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

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited July 2015
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 127
    ladybumpsladybumps Posts: 25member

    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?

  • Reply 2 of 127
    ajbdtc826ajbdtc826 Posts: 190member
    "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.
  • Reply 3 of 127
    red oakred oak Posts: 640member
    The Swatch CEO is delusional
  • Reply 4 of 127
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    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.



    @shewu19: insider sources tell me that the iWatch design will be a collaboration between Jony Ive and Panerai...stay tuned
  • Reply 5 of 127
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    ladybumps wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 127
    boblehbobleh Posts: 34member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 127
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,118member
    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...

    [I][B]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.[/B][/I]

    Liquid Metal anyone? Liquid Metal?
  • Reply 8 of 127
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    bobleh wrote: »
    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,
  • Reply 9 of 127
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,004moderator
    bobleh wrote: »
    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!"
  • Reply 10 of 127
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,840member
    Very interesting... strange... intriguing.
  • Reply 11 of 127
    froodfrood Posts: 771member
    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.

  • Reply 12 of 127
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 127
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 127
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member

    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!

  • Reply 15 of 127
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 127
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 127
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    clemynx wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 127
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    blackbook wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 127
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    rogifan wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 127
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,565member
    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).
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