Swatch lost $1B in value on Apple Watch Series 3 launch, investors expect further falls

Swiss watchmaker Swatch saw its share value fall 4.5% on the day the Apple Watch Series 3 was launched, as Apple announced that its smartwatch is now the biggest-selling watch in the world.

That wiped almost a billion dollars off Swatch’s market cap, and investors think there’s worse to come …

Business Insider noted that options – which effectively allow investors to bet on a rise or fall in a share price – are strongly favoring a further fall.

If investors trading Swatch options are to be believed, the company’s share price woes are just getting started. They’re paying the highest premium in a year to hedge against a 10% decline in the company’s stock over the next month, relative to the cost of bets on a 10% increase, according to Bloomberg data.

What’s more, four of the five Swatch options contracts with the highest open interest — defined as outstanding commitments trading at present time — are bearish puts [betting on a fall].

Analysts say that while sales of high-end mechanical watches are unlikely to be affected, companies like Swatch – which mostly makes low- to mid-range watches – are being hit hard.

Some traditional watch manufacturers had suggested that smartwatches would be a passing fad, and that traditional watches would reassert themselves – perhaps even benefiting from renewed interest in wearables – but an analyst cited by Bloomberg says these hopes have now been dashed.

“Far from being a flash in the pan, smartwatches are bound to stay and continue to upgrade their functionality — the recently announced new Apple Watch is a case in point,” said Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas.

The Apple Watch Series 3 adds LTE connectivity, allowing the watch to work as a standalone device for the first time. Pricing starts at $399, less than had been expected, though you need to add $10/month for a cellular plan from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile. Apple said that battery-life would range from one hour of talk-time to 18 hours without GPS or LTE usage.

Check out our roundup of the new line-up, and Zac’s first impressions of the latest model – as well as our first-look video below.

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