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Apple hires sales director of Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer for anticipated 'iWatch' launch

post #1 of 126
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The sales director of luxury watch maker TAG Heuer, which also owns the brands Hublot and Zenith, has reportedly left the company to assist Apple in the anticipated launch of its rumored "iWatch" this fall.

Patek Philippe's 5104, an ultra-rare
Patek Philippe's 5104, an ultra-rare "grand complication" watch that has sold for as much as $800,000


All three brands fall under the umbrella of LVMH, and Jean-Claude Biver, the head of the company's watch brands, revealed to CNBC that the head of the company's sales left last week for Apple. He claimed that Apple apparently plans on marketing its product as "Swiss made" to add an air of credibility when pitching it to consumers.

The name of the employee apparently hired by Apple was not revealed.

The report said that Apple has attempted to hire a number of employees from Swiss watch makers, but has had limited success. Biver said he would have been upset if the LVMH marketing chief had left for another watch maker, but he thinks Apple will provide "a great experience for him."

It was first claimed in March that Apple was reaching out to Swiss watch makers for partnerships. The Cupertino, Calif., company was said to be in contact with executives and craftsmen at Swiss watch brands in attempts to bring expertise in-house for its anticipated "iWatch."

Biver had said in March that Apple had attempted to recuirt horologists from LVMH, but none at the time chose to leave the company.

Expert watch makers were said to be skeptical of partnering with Apple because they have little faith in the potential of smartwatches. In particular, Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek suggested that technical constraints would doom the nascent product category.

"To make a smartwatch work you need two hands or voice recognition, which again needs a lot of power, which is difficult in a very limited space, Hayek said.
post #2 of 126

Surely if the release is this fall then the launch plans/details must be already in place? Seems a bit late to hire an expert unless the release date is further away than expected?

post #3 of 126
"Yeah, Apple wanted me to help them but I told them no", lol why do I not believe those last 2 paragraphs.
Even IF it was a terrible idea, one does not simply pass up an offer from a company like this.
post #4 of 126
The Swatch CEO is delusional

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post #5 of 126
Hmmm...I saw this last week on Twitter. The tweet came from someone who studied at MIT and was an intern at Apple in 2011.

https://twitter.com/shewu19/statuses/483426427732099072

@shewu19: insider sources tell me that the iWatch design will be a collaboration between Jony Ive and Panerai...stay tuned
post #6 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybumps View Post

Surely if the release is this fall then the launch plans/details must be already in place? Seems a bit late to hire an expert unless the release date is further away than expected?

Looks like they hired someone from sales/marketing, not engineering.
post #7 of 126
Apple would never promote its products as Swiss made. Swiss products envoke quality and tradition, while California's products are high-tech, cool and revolutionary.

iWatch will be yet another Designed in California revolutionary product changing the watch landscape and making many of the Swatch watches (not the luxury range which has primarily a status symbol function) feel like Kodak cameras of yesteryear. A big wake-up call in the watch industry is about to happen.
post #8 of 126
I just watched the CNBC video clip of Biver speaking about the new Apple hire. It is amazing that he would go on international television to announce his lost the very next day after the loss had occurred. I do not understand his motives with any of the interviews he has had about Apple's iWatch. All he has done in my opinion is add more fuel to the fire of Apple's mystery smart watch.

On another note. From the associated March 28th article...

It is "conceivable that they [Apple] would be interested in developing a type of hybrid with some type of mechanical aspects...the Swiss watch industry is very adept at metallurgy," said Patek Philippe president Larry Pettinelli.

Liquid Metal anyone? Liquid Metal?
post #9 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobleh View Post

Apple would never promote its products as Swiss made. Swiss products envoke quality and tradition, while California's products are high-tech, cool and revolutionary.

iWatch will be yet another Designed in California revolutionary product changing the watch landscape and making many of the Swatch watches (not the luxury range which has primarily a status symbol function) feel like Kodak cameras of yesteryear. A big wake-up call in the watch industry is about to happen.
There must be a reason Apple hired a sales exec from a luxury Swiss watch maker.

