still buying wristwatches? In particular, why are Americans spending over 6 billion dollars a year on them? We will have to travel back to the 1970s for the answer.
Switzerland has been home to the world’s best watchmakers for over four hundred years. They were so dominant prior to the 1970s that they held about half of the global watch market. No other nation could compete, and some even accused the Swiss of operating a monopoly. But that simply wasn’t the case. The truth was that they just made better watches. All of that came to screeching halt when battery-powered watches caught on with the public in the early 1970s.
The appeal of these quartz watches was easy to see: they were accurate, yet inexpensive because they were made by machines instead of by trained artisans. Most traditional watchmakers went out of business within only a few years. For obvious reasons, the period was later dubbed the Quartz Crisis or the Quartz Revolution. Thankfully, the revolution didn’t last long.
Within a relatively short period of time, consumers started getting tired of these cheap, disposable timepieces. It had little to do with the fact that they were digital instead of mechanical. The problem was that watchmakers started using cheaper and cheaper materials in a desperate attempt to undercut the competition on price. Shoppers were not impressed by the results. They longed for higher quality timepieces, even if it meant they had to pay a little more.
By the 1980s, a slew of new watchmakers entered the ailing market and offered customers what they had been asking for. Swiss Legend opened up shop in 1987. Their approach was simple: offer a new twist on an ancient, basic product. The founders of the young company were insightful enough to know that consumers didn’t care whether their watches were mechanical or digital. They just wanted them to be well made. That meant no cheap plastic parts or inferior materials.
The founder of the company, Eli Ben-Shmuel, understood this intimately. He knew that his new firm would not be a success unless they gave the people exactly what they wanted. Swiss Legend was one of the first of the new breed to create a new market segment or niche for luxury watches in the modern era. These unique timepieces were an attractive admixture of old-world craftsmanship and contemporary design. Let us take a look at a few of their most popular models.
As you might expect from the name, the Commander is a bold and durable watch. A brushed stainless steel watch case and scratch-resistant mineral crystal cover protect the oversized pink dial that displays large Arabic numerals at each of the even hour markers. The watch hands are silver toned and there is a date window beside the three o’clock hour index. Because it is considered a more casual model, the Commander has a thick, black rubber strap and a screw-down crown that provides a comfortable and secure fit. The timepiece is powered by accurate and reliable Japanese quartz movement. It is has a water resistance of 100 meters (330 feet).
Named after the Roman god of the sea, the Neptune is a sporty, stylish watch that was designed for the outdoors. The stainless steel case is coated with sturdy black rubber to protect it from the elements and the inevitable scratches and dings. The watch dial is large and easy to read, with oversized Arabic numerals at the three, six, nine, and twelve o’clock hour markers. Like many bold Swiss Legend models, the Neptune also has luminous extra wide hour and minute hands that can be seen in low light conditions. The watchband is made from thick, textured black rubber that closes with a tri-fold clasp. The scratch-resistant mineral crystal cover protects the watch in up to 100 meters of water (330 feet). Powered by precision Swiss quartz movement, the Neptune is the ultimate timepiece for men with active lifestyles.
In musical notation, the Italian word legato is used to instruct musicians to play in a smooth and even manner. It is only fitting that Swiss Legend named one of their most elegant, eye-catching models after a musical instruction. With its precision 18-jewel Swiss-automatic movement, the Legato Cirque truly is a work of art. As stylish as it is functional, the watch features a classic black dial with white Roman numerals at each hour index, a date display window beside the three o’clock hour marker, and skeleton style hour, minute and second hands. The watch band is slender black rubber with a stainless steel clasp. Though it is not designed for the outdoors, with a water resistance of 100 meters (330), the Legato Cirque is safe to take into the pool or the shower.
All of the timepieces we have discussed today are sold online. Take a moment to find your favorite Swiss Legend models now.