The wearables market moves closer to glamor yet, now due to the newly announced partnership between Google, Intel and Tag Heuer (LVMH) to develop a luxury smartwatch.
Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver calls it his “biggest announcement ever.” “‘Swiss Avant garde’ means ‘a connection to tomorrow.’ And for this connection to tomorrow, we need other people to help us,” he energetically said to the crowd assembled at BaselWorld 2015, the world watch and jewellery show. “Together we are strong.”
The collaboration between the software, hardware, and watchmaking giants marks an undeniable recognition of a growing audience within the luxury fashion market. It also appears as a response to the Apple Watch, to which the Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver replied at the press conference: “The difference between the Apple Watch and Tag Heuer is very important. One is called Apple and one is called Tag Heuer.”
David Singleton of Android Wear said, “When I think about the watch, it’s always been a marriage of beauty and utility. We’re going to do that with our partnership.”
Independent research outfit Smartwatch Group (fittingly, based in Switzerland) expects the smartwatch market to grow to $8.7 billion this year, with the average unit price increasing to $290 — largely due to the effect of the Apple Watch.
Clunky design has always been a point of criticism for wearable products — smartwatches and beyond — but if anyone could hone in on an elegant aesthetic, it would be expected of Tag Heuer.
“We believe wearable technology is going to take off,” said Intel VP Mike Bell. “But this is not something that can be driven by tech companies only. Wearable technology is something that is very personal. . .So we believe it requires a real partnership between established players in the space that understand customers, fashion and objects of desire — and we couldn’t think of a better company to be working with on a luxury swiss smartwatch than Tag Heuer.”