Honestly I don't see Apple doing anything like the Moto 360. As I've said elsewhere the Moto 360 reminds me of those home make over TV shows where a designer is given $1000 to redesign the house and they try to make something look expensive on the cheap. I've seen the kind of watches Jony Ive wears. You can't make a $199 or $299 version of those.

Earlier this year Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that there would be different types of "iWatch" and one could be $1000 or more. I still find that hard to believe, but then I see this story and the rumor that Ive is working with Panerai and it makes me wonder just what is Apple planning here? You don't hire a sales exec from Tag Heuer to market and sell a fitness band. And really the same could be said of Angela Ahrendts and Paul Deneve. They both came from luxury fashion companies. What if Apple is working on multiple products that would include a fitness type device and a more luxury style watch? This fall is going to be very interesting,
post #10 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobleh View Post

Apple would never promote its products as Swiss made. Swiss products envoke quality and tradition, while California's products are high-tech, cool and revolutionary.

iWatch will be yet another Designed in California revolutionary product changing the watch landscape and making many of the Swatch watches (not the luxury range which has primarily a status symbol function) feel like Kodak cameras of yesteryear. A big wake-up call in the watch industry is about to happen.


The existing paridigm of luxury watches invoking bygone days of aviators and naval frogmen will be seem quaint and outdated the moment Apple introduces its wearable. As previous generations were fond of exclaiming, "You can set your watch by that!"
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I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
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post #11 of 126
Very interesting... strange... intriguing.

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post #12 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobleh View Post

Apple would never promote its products as Swiss made. Swiss products envoke quality and tradition, while California's products are high-tech, cool and revolutionary.

iWatch will be yet another Designed in California revolutionary product changing the watch landscape and making many of the Swatch watches (not the luxury range which has primarily a status symbol function) feel like Kodak cameras of yesteryear. A big wake-up call in the watch industry is about to happen.

 

I can see merit to both sides perspectives having credibility in this.  Apple would want the iWatch to be 'Swiss Made' because that evokes quality and craftsmanship.  Buying an iWatch means Apple has to get buyers to give up their 'bodily retail space' (aka wrist) and trade out their watches for it.  Since Apple generally likes the more affluent crowd it has to get them to give up their elegant high quality watches in favor of the iPhone.   'Made by Foxconn' in China is a hurdle many of those wouldn't view as a 'plus' when giving up their wrist space.  The iWatch may have enough merit on its own to overcome that, but I believe it raises the bar substantially.

 

From the Swiss manufacturers turning down Apple is almost a no-brainer.  Apple is the big dog and likes to be in control of any relationships it enters.  None of them want to be the 'Foxconn of Switzerland' and being viewed as a trite manufacturer for Apple would irreperably damage their brand.

 

They are just not a good match for each other.

post #13 of 126
I still think we haven't seen an iWatch concept that 'removes the technology from center stage' as Apple seems to be able to do in other product categories. All smartwatches up until now have been very obviously a wrist worn computer. Apple, I believe, will be able to change all that.
post #14 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeloftroy View Post

I still think we haven't seen an iWatch concept that 'removes the technology from center stage' as Apple seems to be able to do in other product categories. All smartwatches up until now have been very obviously a wrist worn computer. Apple, I believe, will be able to change all that.
Exactly. And just making the watch face round doesn't make it less of a "wrist worn computer". It just makes it a worse experience because of the compromises needed to be made to fit a square card style UI onto a round face. Not to mention the ugly black bar at the bottom where the display drivers are.
post #15 of 126

So get ready, everyone, for Apple to set the Swiss watch industry on its ear, just like it set the mobile phone industry on its ear.

 

I haven't worn a watch for a good while now since I've had my iPhone with me all the time. But it's admittedly a little awkward to have to haul my iPhone out of my pocket and press the button to see the time.

 

I also still have a bit of a yearning to have a classy-looking timepiece on my wrist for myself and others to admire. But whenever I look at a Rolex, Movado, TAG/Heuer, etc. it's making less and less sense to drop that kind of coin on a timepiece that still has to be wound/worn/calibrated in order to show anywhere near the accuracy of time that my iPhone displays for free.

 

I think Apple has the right idea to create a wrist-worn device that displays not only accurate time, but most likely a lot of other information with the uniquely ready-access that such a form factor affords—and in a form that Sir Jonny has had a hand in designing.

