In interviews given not too long after Apple announced the Apple Watch, the man at the top of luxury watch maker TAG Heuer, Jean-Claude Biver, heaped harsh criticism onto the timepiece saying that it lacked ‘appeal’ amongst other things. He also hinted that his own firm would be making a smartwatch too. Now though, months later, the outspoken interim CEO has changed his mind.
In a new interview with Bloomberg this past Tuesday, Biver did a clear 180 by lauding Apple’s entry into the growing smartwatch market, saying that not only does he think that it’s a winner, but also that he’ll likely wear one himself. That’s quite the turnaround from the last time we heard from the man.
Claiming that Apple’s smartwatch is an ‘incredible achievement,’ Biver also lifted the lid slightly on his own company’s struggles to make a competing product. The first concession to be made is the loss of the ‘Swiss Made’ moniker that luxury watches tend to carry. Needing to have 50% or more of their parts built in Switzerland in order to bear the title of being Swiss made, smartwatches simply can’t boast such a fact due to the reliance on third-party manufacturers for the software end electronics that are involved. The TAG Heuer smartwatch will come in at under that 50% threshold Biver said, something that simply cannot be helped due to Switzerland lagging behind Silicon Valley in the technology stakes.
While Biver confirmed that his own company’s watch will feature GPS, health monitoring features and brand-specific apps, it’s the news that he now sees the Apple Watch as more competition for its own timepieces than existing smartwatches that will catch the eye. After all, if you’re looking to spend a few thousand dollars on a smartwatch, will you buy TAG’s offering or that fancy gold Apple Watch instead?
That’s the question Biver and his team should really be asking themselves.