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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:24 AM   #1
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Swiss Watchmakers Rebuff Apple's Partnership and Hiring Advances




Apple allegedly is trying to tap Swiss watchmakers for their technical and metallurgy expertise as the company works to brings its rumored iWatch to the market, reports the Financial Times. Though Apple is reaching out to several companies, most are not willing to work with the Cupertino company.

Swatch chief executive officer Nick Hayek confirmed the watchmaker has talked to several companies about their wearable products, but he is not interested in forging a partnership with any group.
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We have been in discussions - not ever initiated by us - with practically all players in smart wearables up until today," Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek told the Financial Times. "However, we see no reason why we should enter into any partnership agreement."
Hayek says his reluctance to work with Apple and similar companies comes from his desire to protect Swatch's advancements in ergonomic design, longevity and battery life, but he also has been critical of the iWatch, proclaiming publicly the smartwatch won't be "the next revolution" for Apple.

Traditional watch-style iWatch concept based on TRIWA's Havana Nevil Brown watch, by Gábor Balogh
Jean-Claude Biver, president of Watches and Jewelry at LVMH, claims Apple unsuccessfully tried to poach employees from his Hublot brand as well as from other manufacturers who make precision parts for these luxury watches.
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"Apple has contacted some of my employees - I saw the emails personally," Mr Biver told a Swiss publication, claiming that all those who had been contacted refused the iPhone maker's advances.
Apple allegedly may launch the iWatch later this year as it prepares to expand its lineup of mobile devices to the wrist. The iWatch may have a fitness focus with biosensors that enable users to track vital health statistics like heart rate, blood pressure and more. It is believed the band could share this data with Apple's Healthbook app, a health and fitness title expected to debut alongside iOS 8.

Article Link: Swiss Watchmakers Rebuff Apple's Partnership and Hiring Advances
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:26 AM   #2
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Way to get some press....Oh, and a new mock-up please.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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Nice concept. It diverges from these ugly rectangular watches currently sold.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:28 AM   #4
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-- removed by user --

Last edited by losthorse; Jul 15, 2014 at 09:22 PM.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:28 AM   #5
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Apple seems to be doing a lot of reaching out for this "iWatch".
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:29 AM   #6
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Good for them... there is no innovation in buying someone else's work and rebranding it as your own.

Do your own work Apple!
lol like Xerox?
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:29 AM   #7
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Uh, yeah, thanks for that!

Last edited by AngerDanger; Mar 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM. Reason: emphasis
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:30 AM   #8
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Question is, would Apple be interested in a partnership with other watch companies? Apples history is that they are control freaks and rather do things in-house - and I don't think that changed much under Tim Cook. They might buy components all over the place, but I don't think that is what these news articles are about ... they sound more like the watch makers want to get some headlines by throwing the word 'Apple' into the mix.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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Meanwhile, Swatch's stockholders are screaming at Hayek.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:32 AM   #10
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There is an odd undercurrent to these statements, although it may just be my perspective.

It doesn't come across do much as they being unwilling to partner, although I am sure that is part of it, as it does a group of people trying to huddle in and convince themselves and the rest of the world that the status quo will be maintained.

Also, I am curious as to why they are already proclaiming that the iWatch will come, and that it will be a failure.

Not only does history show them the error in believing such a statement, but they are outright ignoring the fact that it might not come at all.

If it does come, I think we can be quite certain it will be a great product. For whom and how many they sell is a legitimate question, but it will be great under some light regardless.

The whole thing smells more "scared" than "confident".

Karl P

Edit: I wonder if Apple has approached any of these to partner at all. As some other posters have pointed out - it's not normally like them to partner on something. It is likely they have tried to poach - and have probably been successfully in many cases. Maybe this is a veiled attempt to say back-off, or perhaps, oddly enough, even a backhanded way to say "we have kept a key employee or two... maybe you should consider partnering with us..."

Whatever it is, seems as though there is at best some half-truths here.

Last edited by iamkarlp; Mar 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:32 AM   #11
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...he also has been critical of the iWatch, proclaiming publicly the smartwatch won't be "the next revolution" for Apple.
I agree with this, but I'm a wearables skeptic. I was completely happy to stop wearing a watch at all in the 1990s when I got a pager, and I don't want to go back. I think watch companies should go out of business or become niche players in the jewelry departments.

OTOH, as far as I know, I have never been right about any technology prediction I've ever made.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:33 AM   #12
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Wow. Who knew watchmakers were dumber and bigger luddites than the RIAA! I personally enjoy a nice watch but I'm an aging Gen X. Let's face it Millennials, as a generation, have no respect for watches.

Swatches were super cool when I was in HS but they are pretty much a collector's niche today. I never see anyone in their stores (unless the Apple Store in the same mall) or notice anyone wearing them (unlike people using Apple products). A little Apple magic couldn't hurt Swatch.

