TAG Heuer CEO Biver: Luxury Apple Watches will become obsolete

“Switzerland’s luxury watch industry is making a leap from its traditional production and models to win customers back from disruptors like Apple, the head of watchmaker TAG Heuer told CNBC,” Alexandra Gibbs reports for CNBC. “On Nov. 9, TAG Heuer will unveil its $1,800 Android-powered smartwatch in its attempt to take on the Apple Watch, which offers a mid-level range that costs a maximum amount of $1,099.”

“The president of LVMH’s watch division and CEO of Tag Heuer, Jean-Claude Biver, told CNBC Monday that like any newcomer entering into your field, Apple is ‘big competition,'” Gibbs reports. “‘How successful has Apple been? We don’t know. In the beginning, they were speaking about 10 to 20 million pieces, then sometimes we say they only sold 5 million. Nevertheless, to sell 5 million watches when you have not been a watchmaker is genius. It’s phenomenal. Now how will it act on the Swiss traditional watch industry? Certainly a big competition, huge! It will be a tsunami, for me. In the price segment, between say $200 and up to eventually $2,000.'”

“While the Apple Watch is worthy competition to the likes of Tag Heuer’s $1,800 watch, Biver argues any connected device selling above $2,000 is a ‘huge problem,'” Gibbs reports. “‘Above $2,000, the connected watch has a huge problem. There is no eternity, it means it will become obsolete and who wants to buy a $10,000 – $20,000 watch, that becomes obsolete after five or 10 years? …I don’t say we want to compete with Apple because we’re not in the same business, but we can compete any technological product. So this means we believe in it (smartwatches), but we also believe in our traditional product. We believe in both in fact.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 1. TAG Heuer, like everyone else, doesn’t have a smartwatch. It has a stupidwatch. It’ll sell like one, too. Calling something smart doesn’t make it so. It needs a broad, thriving ecosystem. Only Apple Watch can offer that. TAG Heuer is not going to “win back” any Apple Watch users. They’re gone. TAG Heuer cannot compete with Apple in smartwatches.

2. It doesn’t matter if a luxury Apple Watch will become obsolete. The people who buy luxury Apple Watches will simply replace them with the latest model. Biver, if he understands anything, should understand this at least. Buyers of luxury Apple Watches aren’t buying them for longevity, so it doesn’t matter if they will one day become obsolete. Timelessness it not a selling point for smartwatches.

3. Every traditional watchmaker, every stupidwatch maker, and every fitness band maker is competing with Apple; for wrist space, if nothing else. There is only so much room on the wrist.

We do not foresee anyone wanting to take off their Apple Watch in order to wear a “jewelry watch.” Apple Watch is not just a watch to be replaced with another regular watch. Maybe wearing two watches in come into vogue for special occasions?MacDailyNews Take, April 3, 2015

Here’s what makers of Swiss or any other watches should do: Push the idea of wearing of two watches, one on each wrist or two on one wrist, into vogue. Because once people start using Apple Watch, they aren’t going to want to leave it at home. Ever. They won’t want to go to dinner parties without their Apple Watch. And that’s bad, bad news for watchmakers not named Apple. Watch and see.MacDailyNews Take, April 16, 2015

I own two $6,000 Swiss watches, but I wear my Apple Watch most of the time – August 14, 2015
Swiss watch exports hit worst slump in five years as Apple Watch debuts – June 19, 2015
As Swiss watchmakers dismiss Apple Watch, Swiss National Bank increases Apple holdings by 60% – May 10, 2015
Apple Watch Edition is poised to disrupt the classic Swiss watch – April 16, 2015
Jean-Claude Biver changes his tune, calls Apple Watch ‘a fantastic product, an incredible achievement’ – January 20, 2015
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. “They won’t want to go to dinner parties without their Apple Watch.”

    So, if everybody at that dinner party is wearing an Apple Watch, who the hell is going to be impressed? And anyone who can’t go to a friggin’ dinner party without their electronic pacifier on their wrist sounds like a pathetic loser to me.

    1. You must not have one to say that. It’s not about impressing anyone with your Apple Watch. (Who cares about that? That’s what the Apple Hating Trolls say desperate for an argument.) I think most people are too jaded now to be impressed by anything. It’s being able to enjoy yourself and only glancing at your Watch occasionally to see basic info and nothing truly important has come up without having to grab your phone out of your pocket. Believe me it’s a time saver and helps you better be in the moment. It’s great that way at any event and less intrusive too.

