Cars & Watches: Europe vs. Japan

Cars & Watches: Europe vs. Japan

There are numerous parallels between watches and cars, and a large number of the same trends witnessed in one industry can frequently be observed and reflected throughout the other. Albeit both cars and watches are manufactured in numerous different countries throughout the entire world, in both industries it is primarily European and Asian manufacturers that dominate the majority of the global market.

Patek Philippe is among the most recognized watchmakers in Europe

Within the wristwatch industry, the vast majority of very good quality, world-renowned, luxury manufacturers are based out of Europe. Albeit certain Japanese luxury watch manufacturers such as Credor and Grand Seiko produce small-batch works with immaculate degrees of hand-finishing and a remarkable attention to detail, these Japanese brands are regularly avoided with regards to the discussion when individuals refer to the world’s most prestigious and renowned, luxury wristwatch brands.

One of the most famous Japanese watchmakers is Grand Seiko

High-end Japanese manufacturers also seem to be underrated inside the world of premium and performance-oriented cars. Priced above the vast majority of luxury automobiles are the premium offerings from brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche, and Bentley. While Japanese luxury car manufacturers such as Lexus and Acura are frequently referenced alongside their European counterparts, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, when the discussion turns from luxury automobiles to premium – luxury automobiles, Japanese manufacturers struggle to locate the same widespread recognition and appreciation that is delighted in by numerous individuals of their European competitors – despite producing comparable, and as a rule, even superior products.

BMW is an industry goliath, and one of Europe’s most prestigious car companies

Just as a Credor watch made inside Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio can easily clash with anything created by Europe’s most prestigious, luxury watch manufacturers , Japanese supercars, such as the Nissan GT-R, the Acura NSX, and the Lexus LFA can outperform a considerable lot of their European competitors. Despite offering comparable (or even superior) performance, and frequently at a significantly lower price point, Japanese supercars don’t receive nearly the same levels of recognition and general notoriety, as supercars from Italy, Germany, or even England.

The Nissan GTR can go head to head with the best Europe has to offer (Photo courtesy of Car and Driver)

Where Japanese manufacturers locate their greatest successes and their most enthusiastic customer-base is on the lower-end of the price spectrum – both in the car industry and the wristwatch industry. Numerous individuals don’t require (nor need) a supercar, and would prefer to claim an eco-friendly and comfortable vehicle for getting to and from work. For those seeking affordability, practicality, and greatest features per dollar spent, Japanese manufactures are nearly impossible to beat, and are able to provide the entirety of this and more in an exceptionally reliable bundle.

In the same manner that Seiko can sell an ISO-rated, mechanical plunge watch with an in-house development for less than what it costs to have a Rolex cleaned and serviced, Honda can sell a completely stacked Civic for significantly less than the cost of the cheapest, entry-level vehicle from BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Moreover, Japan’s ability to embrace new innovation – in both the car and wristwatch industries – has resulted in an unparalleled ability to provide new and previously unheard-of features to their products, which would have otherwise simply not been possible without the integration of new innovation.

Luxury watches and vehicles are both subject to rigorous testing (pictured above is a water-proof test)

Just as Toyota was able to offer customers unparalleled eco-friendliness during the late 1990s with their modestly-priced, hybrid electric vehicle , the Prius, Casio can sell a solar-powered G-Shock with atomic timekeeping, 200-meters of water resistance, and more extra features and complications than it is possible to find a way into a mechanical watch the size of a grapefruit – for less than the cost of dinner for two at a fair restaurant. Moreover, that same Casio G-Shock will be virtually indestructible, and will survive a 100-meter drop out of a window after being frozen overnight in a block of ice (assuming that it does not land in liquid magma thereafter).

The parallels and similarities between the auto and watch industries are nearly endless, and they even stretch out to the various consumer preferences and prejudices that dictate the successes, failures, and market placemat of the brands that operate inside their respective industries. Albeit European manufacturers firmly dominate the premium, luxury-oriented segment of the both the auto and wristwatch markets, Japanese watch manufacturers that have discovered remarkable success with the countless individuals that would prefer to have Bluetooth network and a sunroof, rather than a carbon fiber body unit and a motor with an extra 300 horsepower.