Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby Racer-X » May 5th 2015, 6:56pm

I like his answer to the last question. Will be interesting to see how this smart watch thing goes...

http://www.watchtime.com/wristwatch-industry-news/people/the-apple-watch-doesnt-interest-me-says-tag-heuers-jean-claude-biver-in-our-exclusive-qa/

RB: TAG Heuer has announced a smartwatch to launch in the fall of 2015. What exactly do you have in mind?
JCB: We will hold a press conference in the fall where we’ll announce how the watch looks, what it costs, how we manufacture it and what it can do. TAG Heuer stands for avant-garde so that’s why we started this project. I wouldn’t do it with Zenith or Hublot.

RB: You’ve entered into a partnership with Intel and Google.
JCB: Intel for the hardware, which means the microprocessor. Google for the software, which means Android. Seventy-five percent of all telephones use Android. TAG Heuer contributes the emotion – the luxury, the design, the Swissness. That is a huge connection. TAG Heuer is bringing together two giants with combined annual sales of around $120 billion – five to six times more than the entire Swiss watch industry. And every six months we’re the first to access their updates, before all the other customers. And now we just need to decide if we want a high-performance microprocessor or a super-light version that only offers a few health-related functions. Intel sells thousands of different processors. It’s also conceivable that we’ll offer several models that can do more at different levels. We are in the fortunate position to be able to offer our customers everything they want, just like on a menu.

RB: How does the watch need to be made so it doesn’t become a “me-too” product of the Apple Watch?
JCB: It will have to be different, first and foremost in its design. One must not forget that the Apple Watch still remains dependent on its aesthetics. Some people will say, “I don’t want to have something like that on my wrist.” Whatever you wear on your body needs to correspond with your own personal taste. If our watch looks like a Carrera, that will set it apart from the Apple Watch. And if we offer other functions, like maybe GPS and water-resistance, those are other differences that will interest our customers. We also cannot forget the quantities. Apple wants to sell 20 million pieces. Our watch may one day sell a maximum of 20,000 to 50,000 pieces, maybe even 100,000 – but never 20 million. All of these elements make a difference. That’s also why there’s less of a risk for us. Each company has its own market and its own customers. I don’t even look at Apple. That watch doesn’t interest me.

RB: But let’s assume that the Apple Watch continues to develop and grow and eventually offers functions that are so significant that they become essential to our daily lives – like with the iPhone. Won’t there be a battle over the wrist?
JCB: Yes. In Silicon Valley they’re all talking about the battle for the wrist. We’ll just have to wait it out. The biggest flops in history have often occurred when everyone thought “here comes something really big.” If Apple is really able to sell 20 million watches, exclusivity will also come into play. That’s how it was with the Vertu phones. All of sudden there were so many of them that a few wealthy Russians decided they wanted something else special and different. That may be the case with the smartwatch, and that will be our chance because ours will look much more like a watch.

RB: So you’re saying wait and see. It’s still not clear where this journey will end.
JCB: Of course we need to be on that train, too, because only then will we know where it’s going. And if we don’t like the direction it’s going, we can always get off.

RB: How does it look in the area of battery power?
JCB: It depends on the version we choose. The battery can run for one, two, three years. Or we’ll do it like Apple does, and it will only last for 24 hours.


RB: What stage has the product development reached so far?
JCB: The week before last we had 11 engineers with us in La Chaux-de-Fonds – four from Google, seven from Intel. This was not the first time and won’t be the last. And every week we have designers in Silicon Valley. It’s all going very quickly. But keep in mind we’re not doing just this one project. We’re having to maintain all of our watch collections and models.

RB: A few months ago you said you could imagine installing a chip in a classical, mechanical watch. Is that still your view today?
JCB: I’m not sure that’s a good idea. The traditional technology of the mechanical watch has something eternal. And all of a sudden we’ve put a virus into it that will be obsolete someday. That’s the hybrid concept. It’s like ordering red wine and water, and then pouring the water into the excellent Bordeaux. Most people would prefer two separate glasses!


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Re: Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby TemerityB » May 5th 2015, 9:07pm

Racer, I'm a big Tag fan, but this year's decisions by the company smack of confusion; the lowering of much of their line while forgoing their promised auto movements, etc. Even reading Biver's comments, I get the feeling that Tag is doing a "smart watch" only because they have to; they don't wanna be left out of something that virtually every bigger watch company is going to feel compelled to do.

Frankly, if their heart isn't in it, they shouldn't do it at all. And, taking it a step further: They shouldn't be doing it at all in the first place - the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch, and it's the only one that people are going to be interested in. Nobody else is going to have the marketing muscle (or acumen) to get any kind of a foothold at all. Wait and see.
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Re: Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby Racer-X » May 5th 2015, 9:40pm

I agree with you T and was surprised to hear Tag is jumping in. This will be Apple's game for a while if it's a massive hit. I am also guessing a majority of the smart watch target audience has never heard of Tag Heuer.
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Re: Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby conjurer » May 5th 2015, 9:49pm

TemerityB wrote:Racer, I'm a big Tag fan, but this year's decisions by the company smack of confusion; the lowering of much of their line while forgoing their promised auto movements, etc. Even reading Biver's comments, I get the feeling that Tag is doing a "smart watch" only because they have to; they don't wanna be left out of something that virtually every bigger watch company is going to feel compelled to do.

Frankly, if their heart isn't in it, they shouldn't do it at all. And, taking it a step further: They shouldn't be doing it at all in the first place - the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch, and it's the only one that people are going to be interested in. Nobody else is going to have the marketing muscle (or acumen) to get any kind of a foothold at all. Wait and see.


While Biver is one of the creepiest guys in Switzerland, he's been around the block a few times. He remembers the whole quartz thing.
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Re: Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby tiktok » May 5th 2015, 9:53pm

He bought Hublot for nada and Big Banged it to death selling to LVMH for 300 million euros.
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Re: Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby jaw » May 5th 2015, 10:39pm

Interesting.
Give it time.
See what they come up with.
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Re: Jean-Claude Biver on Tag Heuer's new Smart Watch

Postby tiktok » May 5th 2015, 11:21pm

Apple under the wing of Jony Ive is shooting for the luxury market. Perhaps Job is turning over in his grave seeing a bloke who travels by chauffeured Bentley running the design team at Apple. It's a stark contrast to Bill Gates packing up his Ford Escort with boxes as he said goodbye to M'soft.

I read that Biver was shooting for a price point of $1.5K and he is well aware that the phone will have to pack a punch at that price point since it will be obsolete in 2 years. I had lunch with a member of the Apple watch team and told him they should build a case that will hold a replaceable module so if they get around to that I've already filed it as intellectual property and expect those checks to roll in, I've already reserved a Greubel-Forsey for delivery in 2017.
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