Apple hires Swiss luxury precision for iWatch team

Apple wants to add the "Swiss made" label when it ships the first in its future family of wearable devices, iWatch, this year. That's unlikely to happen, but it suggests the company is aiming pretty high as it recruits yet more talent to its wearable tech dream team.


Apple wants Swiss precision

Apple has hired the sales director of luxury Swiss watch brand, TAG Heur to help it launch iWatch, CNBC reports. This was confirmed by Jean-Claude Biver, head of TAG Heur's holding company, LVMH, who said Apple's been meeting Swiss watchmakers in an attempt to work with them.

"For sure they are trying to approach the Swiss manufacturers, but the Swiss have got no great interest in working with Apple," he said. "If you are a luxury producer and you cooperate with Apple, you have got dilution."

That may be true, however Apple has worked with Switzerland's watchmakers for years. These relationships began when Apple's design team sought advice on micro engineering Mac components, and extended to similar conversations in support of the iPhone. Apple's focus on delivering 'best in class' products means its devices are engineered to precision, which becomes part of the user experience of perceived excellence.

Apples wearable dream team

Biver claims Apple wants to work with Swiss watch firms in an attempt to slap "Made in Switzerland" on iWatch models, but says agreement hasn't been reached. Apple designs its products in the US and manufacturers them in China, so putting 'Made in Switzerland' on the things would dilute the value of the claim.

Swiss watchmakers may be resisting these attempts, but a glance at the roll call of executives Apple has hired to help it realize its iWatch ambitions suggest it is working to ensure the new device is seen as the world's most in-demand fashion item.

The team includes leading lights from the fashion, sensor, wearable technology, digital health and home automation industries. Apple has also invested in new technologies and raised r&d spending to new highs and has introduced a range of frameworks likely to be of use in the device, and there's more:

“When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages. Porting this capability to the watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go,” the analyst said via Fortune.

Android has nothing

The spin that Android Gear has destroyed all the hopes of Apple's new product family isn't worth listening too. In truth the chunky, poorly designed items carrying that brand will be revealed for the poor quality items they are in contrast to the luxury fashion experience Apple will deliver.

China Economic News on Thursday cited unspecified foreign news agencies who claim Apple has hired Quanta Computer to produce 70% of Apple’s iWatch supply, with an October launch set for the device.

Analysts presently predict up to 80 million iWatches will be sold in the first year with 17 percent of US teens willing to buy one. Apple will reach its public fast with iWatch, simply by making these tiny objects highly visible across its global network of high value retail stores, situated in some of the world's most fashionable areas.

I'm guessing the phrase "Designed in California" may become one the Swiss watch industry fears.

Put it into perspective and Apple's iWatch isn't competing with Samsung. It's competing with Rolex. 

It's almost as if Apple planned it this way.

Read more about Apple's plans for iWatch

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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