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Apr 12, 2001
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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.
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.

Balogh-iwatch.jpg
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.
"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
 

0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
1,797
1,076
here and there but not over there
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.
 

iamkarlp

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2008
102
0
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:

MCroft

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2003
45
7
Houston
...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.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,835
7,396
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.
 

paul55br

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2012
69
50
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.
 

Craiger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2007
848
289
Looks like another company that will regret holding on to the past instead of embracing the future.
 

bmunge

macrumors 6502
Mar 7, 2012
320
391
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.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,835
7,396
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.
 

Mark Booth

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2008
1,654
494
I see this as similar to Verizon's refusal to partner with Apple for the first iPhone. Mistake!

Mark
 

DTphonehome

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
1,921
3,424
NYC
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.
 

johncarync

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2005
245
227
Cary, NC
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.
 

nazaar

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
577
298
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.
 

Gravity

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2002
161
0
Chicago
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.
 

everything-i

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2012
827
2
London, UK
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.;)
 

Macknees

macrumors newbie
Mar 28, 2014
1
0
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.
 

512ke

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2003
578
186
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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