 

Pretty exciting!

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post #16 of 126

I have no clue as to how Apple intends to differentiate itself from Android Wear and the Moto 360 for example, outside of the use of sensors.

Is the iWatch truly going to be way ahead of the competition this time?

Will many people buy it?

One thing I'm confident about is the design. I'm sure it'll immediately look a lot better than any other smartwatch to date.

 

Can't wait.

post #17 of 126
Maybe one version of the iWatch will literally look like a traditional watch in every way, but have Apple internals and sensors that speak to the iPhone?
post #18 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

I have no clue as to how Apple intends to differentiate itself from Android Wear and the Moto 360 for example, outside of the use of sensors.
Is the iWatch truly going to be way ahead of the competition this time?
Will many people buy it?
One thing I'm confident about is the design. I'm sure it'll immediately look a lot better than any other smartwatch to date.

Can't wait.

The design is Apple's biggest opportunity. Up till now all of the Android watches are too big and don't look like they'd be comfortable long term on the wrist.

If Apple can get the design and ergonomics down then they will already be ahead of the Android watch makers.

Add in excellent battery life and fitness sensors it'll be unique enough at launch where they wont have to worry about the posers that have been pushing products out quickly just in order to "beat" Apple to it.
post #19 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

The design is Apple's biggest opportunity. Up till now all of the Android watches are too big and don't look like they'd be comfortable long term on the wrist.

If Apple can get the design and ergonomics down then they will already be ahead of the Android watch makers.

Add in excellent battery life and fitness sensors it'll be unique enough at launch where they wont have to worry about the posers that have been pushing products out quickly just in order to "beat" Apple to it.
I wonder if this will be one of the first designs Steve had no involvement in or if Apple had watch concepts/prototypes around while he was still alive.
post #20 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I wonder if this will be one of the first designs Steve had no involvement in or if Apple had watch concepts/prototypes around while he was still alive.

Apple probably had prototype watches a decade ago. Wasn't their original patent for the wrap around continuous screen wrist band from 2008? I'm sure Steve had some input in the design and Apple has been waiting for technology to catch up with their vision.

Even so I don't think anyone has an idea what the iWatch may be. It could be a futuristic wrist band with a screen that wraps around the whole wrist or if could be a simple round watch face. Even if it is a round watch face I'm sure it won't be as bloated and comical looking as the Moto360.
post #21 of 126
I may have little sense of style when it comes to watches, but the one pictured in the article looks ugly as f**k.

With that said, I can't wait to see wait to see what the iWatch brings to the table. I don't wear my current watch often, but I could be persuaded to wear a smartwatch daily if it actually provides a notable increase in efficiency to my everyday work flow (and looked good doing it).
post #22 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybumps View Post
 

Surely if the release is this fall then the launch plans/details must be already in place? Seems a bit late to hire an expert unless the release date is further away than expected?

I be willing to bet that the watch idea has been floating around Cupertino for awhile and has likely gone through many redesigns over the years. The metallurgy aspect of the remarks is intriguing.

 

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post #23 of 126
It's a sales director and thus doesn't have anything to do with mechanical watches perse. Sales directors are number/prediction people. The guy just has experience in managing the sales of watches and that is what counts for this job. Such a hire has nothing to do with whether or not the former employer made mechanical watches or Apple's iWatch is a smart mechanical hybrid.
post #24 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


@shewu19: insider sources tell me that the iWatch design will be a collaboration between Jony Ive and Panerai...stay tuned
Well could just be case design, doesn't necessarily mean mechanical movement design. Btw how thick will a smartwatch/mechanical hybrid be? Mechanical movements take up a lot of room, room that is already scarce in smartwatches. Anyway even if it turns out to be a hybrid, please don't let it be Panerai. The movements are 'meh' and the fit and finish just isn't quite up to scratch (certainly for the price). Panerai is more a fashion accessory than anything else. Now a Jaeger-LeCoultre Apple collaboration for a hybrid that would be awesome.
Edited by Chipsy - 7/4/14 at 10:10am
post #25 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

<...>

Liquid Metal anyone? Liquid Metal?

