Jean-Claude Biver changes his tune, calls Apple Watch ‘a fantastic product, an incredible achievement’

“TAG Heuer is set to enter uncharted territory this year with plans for a smartwatch that will be its only timepiece developed outside Switzerland [discarding the ‘Swiss Made’ label to take on Apple Watch],” Corinne Gretler and Jan Schwalbe report for Bloomberg. “The brand and others based in the Alpine country will need to work with partners in Silicon Valley to produce such watches as Switzerland lacks the technological expertise to do so itself, according to Jean-Claude Biver, head of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA’s timepiece unit. ‘We’re not in the communications industry, Switzerland is not, we don’t have the technology,’ Biver, 65, said in an interview at his home near the lakeside city of Montreux last week.”

“Synonymous with timekeeping for centuries, the nation’s watch industry has traditionally used “Swiss Made” as a marketing tool to boost the bonafides of its products, arguing that the term goes hand in hand with quality, expertise and innovation. With the imminent introduction of the Apple Watch, the industry faces a challenge to those values,” Gretler and Schwalbe report. “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.’ Fifty percent of a watch’s movements need to be produced in the country in order to win the ‘Swiss Made’ label at present. But the expertise is limited to mechanical know-how, Biver said.”

“One person who plans on wearing the Apple Watch is likely Biver himself, he said,” Gretler and Schwalbe report. “‘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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Jean-Claude Biver in September, 2014:

• I was a little bit disappointed because we were awaiting and expecting a typical “Apple Revolution” and what finally we saw just a brave, somehow classically connected, watch. I still believe the next generation Apple Watch will be much better and therefore will not buy this first watch.

• The Apple Watch cannot compete with any prestigious watch from a prestigious brand. The only thing you might be able to do with your 18k gold Apple Watch is to melt it down and recoup the few grams of gold; end of story!

• The Swiss watch industry will find an answer to the “connected watch.” Not the Apple answer, which, for the time being, is mere a miniaturization of the iPhone. Nevertheless, there will be a Swiss answer to the smartwatch, with their own concept and message.

• This watch has no sex appeal. It’s too feminine and looks too much like the smartwatches already on the market… To be totally honest, it looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester.

Related articles:
TAG Heuer plans smartwatch as honcho Jean-Claude Biver changes mind as Apple Watch looms – December 16, 2014
Apple Watch starts countdown on face off with Swiss industry – October 31, 2014
The fashion elite crowd around Apple Watch at Colette in Paris – September 30, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: Apple Watch ‘too feminine; looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester’ – September 16, 2014
Barclays: Apple Watch could crush companies like Fossil – September 16, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 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
Apple iWatch designer Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014


  1. The other little issue for the Swiss is that the currency just got a 20 – 30% hike in value when they removed its link to the Euro.

    So anything ‘ Made in Switzerland’ just got a whole lot more expensive – before its even left the drawing board.

  2. The issue for Apple is that the Swiss watch is as old as its going to get. So, regardless of added bling, the underlying time keeping element is going to always do what it currently does.

    For Apple the technology dates quickly and as its a fashion item in full view of everyone the bling might be great but the guts of it may be old hat in only a few years. Apple have to work out how they swap out the innards to keep it current and that way valuable to the owner. Or they have to design a trade-in programme for the expensive variants – if not all of them.

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