TAG Heuer to Combine Swiss Watch Expertise With Technology in 'Different Craftsmanship'

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Apr 12, 2001
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LVMH luxury watch chief and TAG Heuer interim head Jean-Claude Biver spoke recently with Bloomberg, revealing some early details about the company's upcoming smartwatch product. Biver was a notable early critic of the Apple Watch, saying Apple's wearable effort looked like it was designed by "a student in their first trimester," although he appears to have shifted his perspective more recently.

In this week's Bloomberg interview, Biver recognizes the technological shortcomings of the Swiss watch industry, which lacks the communications and hardware background to produce a smartwatch. Instead, TAG Heuer will develop its smartwatch using a "different craftsmanship" that merges the mechanical know-how of the Swiss watch makers with the technology expertise of Silicon Valley.
For a smartwatch, "we can't produce the engine, the chips, the applications, the hardware -- nobody can produce it in Switzerland," Biver said. "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."
Biver earlier confirmed TAG Heuer was looking to work with technology companies on its smartwatch device and told Bloomberg in his latest interview that the company will reveal these partnerships in the next six weeks. Google and Intel are among the companies rumored to be collaborating with the luxury watch maker.

Besides the typical smartwatch functions of GPS location tracking, step counting, and smartphone integration, TAG Heuer may also differentiate its product by offering exclusive apps that promote its brand and partnerships such as the sports teams that it sponsors.

Though he may be creating a competing product, Biver told Bloomberg he plans to buy an Apple Watch when it launches.
"It's a fantastic product, an incredible achievement," he said. "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."
Apple is expected to launch the Apple Watch as soon as March. The wearable band will be available in a variety of configurations designed for the average user, the sports enthusiast, and the luxury customer looking for a high-end smartwatch.

Article Link: TAG Heuer to Combine Swiss Watch Expertise With Technology in 'Different Craftsmanship'
 

kds1

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Feb 17, 2013
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I don't know why these Swiss watch companies even care about developing smart watches. They don't need too. The product they produce is something completely different.
 

2bikes

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2012
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I don't know why these Swiss watch companies even care about developing smart watches. They don't need too. The product they produce some something completely different.
Like most good companies, they have probably done their homework and concluded that either; they see smart watches as a treat or they want to be a part of a new segment in addition to what they produce now.
 

kds1

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Feb 17, 2013
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Like most good companies, they have probably done their homework and concluded that either; they see smart watches as a treat or they want to be a part of a new segment in addition to what they produce now.
It's got to be the latter, because the former isn't true.
 

Keirasplace

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2014
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Montreal
Like most good companies, they have probably done their homework and concluded that either; they see smart watches as a treat or they want to be a part of a new segment in addition to what they produce now.
Even if this not a treat, if Apple makes it cool to wear a watch again, they can profit from that since well, they make watches (even if not smart watches).

So, either they profit directly, or profit through an expanded market for their main products.
 
As always, competition is good. As each player takes their crack at an iWatch competitor, new ideas will be born and old ideas will be enhanced. Tag makes some dazzling, high-quality watches. Taking a crack at this market is serious competition with almost an entirely fresh point-of-view. Even if Apple ends up dominating this niche, these others will likely add good ideas to the concept, resulting in better products both from Apple and competing with Apple.
 

DaveTheRave

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2003
605
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I don't know why these Swiss watch companies even care about developing smart watches. They don't need too. The product they produce is something completely different.
Agreed. Just like iPads will never kill off PC's, compact cars won't kill trucks, and Apple Watch won't kill off the simple watch that can go years without needing a new battery.

Watches can have sentiment value. My Seiko was a gift from my parents from 20 years ago. Couldn't care less if it can't send a heartbeat to someone or display alerts.

Of course I might have a different opinion if/when the Apple Watch makes it to version 5.0. Who knows.
 

