Switzerland has an iconic watchmaking industry which has been around for over a century. The world has never seen the kind of innovation in mechanical watches that has come out of this country, whose manufacturers proudly stamp their timepieces with the Swiss Made label, but times are changing and these companies have to adapt. Tag Heuer is certainly doing so. It has already confirmed that a smartwatch is under development and for that the company has to work with partners based in Silicon Valley, making it Tag Heuer’s first timepiece to be developed outside Switzerland.
Swiss Made is more than just a label. Its good marketing. One look and the customer knows the timepiece can be trusted for its quality and longevity. Switzerland may be in a class of its own when it comes to mechanical timepieces and their components but the companies based there don’t have much experience with putting together components and software for smartwatches all on their own.
This is why companies like Tag Heuer are having to seek outside help. Talking to Bloomberg Jean-Claude Biver, head of the watch division at luxury goods giant LVMH, said “we can’t produce the engine, the chips, the applications, the hardware — nobody can produce it in Switzerland.”
So the hardware and software will come from Silicon Valley for the Tag Heuer smartwatch, while the company is going to incorporate Swiss components where they fit best, the dial, watch case, crown. Even the idea and the design will be Swiss, says Biver.
Tag Heuer’s smartwatch will have the usual features like GPS, health and fitness tracking but the company is going to offer applications exclusive to its brand, Biver has hinted at tie-ups with various sports that the brand sponsors.