    2. If you are wearing a watch to impress people, they you are wearing one for the wrong reason.
      And BTW, no one is going to be impressed by one. Those days are over.

  2. Whats more obsolete than dials and springs?

    Just saying… Obsolete is really a frame of reference.

    If you just wear the watch and use it was it was designed, replacing the batteries as needed, it won’t be obsolete.

    If you want all the latest updates and features of a next gen watch, then of course you will need to continually buy the next iteration.

    What makes mechanical time pieces, “timeless” is the point that they are never updated. There’s no new features to be of concern. The only difference between a pocket watch of today, vs a pocket watch of the 1800’s, is simply precision and placement of their components.

    It’s ironic that the mechanical wrist watch as been frozen in time.

    I think digital watches are great. Especially calculator watches. I can’t get enough of them…

      1. A calculator, has a processor. Simple calculations, make it not obsolete. Casio, Sharp, Texas Instruments, HP, etc. The Apple Watch, as capable as it is, should be in the calculator category. It should be good for the life of the materials it’s made of. If you are tossing your Apple Watch in two or three years, you are asking too much of it.

          1. I still have the last calculator I bought in high school (in the ’70s). It is a credit card-sized solar powered scientific calculator that still works perfectly (except in the dark, of course).

            Obsolescence is a state of mind.

      2. When my Apple Watch stops giving me the correct time, I’ll buy a new one. Not much different from any other traditional watch, regardless of the cost. When your $10,000 Rolex stops, are you going to keep wearing it because it was expensive?

  3. Love the take.

    I do think the idea of pushing two watches is kinda naïve. People don’t mindlessly embrace fashion based on advertising, on a large scale; it must have a clear perceivable value–i.e. It’s being fleshed out by trend setters / influencers.

    That would be a shallow campaign…”look, two watches! See, the traditional watches should still be worn, says the traditional watch company!” Stupid.

    1. That was hyperbole. But watches are the last acceptable piece of jewelry for the male professional, and most people who buy a Patek Philippe or Rolex President plan to pass it down in the family. An Apple Watch is disposable in comparison.

      But cheaper makers like Tag Hauer making nice(ish) every day watches rather than $30k+ statement pieces are going to get crushed.

  4. “to sell 5 million watches when you have not been a watchmaker is genius”

    Apple is not new the watch business, Tag Heuer, is new to the wrist computer business.

  5. Let’s just clear the idiots from the room. They all gone? Great.

    So here’s how it will go down: you know the iPhone purchase program Apple just debuted? “Get a new phone every year”? Yeah, that’s what happen with Watch when version 2 comes out.

    Anyone who hasn’t put that together or who writes articles or makes statements about these watches being obsolete and therefore a bad purchase isn’t thinking very hard.

    That is all.

  6. Not everybody buys a watch with the objective of it becoming family heirloom – those are the people who can barely afford such items.

    Footballers, oil rich arabs etc. and those for whom money is ‘new ‘ and for spending will have effectively written off the cost the minute it is spent. Long live conspicuous consumption!

  7. I really liked my “Link” Tag Heuer auto wind watch when I originally purchased it some 10 years ago … But, after a couple of weeks I noticed that time drifted by maybe 20 seconds per week, which can add up. Back to the watch maker/seller to be told that that was “within margin.” !?! Well, I’d paid $1,800 for it, so grin and bear it … After 5 years the auto wind started to sound like it was grinding while winding … Yep, that was considered to be “normal” also. “Normal” wear, that is. I replaced that watch with a cheap Casio that ran perfectly on time with solar charge and barometer and compass … Until I got the Apple Watch. I will never consider Tag again.

  8. Go to Hong Kong Causeway Bay Apple Store, actually, don’t go, just walk around the store to see all the expensive wrist watch stores, Vacheron Constatine, Rado, Cartier, Rolex, etc.

    These days they hardly sell any expensive watches, why? People can see the Apple Watch signs inside the Apple Store with lots of people lining up. That will make them think, if iPhone changed the World could the Apple Watch do the same? Better wait. And what is really going on with these mechanical watches anyway, they show only time and thats it, why would I pay for all that. I can get the same high quality hardware, but there is a computer inside, and it’s cheaper, and it will be cheaper to upgrade too.

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