Watch display cases fill a prominent spot in the center of Smyth Jewelers’ sprawling Timonium store, where groups of shoppers last week surveyed the selection, from top-of-the-line Breitling Bentleys to the fashionable Michele women’s line with interchangeable straps.
“It’s a big part of what we do,” said Josh Makowski, director of the sales for the Baltimore-based retailer. “The watch industry has done a great job of keeping up with the time. They … keep the lines fresh and moving along with the time — no pun intended.”
People have been shifting to new ways of telling time for years, thanks to smartphones. But even though nearly everyone now carries a device that displays the time, U.S. watch sales remain strong, rising 7.7 percent to $9.1 billion in 2014, according to a jewelry market report from Edahn Golan Diamond Research & Data. But those sales faltered following the April launch of the highly anticipated Apple Watch as watch sales dropped more in June than they had since the recession.