OREANDA-NEWS. February 23, 2016. Global shipments of smartwatches outpaced those of Swiss watches in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to figures released Thursday by market researcher Strategy Analytics. It's the first time the wearable tech devices have overtaken their luxurious brethren, and much of the credit goes to Apple, which the researcher says dominates the smartwatch marketplace.

While the popularity of smartwatches is growing dramatically, consumer interest in Swiss watches is waning. That's largely due to a reluctance on the part of the Swiss firms to embrace emerging wearable tech, which in addition to telling time lets wearers place calls, send and receive emails, and check their stocks and blood pressure. Swiss shipments declined 5 percent in the quarter compared with the same quarter in 2014, while smartwatch shipments rose 316 percent over the same time.

"The Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to the development of smartwatches," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "The Swiss watch industry has been sticking its head in the sand and hoping smartwatches will go away."

The predicament that the Swiss watch industry faces appears to fulfill a forecast reportedly made nearly two years ago by Apple's chief designer. The New York Times reported in 2014 that Jony Ive said that the luxury watch market would be in "trouble" after the debut of the then-unannounced Apple Watch.