TAG Heuer CEO backtracks on Apple Watch, calls it “a fantastic product”

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In an interview with Bloomberg this week, the TAG Heuer CEO said that the company’s new smart watch will not be dubbed “Swiss Made,” and that he has changed his mind about the new Apple Watch.

 

Apparently, to qualify for being “Swiss made”, at least 50% of a watch’s parts have to be made in Switzerland. TAG says that it plans to launch its own smart watch but Jean-Claude Biver (CEO) says “We can’t produce the engine, the chips, the applications, the hardware — nobody can produce it in Switzerland”.

This means that it won’t be labelled Swiss made, a mark of quality, craftsmanship and design. “The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss”, said Biver.

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Biver believes the Apple Watch is a threat to traditional watches that cost less than $2,000, and so it’s no surprise that to counter that threat TAG is planning its own smart watch in partnership with high tech companies. TAG says they will announce various partnerships in the next six weeks.

TAG boss dismisses Apple Watch, but changes mind

Apple Watch - TAG CEO

Jean-Claude Biver, head of timepieces at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. Source: Bloomberg

When the Apple Watch was announced last year, there was a lot of hoo-ha by the traditional Swiss watch industry that it wasn’t appealing and looked to much like smart watches already available.

FUN FACT: according to Wikipedia, Jean-Claude Biver produces approximately five tonnes of cheese every year at his farm in the Swiss Alps. You can also follow him on Twitter here for insights into the Swiss watch industry, and Swiss cheese.

Biver pooh-pooh’d the Apple Watch initially, saying that “This watch has no sex appeal. It’s too feminine and looks too much like the smart watches already on the market,” in an interview with newspaper Die Welt, and that “To be totally honest, it looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester”.

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However in a complete turnaround he since said that TAG would announce its own device, and now says of the Apple Watch:

It <Apple Watch> is a fantastic product, an incredible achievement…I’m not just living in the tradition and culture and the past, I also want to be connected to the future. The Apple Watch connects me to the future. My watch connects me to history, to eternity.

Biver claims that TAG Heuer’s first smart watch will include GPS and health monitoring functions, besides tie-ins with sports companies that they sponsor.

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The Apple Watch will cost from $350 and is supposedly set for release in March.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

Do you intend to buy the Apple Watch when it’s released in a few months? Would you prefer a TAG smart watch, or does the whole concept put you off?

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