No doubt, fully aware of the threat from Apple, luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer has entered the smartwatch market. The Swiss company has announced that it will create a new smartwatch in partnership with Intel and Google that is expected to launch at the end of 2015.
Jean-Claude Biver, head of watches at TAG Heuer's parent company, LVMH, made the announcement at the Baselworld watch expo in Switzerland on Feb. 19. The device will run on Android Wear using Intel-designed hardware.
"When I think about the watch, it's always been a marriage of beauty and utility," said Biver. "We're going to do that with our partnership."
Critics have said that smartwatches are too ugly for people to wear, but already we have seen of a number of "classic"-looking devices from Huawei and LG, and TAG Heuer will no doubt be just the first of many traditional timepiece makers to launch their own device. For starters, we should expect devices from Hublot and Zenith, which are also owned by LVMH. Intel is also already partnering with Fossil and the company launched the Mica smart bracelet with partner Opening Ceremony.
The Swiss company, which was founded in 1860, is banking on its brand loyalty being stronger than that of new tech companies.
"The difference between the TAG Heuer watch and the Apple Watch is very important," Biver said. "That one is called Apple and this one is called TAG Heuer."
As venerable as the Swiss watchmaker is, in 2015, there is no bigger brand name than Apple, so the new device will have to offer a little more than a TAG Heuer label to attract buyers.
Unfortunately, Biver did not give many details other than the expected release date and the names of his technology partners. The watch will be designed by TAG Heuer but will not be made in Switzerland. Instead, the watchmaker is trusting its technology partners to use their usual international suppliers. If the watch is to be ready by the end of the year, it must already be in advanced stages of development, so expect to see details soon.
Photo: Kainet | Flickr