High-end Swiss watchmakers have generally been publicly dismissive of any threat posed by Apple’s upcoming smartwatch, but now that the Watch is creeping closer to launch, fashion watch leaders are starting to take notice. According to Reuters, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer has changed course and begun preparing a smartwatch and is willing to forge partnerships and acquire companies in order to produce an original luxury offering to compete with Apple Watch.
TAG Heuer is pushing ahead with plans for a smartwatch to more directly compete with the likes of the Apple Watch and may make acquisitions to help drive the strategy, its head said on Tuesday. Swiss watch makers like TAG Heuer, the biggest brand in luxury goods group LVMH’s watch portfolio, had until recently largely dismissed the threat of “smart” gadgets, but LVMH watch chief Jean-Claude Biver says he had changed his mind on the subject. Biver, who had already outlined plans for a smartwatch, said he had struck several partnerships and was mulling purchases to help come up with an original upmarket offering. Switzerland’s watch industry is facing competition from these wearable gadgets that allow users to check email or make phone calls. Swatch Group, the world’s biggest watchmaker, said in August it planned a launch next summer. “We started on the project about four months ago. We have done several partnerships and might also do acquisitions,” Biver, head of LVMH watches and TAG Heuer interim chief executive, told journalists at the brand’s headquarters at La Chaux-de-Fonds in western Switzerland.
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