As for high end swiss watches, I fully understand why they wouldn't want to mar their brand w/ Apple.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:34 AM   #13
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This sounds like the story when Apple was trying to partner with cellphone carriers to launch the iPhone. Many refused and didn't believe it.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:34 AM   #14
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Looks like another company that will regret holding on to the past instead of embracing the future.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by MCroft View Post
I agree with this, but I'm a wearables skeptic. I was completely happy to stop wearing a watch at all in the 1990s when I got a pager, and I don't want to go back. I think watch companies should go out of business or become niche players in the jewelry departments.

OTOH, as far as I know, I have never been right about any technology prediction I've ever made.
I think if/when the iWatch happens it will be very different from what our expectations are. Apple wouldn't bring it to market unless it was a game changer so I try to reserve judgment until I see it. I thought the iPad was ridiculous when it was announced and now I'm inseparable from mine.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:35 AM   #16
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We've seen similar behavior before.

Apple:"Hai, we would like you to sell this new phone we've made."
Short Sighted Carrier: "mmmm, no thanks."

Now we see things like this: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/03/25/...-iphones-sold/

Watch innovation is knocking on the door. They should offer to partner up.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:37 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by 0815 View Post
Question is, would Apple be interested in a partnership with other watch companies? Apples history is that they are control freaks and rather do things in-house - and I don't think that changed much under Tim Cook.
Were you sleeping during the whole CarPlay announcement last month? Apple's control over how car maker's implement the system is quite weak.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:38 AM   #18
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I see this as similar to Verizon's refusal to partner with Apple for the first iPhone. Mistake!

Mark
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:38 AM   #19
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The Swiss watch industry is notoriously protective, and incredibly snooty. They do not welcome new players, and especially not a foreign player. I'm not surprised Apple has approached them, as I'm sure they're working on a quality product (more Hublot than Seiko). Apple is in no position to take much sales away from high-end brands ($1,000+ range… people wearing those have no interest in replace in them with a smartwatch), but if I were the head of a Swiss watch firm, I'd be concerned about the lower end of their market. If the idea takes off, I'd expect an eventual partnership with a high-end brand to build in the Apple tech.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:39 AM   #20
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Dear Watchmakers...

Dear Watchmakers,

A paradigm shift is coming. If you keep doing things the way you always have done them, you will be marginalized. Think of Palm and Blackberry phones.

And--face palm--think of the WATCH industry. In the 1960s, quartz movement was a paradigm shift for watch makers. The Swiss said, "no, thank you" and the Japanese took quartz and ran with it. It changed the whole industry. The mass market moved to away from the Swiss watches and started buying Seiko, Casio, and other Japanese watches. It's about to happen again and they don't see it.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by paul55br View Post
This sounds like the story when Apple was trying to partner with cellphone carriers to launch the iPhone. Many refused and didn't believe it.
Yep!
How many actually still look at their watch when asked for the time...? I'd guess that number is decreasing.
Also (IMO) Swatch was popular 10 years ago... I really don't care what they're doing now.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:42 AM   #22
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They should partner with apple

Mechanical timepieces will not enjoy a strong market forever. They're already falling out of vogue with younger people. I've seen this before, in the assistive technology market. Proprietary device makers who manufacture augmentative communication aids see an open platform come along... like the iPad, but don't enter the app market, because it's against their core product line. Then they see their core market erode as people develop and use apps on the open platform device. Then, by the time they concede and develop an app of their own, they're drowning in competition in the new market.

The same will happen for watches. Maybe Apple should just find their favorite watch companies and buy them out for their expertise. They're on an extinction curve, anyway. When you aren't innovating, you're scavenging.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:42 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by iamkarlp View Post
There is an odd undercurrent to these statements, although it may just be my perspective.

It doesn't come across do much as they being unwilling to partner, although I am sure that is part of it, as it does a group of people trying to huddle in and convince themselves and the rest of the world that the status quo will be maintained.

Also, I am curious as to why they are already proclaiming that the iWatch will come, and that it will be a failure.

Not only does history show them the error in believing such a statement, but they are outright ignoring the fact that it might not come at all.

If it does come, I think we can be quite certain it will be a great product. For whom and how many they sell is a legitimate question, but it will be great under some light regardless.

The whole thing smells more "scared" than "confident".

Karl P
I would say that real high end watchmakers don't have much to fear from this but then Swatch and Hublot are nothing more that a lot of hype and marketing and have no serious watch making credentials. Probably why they sound so scared.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:42 AM   #24
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No imagination

One imagines Mr Jobs would never have approached the watchmakers in such a crude fashion, with so little class or style. Sending an email to an employee is very in the box corporate, no imagination.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 10:43 AM   #25
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People will still buy old fashioned watches a few years from now .... just like they still buy typewriters today.

Watches work on the high end. Look at me! I wear an expensive watch! But it doesn't tell the time any better than a very inexpensive watch.

Connected watches have a lot of potential. But why confine it to a watch? Wouldn't it be more useful to have a Wonder Woman-sized digital bracelet with a decent screen size?
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