It was always a question of `When will they?’, rather than ` Will they’. On the heels of the announcement of Apple’s smart watch, which includes a version priced at $17,000, three of the biggest names in the business of watches and technology announced yesterday at the ongoing Baselworld 2015 that they are teaming up to launch a luxury smart watch later this year.
Swiss luxury watch maker TAG Heuer is combining forces with Google and Intel for this foray.Not much is known about the watch, apart from the fact that it will run on Google’s Android Wear operating system. “We are not revealing the price, we are not revealing the functions. We are just revealing the most important thing, which is our partnership,” Jean-Claude Biver, President of the Watch Division LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer was quoted as saying at the launch yesterday.
TAG Heuer has been a pioneer in developing a string of technologies associated with watches since the company was founded in 1860, including the most recent Mikrogirder watch, which can measure time precisely to a phenomenal 5/10,000th of a second. Google, on the other hand, has been working on wearable technology for a while, having launched Android Wear in March last year. Interestingly, at that time, it also announced a partnership with American watchmaker Fossil to develop products in the area of fashion, which many interpreted to be watches.
Coincidently, and independently of Google last year, Intel also announced a partnership with Fossil to develop wearable technology. “We are very excited about collaborating with Intel and working to develop the next innovation in the emerging wearable technology space. Combining our fashion lifestyle brands with Intel’s expertise in technology, hardware and innovation will position us to be a leader in this segment.” Kosta Kartsotis, CEO of Fossil Group, said at that time. And Mike Bell, Vice President of Intel and General Manager of the New Devices Group, went on to add: “The combination of Intel’s technology and Fossil Group’s ability to design innovative fashion accessories and to create, market and distribute globally is why we are confident about this initiative. We are focussed on identifying trends and emerging uses of technology and accelerating wearable technology innovation worldwide.”
It is not known what will happen to these respective partnerships going forward, though it has to be said that TAG Heuer and Fossil operate at different segments of the watch market, while Google and Intel have always said that they would like to work with a variety of partners.
In its press announcement yesterday, TAG Heuer said that “ Together, these companies will create a product that is both luxurious, and seamlessly connected to its wearer’s daily life—a culmination of innovation, creativity and design from Silicon Valley in California and the Watch Valley in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.” In the words of Jean-Claude Biver, “ Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility. Our collaboration provides a rich host of synergies, forming a win-win partnership, and the potential for our three companies is enormous.”