Ever since news broke Apple was busy, busy, busy making a smartwatch, especially a smartwatch that would compete in the luxury fashionista world of watches, the watch industry has been in a tizzy.
Watchmakers, especially those on the high end of the timepiece industry, initially dismissed the impending competitor, at least verbally in industry news reports.
Now, it's pretty clear that while they were saying one thing in the press, they were getting busy, busy, busy developing a smartwatch for those who don't want the fitness band design and look - essentially gearing up to ensure that Apple's Watch doesn't crush their cushy and long-enjoyed bottom line.
As Tech Times reported this week, Tag Heuer, the first to launch a watch that had a chronograph, is teaming up with Google and Intel on a luxury Android-based smartwatch. The trio's news comes just 10 days after Apple's Watch release. The press announcement on the trio's collaboration states the effort "signifies a new era of collaboration between Swiss watchmakers and Silicon Valley, bringing together each company's respective expertise in luxury watchmaking, software and hardware."
"The difference between the TAG Heuer watch and the Apple Watch is very important," said Jean-Claude Biver, president of the Watch Division LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer. "That one is called Apple and this one is called TAG Heuer."
Translated, that means: We're not letting Apple disrupt the watch industry, or grab the reins of the smartwatch industry and do what they did with music, smartphones and what they're aiming to do with TV and streaming video.
The 155-year-old TAG Heuer and their tech-centric partners have some catching up to do already, even though Apple's Watch won't go on sale until next month. That's because Apple's entry has been grabbing headlines and press for weeks since a more elaborate debut during Apple's recent Spring Forward event. Apple clearly considers itself a luxury watchmaker already, given its top-tier Watch Edition, which will sell anywhere from $5,000 to $17,000.
Nevertheless, TAG Heuer, Google and Intel appear to be primed and more than confident in catching up: "Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility. Our collaboration provides a rich host of synergies, forming a win-win partnership, and the potential for our three companies is enormous," said Biver
TAG Heuer expects to have its smartwatch on shelves by year's end and says it will announce pricing and features in the fourth quarter.
Now, TAG Heuer, which describes itself in a press release as the "avant-garde of Swiss watchmaking" does boast the legacy and lineage to make such a statement. It's been around since 1860 and claims it will "always go beyond the traditions of the watchmaking industry." If that sounds familiar, it's because the same can be said, and has been proven, by Apple regarding its PC brand. Both companies have worked insanely long and hard to build a unique brand. Just consider TAG Heuer's founding principle: Its slogan, "#Dontcrackunderpressure," is "a state of mind," says the luxury watchmaker.
So, while Biver's cocky marketing strut regarding the trio's potential is expected, he is right about one thing: the joining of a major luxury watchmaker and two powerhouse technology players is a win-win and not just for the three involved.
It's a big win for consumers, a big win for smartwatch innovation and, in some way, a big win for Apple, which some industry watchers believe was losing a few steps on its way to finding yet another product category to disrupt.
A burgeoning new industry, such as the luxury smartwatch, will prove lucrative for Apple and all players who move in with the needed expertise, innovative spirit and commitment to making a competitive product.
It's going to be a busy, busy, busy time in the smartwatch industry and the luxury watch industry and that's a huge win for those who love tech, those who love watches, and those who just love to see disruptive technology at work.