Although he won’t be standing in line like Woz does every year, TAG Heuer CEO Jean Claude Biver will nonetheless be one of Apple’s clients. While shedding light on the company’s plans to develop a smartwatch of their own, Biver admitted to Bloomberg that he also plans on sporting an Apple Watch.
“It’s a fantastic product, an incredible achievement,” he said. “I’m not just living in the tradition and culture and the past, I also want to be connected to the future. The Apple Watch connects me to the future. My watch connects me to history, to eternity.”
During the interview Biver highlighted the shortcomings of the Swiss watch industry in the light of the Apple Watch, which — at least from Bloomberg’s position — apparently brings into question the terms associated with the historical “Swiss made” label: quality, expertise and innovation.
The Apple Watch will, according to Biver, impact upon watch sales priced at less than $2,000. From a technological perspective the Swiss watch industry falls behind Silicon Valley. Since Biver plans to challenge Apple and other major players of the smartwatch industry, he has a solution for this issue: He will outsource the hardware and software to Silicon Valley and keep the rest of the components as as Swiss, he says.
For a smartwatch, “we can’t produce the engine, the chips, the applications, the hardware — nobody can produce it in Switzerland,” Biver said. “The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss.”
However, to keep the Swiss made label at 50%, the watch’s movements need to be produced in Switzerland. Since their knowledge is largely limited to mechanical know-how, this apparently won’t be possible; or, at least, this is what the Biver interview suggests. It appears that the heart of the Swiss smartwatch will be owned by Silicon Valley.