 

What about Liquid Metal? It's not an apple invention/product, apple only licenses it. LM has been used for years in the watch industry, by the Swiss of course.

 

Unless this lapsed, using LM in watches may still be exclusive to Swatch...

 

http://www.swatchgroup.com/en/services/archive/2011/swatch_group_signs_exclusive_license_agreement_with_liquidmetal_technologies

 

...but no doubt apple could strike a deal if it needs it.

post #26 of 126
"To make a smartwatch work you need two hands or voice recognition, which again needs a lot of power, which is difficult in a very limited space, Hayek said."

This guy is incredibly unimaginitive and knows very little about technology!
post #27 of 126
Designed in California. Made in Switzerland*. (*May contain up to 49% parts and sweat from China by cost)

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post #28 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

"To make a smartwatch work you need two hands or voice recognition, which again needs a lot of power, which is difficult in a very limited space, Hayek said."

This guy is incredibly unimaginitive and knows very little about technology!

Can't use it one handed, unless you're double jointed, and have extraordinarily long fingers. Voice recognition does need a lot of power which is why the iPhone 4 did not get Siri support. Where is he wrong?
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post #29 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post

Buying an iWatch means Apple has to get buyers to give up their 'bodily retail space' (aka wrist) and trade out their watches for it.  

Not necessarily. I wear a Tag on my left wrist and intend to wear the Apple device on the other one. I don't see it as an either / or situation.
post #30 of 126
Quote
Expert watch makers were said to be skeptical of partnering with Apple because they have little faith in the potential of smartwatches. In particular, Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek suggested that technical constraints would doom the nascent product category.

"To make a smartwatch work you need two hands or voice recognition, which again needs a lot of power, which is difficult in a very limited space, Hayek said.

 

Yet, others are doing it, and we have confidence Apple will do it better. 

 

Why is it, even after Apple reinvents the wheel over and over again, do people keep saying they can't. Wouldn't you be better aligned with history to say 'What an impossible task, but I'm sure Apple will bring their magic and create something stunning'. 

 

 

This is how it should be done. Video below the fold. UPDATE: sadly, AI won't allow links to 9to5 so just sneak it in there yourself...

 

[disallowed URL] /2014/07/04/iwatch-an-opportunity-for-high-end-watch-brands-says-analyst-as-apple-hires-tag-heuer-exec/

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Hmmm...I saw this last week on Twitter. The tweet came from someone who studied at MIT and was an intern at Apple in 2011.

https://twitter.com/shewu19/statuses/483426427732099072

@shewu19: insider sources tell me that the iWatch design will be a collaboration between Jony Ive and Panerai...stay tuned

 

Link does not work. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


There must be a reason Apple hired a sales exec from a luxury Swiss watch maker.
 

 

Could it be to lead the 'sales'/marketing team? :) 


Edited by Richard Getz - 7/4/14 at 11:04am
post #31 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobleh View Post

Apple would never promote its products as Swiss made. Swiss products envoke quality and tradition, while California's products are high-tech, cool and revolutionary.

iWatch will be yet another Designed in California revolutionary product changing the watch landscape and making many of the Swatch watches (not the luxury range which has primarily a status symbol function) feel like Kodak cameras of yesteryear. A big wake-up call in the watch industry is about to happen.

I wouldn't be surprise if the iWatch looks more like a fashion statement than a piece of technology -- more Rolex than Swatch. I don't think the world is waiting for a "Dick Tracy" watch and I'll be surprised if Apple releases one. That's what everyone expects and it's already been knocked off by Apple's competitors! I expect iWatch will veer toward a traditional timepiece appearance-wise concealing its IOS capabilities.

post #32 of 126
The iPhone was destined to bomb as well. The prestige watch heads better be careful. Might find their predictions falling flat a few years from now. The Swiss made watch was future tech at one time. Life and technology thankfully moves on. I'm all down for an Apple made smart watch. Nothing worth doing doesn't come without a few naysayers.
post #33 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipsy View Post
Now a Jaeger-LeCoultre Apple collaboration for a hybrid that would be awesome.

Doesn't Ive wear a Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch?

