In what appears to be a move to expand its mobile team ahead of the much-rumored launch of the iWatch, Apple has hired the sales director of Swiss watch-maker TAG Heuer, a subsidiary of LVMH. A senior executive in the company’s watch unit told the news outlet that the sales director left last week to join Apple, and that the consumer electronics company plans to label its new smartwatch device as “Swiss made” in order to appeal to luxury buyers. Jean-Claude Biver, the president of LVMH’s watch division said the TAG Heuer sales director left last week, “to take a contract with Apple” in order to launch the iWatch. There have been widespread reports that Apple was looking to hire Swiss watchmakers to give its device the edge over similar smartwatch products that have either been launched or are expected from Samsung, Google and other device makers.
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. 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.