Guess Watches CEO: Welcome Apple. Seriously.

“The woman behind Guess watches sent Tim Cook a letter welcoming him to the watch business,” Ina Fried reports for Re/code. “She also used her letter to tout Guess’s upcoming smartwatch, being developed in partnership with Martian.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Martian launched its own smartwatch, the Passport, at CES back in January,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac.

“Her claim that ‘we’re happy to have another true brand innovator in our industry’ has that clenched-teeth feel to it,” Lovejoy reports. “Apple has not yet given a launch date for its watch, stating only that it will go on sale “in early 2015.” The Apple Watch will be sold in three models – the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Sport and the Apple Watch Edition – with prices starting at $349 and likely to go well into four figures.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Livingston’s letter, verbatim:


Dear Mr. Cook:

I wanted to write to you and welcome you to the Watch Industry and also offer my personal thanks to you.

As one of the largest fashion watch brands in the world, we have been around for more than 30 years. In the early 80’s, there was really only SWATCH (the brand) and GUESS Watches. At that time, we had many critics who thought we were crazy. No one thought that anyone would want this new type of “novelty” timepiece. They believed that the only “real” alternatives were Swiss mechanicals or traditional quartz timepieces. Fortunately for us, consumers thought differently!

We are part of an old and proud industry. Every year we’ve experienced change in some way. Over these years, we have seen the introduction of quartz movements, the rise and fall of calculator watches, digitals, analogue-digitals and many many brands, both big and small. It seems that the test of time has shown that the wrist is an obvious place for both function and fashion.

Fast-forward to today and the world has changed. The proliferation of smartphones and the demand of consumers for round-the-clock connectivity have changed the way people access time. This has caused an understandable fear and challenge in our industry (even if no one likes to admit it).

We personally welcome this new challenge to remain relevant to our young, sexy and adventurous consumers who see as much importance in the device they carry and the messaging app they use, as the clothing and accessory brands they buy.

Over the past year, there has been dramatic speculation of the future of “wearables” and Apple’s entre into this segment. This week, you delivered! Just as we had in the early 80’s, there are naysayers and believers. I, for one, am a fan! Your innovation and attention to detail is spectacular.

In today’s connected world, consumers deserve the next level of combining fashion and function. We’ve always been much more than a watch. Now, we too are going to take that concept even further. As we look forward to the launch of our own connected timepiece for GUESS… “Powered by MARTIAN”, we’re happy to have another true brand innovator in our industry that confirms the wrist as the dominant place for self-expression.


Cindy Livingston
President & CEO

MacDailyNews Take: GUESS who secretly wishes she worked at Apple?

So-called smartwatches without ecosystems are stupidwatches that are doomed to failure.

Related articles:
TAG Heuer plans smartwatch; must not be an Apple copycat, says Jean-Claude Biver – September 14, 2014
Old school watch makers don’t get Apple Watch – September 12, 2014
Apple Watch, the world’s first real smartwatch, will be a massive hit – September 9, 2014
Why I’m not yet sold on the Apple Watch and why Apple offers so many options – September 11, 2014
Apple iWatch designer Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014


    1. So many of the “watch experts,” especially those in the watch industry, do not seem to comprehend that Apple Watch is NOT really a “watch.” It’s an extension of the iPhone user experience that puts a secondary screen, interface point, and multi-sensor on the user’s wrist, allowing iPhone to do much more than it could before. And that’s why it makes actual “watches” mostly obsolete.

      This letter of “welcome” is eerily similar to the 1981 full-page WSJ ad by Apple “welcoming” IBM to the PC business.

      Welcome, IBM. Seriously (from Apple in 1981)

    1. By doing what she did, she just brought her own brand name onto many news pages due to Apple guaranteed publicity, and made her own watch changes relevant to those open to trying a watch again. Smart.

  1. Alternate letter:

    Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Guess Watches is launching a smart watch too! Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple

    See, if we wrap our announcement in ‘Apple’ it’ll make headlines!

    1. It sure is better than the usual reaction from CEO’s of established companies to Apple’s barreling approach:

      “Snort, snort, guffaw! Silly Apple thinks they can compete with us! We look forward to their embarrassment and despair as our established, popular products wipe the floor with their silly computerized novelties!”


  2. The letter sounds like something a smart CEO of a competitor in a market where Apple just walked in should say. When we look back at 2007 and the reactions of the “smart”-phone manufacturers of the time (Palm, RIM, Microsoft), their reaction to Apple’s entry was derision: “Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidised??!! And without a keyboard??!!!! There’s no chance iPhone is going to get ANY significant market share”, or “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in”, or “How do they deal with us?”, or “The biggest trend in smartphones is real QWERTY keyboards”…

    At least this Guess CEO comes to it with respect for the competition, but confidence in their own product. Obviously, we cannot expect any CEO to shit their pants in public when Apple just enters their market; they are required (by their fiduciary duty) to show confidence in their own product. However, unlike most other competitors’ reactions to Apple’s entries of before, this one is a rare one that shows proper respect for Apple as an innovator and a disruptive force.

    I don’t think this is anything like Apple’s full-page add of the ’80s that said “Welcome, IBM, to personal computers.Seriously.” (which was sarcastic).

    1. +1… But, I never considered Guess watches, anything special. It might be different today, but neon Swatches were all the rage when I had mine.

      Today, mechanical chronographs seem more interesting to me. Not a “no tech” thing, but none-electronic mechanics to remind me there are other ways to do this. Nothing more analog than gears and springs.

    1. Guess who got their clock cleaned in the end? Apple owns the premium PC business while IBM is out of the PC business and works for Apple selling iPhone, iPads and, ultimately, Macs into the enterprise.

      (Not that GUESS Watches has any chance against Apple. GUESS will be out of the watch business and back to hawking jeans faster than Palm exited existence.)

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