 

At any rate, while I'm excited for Apple to release a wearable, I intend to wait for the second generation model. First generation Apple products always have some sort of crippling limitation, be it EFI 32, 256MB of RAM, or a weak CPU.

post #34 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post
 

I wouldn't be surprise if the iWatch looks more like a fashion statement than a piece of technology -- more Rolex than Swatch. I don't think the world is waiting for a "Dick Tracy" watch and I'll be surprised if Apple releases one. That's what everyone expects and it's already been knocked off by Apple's competitors! I expect iWatch will veer toward a traditional timepiece appearance-wise concealing its IOS capabilities.

 

I'm sure Apple's design will be nice but I think it will defiantly look more like a  gadget then a luxury watch. Which is why I'm going to wait a year or so to see what companies like TAG, Vertu and Kairos release. If I'm going to wear a watch I don't want something that was designed for the masses but a watch that is truly beautiful, unique and with enough functionality to be useful. 

 

This is what I'm looking for in a SmartWatch;

 

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post #35 of 126
As long as they sort the battery life issue!!!??? I will buy it, whatever. The batteries on my current watches usually last for several years.
post #36 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatrix View Post

As long as they sort the battery life issue!!!??? I will buy it, whatever. The batteries on my current watches usually last for several years.

That is why I would prefer a hybrid watch like the Kairos, 5 to 7 days. Unlike a completely color digital display that will only get a quarter of that time. 

When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #37 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

Doesn't Ive wear a Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch?

At any rate, while I'm excited for Apple to release a wearable, I intend to wait for the second generation model. First generation Apple products always have some sort of crippling limitation, be it EFI 32, 256MB of RAM, or a weak CPU.

More importantly 14 nm technology would have a huge impact on such a device. I'd suggest that an iWatch released this year would be proof of concept, much like the original iPad. That is unless they run 14 nm production of pilot lines this year.
post #38 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilly33 View Post

The iPhone was destined to bomb as well. The prestige watch heads better be careful. Might find their predictions falling flat a few years from now. The Swiss made watch was future tech at one time. Life and technology thankfully moves on. I'm all down for an Apple made smart watch. Nothing worth doing doesn't come without a few naysayers.

 

The mobile phone industry had nothing to worry about from the iPhone.

Microsoft, Nokia, Palm, RIM. They predicted its doom right from the get go.

This was the mindset of the time, seven years ago:

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #39 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatrix View Post

As long as they sort the battery life issue!!!??? I will buy it, whatever. The batteries on my current watches usually last for several years.


Hasn't Apple patented putting solar cells into an LCD? Solar watches are pretty common and it'd be a good application to put it in a smartwatch.

post #40 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

I'm sure Apple's design will be nice but I think it will defiantly look more like a  gadget then a luxury watch. Which is why I'm going to wait a year or so to see what companies like TAG, Vertu and Kairos release. If I'm going to wear a watch I don't want something that was designed for the masses but a watch that is truly beautiful, unique and with enough functionality to be useful. 
In your shadow could any watch be seen as being beautiful? Metal and plastic can not compete with grace and elegance.
Quote:
This is what I'm looking for in a SmartWatch;

The flick was interesting but is that an actual shipping product? Until such a product actually ships and Apple's product ships, it will be hard to compare the two. Given that I suspect Apple iWatch will lean more towards the concepts alluded to in that video then some of the mock ups we have seen so far. I see no point in slapping an iPhone like screen on ones wrist. What such a watch needs is a transparent display panel that resides above the hands of the watch.

That is if we support the idea that a mechanical watch is needed at all. I'm still of the opinion that people who wear these mechanical watches are the types of people I'd rather avoid in life. Spending huge amounts of money on a watch that can't keep time any better than a $2.00 refrigerator magnet, just for the snob appeal, is just a huge turn off for me. So while Apple may lean towards the mechanical solutions I don't really see any serious value in such an offering.

One possibility though that just came to mind. What if Apple came up with a wind up generator that solves or supplements it's battery problems? Instead of a hairspring driving a watch mechanism it instead drives a tiny electrical generator. I'm sitting here wondering if that would even work and what sort of energy storage you could achieve with such a mechanism.
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