Actually, I contend that the average purchaser of a wristwatch today has little or no idea what a mechanical or automatic watch is. Go to any retail store that sells wristwatches other than the jewelry stores that sell the high-end Tags, RX's or Breit's and see how many over-the-counter automatics or windups they have for sale. I can't recall seeing even ONE mechanical watch for sale in a low-end to mid-priced retail store for many years. Of course, our overseas Timexicans would have to tell us what their experience has been in other markets other than my market (Southeast U.S.)
Here's an example of how little young adults know about mechanical/automatic watches these days. Once a week we eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant about two miles from our home here in Southern Virginia. Over the years we've gotten to know the waiters by first name and have gleaned much information about their private lives outside of the restaurant setting. All of them are from Latin America and speak only enough English to take orders. Being a fluent Spanish speaker (I lived in Latin America for 7 years in my younger days) I have an inside track in getting to knows these interesting individuals. Our favorite waiter is Armando from El Salvador. He's a most pleasant and personable young man probably in his early to mid 20's. Like all of his co-workers, he's a most energetic and skilled waiter who is eager to serve his customers. Over the years my wife and I have learned much about his life, his family in El Salvador, his quest for a Salvadorean girlfriend/wife, his desire to save enough money to eventually return to his home country, and his love of playing soccer (football) on Sundays and holidays.
A few weeks ago I won a most attractive Chinese-made automatic with a Pepsi bezel on ebay for the grand total of $12.98 USD including shipping. Of course, it's NOT a high end watch so my expectations were not stratospheric. I wore it to dinner last Friday night at the Mexican restaurant. I noticed that Armando wasn't wearing a watch. I asked him what happened to his watch and he said the battery had died and he didn't have enough money to have it replaced. So, seeing his eyes light up when he saw my shiny new Pepsi-bezel automatic, I took it off my wrist and gave it to him. The poor fellow was so shocked and overwhelmed that he could barely speak. All of his waiter friends swarmed over to see his new watch. Then he asked in Spanish, "Donde se pone la bateria?" (Where do you put the battery?). I proceeded to explain to Armando and his friends about mechanical watches. I could tell from their questions and reactions that none of them knew anything whatsoever about timepieces other than battery/quartz devices. It was most revealing to me to realize that here was a generation of young adults to whom windup/automatic watches were as alien as life on other planets.
The point of this rambling story is to say that I suspect mechanical/automatic watches will eventually disappear because younger generations know nothing about them. I'd be willing to bet that it's people 50 years old or older who have been keeping the mechanical/automatic lines of timepieces going all these years. Yes, high end famous name watches will continue to be status symbols and will never disappear, but I'm siding with TG in his prediction that most mechanical movement watches won't be around many more years or decades.
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