Swiss watchmakers have this love/hate relationship with wearable tech. They pretty unanimously dismissed it. Now they’re coming around, possibly spurred by Apple’s hiring away Patrick Pruniaux, TAG Heuer’s VP of sales. Now, the head of LMVH’s watch business Jean-Claude Biver, says TAG Heuer is interested in making a wearable device, but that it mustn’t copy the Apple Watch.
This is particularly interesting because this same Jean-Claude Biver said (in one of those quotes that instantly seemed destined to live forever) that the Apple Watch looked like it was “designed by a student.”
The British Wearable Technologies newsletter has a nice analysis of how Apple and TAG Heuer might compete with each other. The smartwatch market tops out at about $300 today, they point out, where TAG Heuer’s watches run between $1500 and $8000. Even with speculation that the high-end Apple Watch could hit $5000, that’s a lot of pricing headroom for TAG Heuer.
Unfortunately for the Swiss, their part of the market isn’t growing very fast, while the lower end of the tech market is growing quite quickly indeed. And so the question: would you rather be LVMH or Apple?