Yinmay

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2010
159
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There are Swiss watchmakers and Swiss watchmakers. You can't lump them all in one category. TAG Heuer is about "avant garde", it's in their name. They branded themselves as the innovative modern brand pushing new technologies. And they totally were for the entire 20th century, compared for instance with very traditional brands such as Longines or Vacheron Constantin.

But in the past 10 years they've been unable to keep up with new technologies. They tried to catch on the smartphone train and failed, now they're trying to hop into the smart watch wagon before it's too late, and my guess is they'll fail too. That plus the recent surge in Swiss currency, and prospects are getting very gloom for "mid luxury brands".

And I say that with a lot of sympathy, I own two TAG Heuer watches.

Low cost brands such as Swatch Hamilton Timex Seiko and Citizen will continue to do well.
Very high end brands as well, such as Patek, Audemars, Jaeger, IWC or more affordable brands that focus on more conservative and historic designs such as Longines and Omega will also continue doing well.
 

Daalseth

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2012
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Biver was a notable early critic of the Apple Watch, saying Apple's wearable effort looked like it was designed by "a student in their first trimester," [/url]
I certainly agree with that, but then IMO the market is a good five years plus before it matures into mainstream, if ever.
 

Zelmung

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2014
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132
Vancouver
It's got to be the latter, because the former isn't true.
Of course it's true. Most people will only ever wear 1 watch at a time. And if the watch people choose to wear is an Apple Watch, then they're less likely to buy a Swiss watch. It's a subdtitute product, plain and simple.

Yes, it is a completely different product intended for different audiences, but the effect will nonetheless spillover into the potential buyers of the Swiss Watch.
 

bacaramac

macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2007
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I would rather these high end watch companies partner with companies like Apple. Let Apple handle the technology/software side and let companies like TAG help on physical design. Apple is not an expert in Swiss watches and TAG is not an expert in the smart area.

I would surely buy a Smart TAG watch if Apple ran software/technology components.
 

thekeyring

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Jan 5, 2012
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What I'm interested to see is that - if the Apple Watch is Ice 2.0, what is Ice 1.0 - the smartphone, or the high-end jewellery watches we're used to?
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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A watch, even a very nice watch, is still just a watch. The Apple Watch is body technology disguised as a watch, with all the possibilities this implies. Whether the luxury watch makers have anything to fear from Apple remains to be seen, but it does seem clear that the two segments only incidentally overlap in the longer run.
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
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I doubt TAG Heuer has either the software experience, expertise or raw desire internally to do a smart watch.

And smart watches still have a long way to go before they can be watch replacements.

Battery life alone is a headache.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
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Wait a minute, wasn't this the guy who said Watch was too feminine and looks like it was designed by a design student in their first semester? Now he says its a fantastic product and incredible achievement?

I thought Tag was supposed to be showing off a smartwatch at CES. Whatever happened to that?
 

Haifisch

macrumors regular
Nov 19, 2012
174
11
I would rather these high end watch companies partner with companies like Apple. Let Apple handle the technology/software side and let companies like TAG help on physical design. Apple is not an expert in Swiss watches and TAG is not an expert in the smart area.

I would surely buy a Smart TAG watch if Apple ran software/technology components.
I'm sure there were conservations between the two companies. But in the end, Apple probably felt they can do the physical design almost as good (for the market that they plan the sell the Apple Watch in), so they don't need to share the pie with TAG.
 

anthogag

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2015
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Canada
Apple's "Watch" could suck because it forces the user to fixate for extended periods on a tiny screen and it will need charging every day.

The goal for a "connected watch" should be glancing at your watch and self-charging. "Traditional" watch makers can add bluetooth notifications and still maintain self-charging functionality.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
Wait a minute, wasn't this the guy who said Watch was too feminine and looks like it was designed by a design student in their first semester? Now he says its a fantastic product and incredible achievement?

I thought Tag was supposed to be showing off a smartwatch at CES. Whatever happened to that?
Any allusion to abortion is purely coincidental.
 
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