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Exclusive: TAG Heuer to launch $1,200 ‘TAG wear’ in October

TAG Heuer’s plan for a smartwatch was announced at the Baselworld in March and is seen as a move to compete with Apple Watch

Following a tie-up with Google and Intel, TAG Heuer will be launching their new “TAG wear” smartwatch in October, Jean-Claude Biver, President of the Watch Division, LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer told AMEinfo in an exclusive interview.

TAG Heuer is planning to produce between 10,000 and 20,000 of these watches at a price range starting at $1,200 – which may not be affordable for the common man, Biver tells AMEinfo.

“We want exclusivity. Instead of TAG Heuer, it will be called TAG wear. The watches are in the final stages and should be released by October or latest November this year,” Biver says, adding, “The watches may be affordable for the usual TAG Heuer customers. It will be in the entry price range of the brand, which is around $1,200.”

TAG Heuer’s plan for a smartwatch was announced at the Baselworld in March and is seen as a move to compete with Apple Watch.

Jean-Claude Biver, President of the Watch Division, LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer Jean-Claude Biver, President of the Watch Division, LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer

At 65, with a near five-decade career in the watchmaking industry, Biver is considered an industry leader and possibly the most respected figure in today’s horological landscape.

He started his career in the early 1970s with the sales division of Audemars Piguet and went on to work with Omega, Blancpain and Hublot. He is renowned worldwide for his success in re-building brands.

To appeal to a new generation of watch lovers, TAG Heuer must re-adapt and embrace the smart watch trend, Biver reiterates.

He has no doubts that “TAG wear” will be a runaway success and customers will prefer it to the loads of smartwatches produced by global electronics device makers such as Apple and Samsung.

“People will just love it. They want to be unique and different. Some people will want to buy a connected watch with the DNA of a watch brand and not the DNA of a computer brand.  The exclusivity, distribution, promotion and image of a watch brand is totally different from that the computer.”

To foster the project, TAG Heuer is also planning to set up an R&D department in Silicon Valley.

“We believe it will be wise and profitable if we can have a division in Silicon Valley. Once the TAG wear is launched in 2015, we will have to start working on the next edition, which has to be better than 2015.”

“The watch will eventually be thinner, small, with better screen quality,” Biver adds.

In the interview with AMEinfo, Biver also recollected his first visit to Dubai in 1979, while he was working with Omega, organizing a seminar for the watch company at the Intercontinental hotel.

Considering Biver’s age, this reporter was tempted to ask him about his retirement plans.

There were reports that Biver was planning to quit by 2020 to spend more time with his other passions, which include restoring classic cars and cheese-making.

However, Biver is showing no signs of slowing down, having recently taken over as the top boss of TAG Heuer and continuing to help guide luxury brands Hublot and Zenith.

“If you have a passion for the job and the right people to support, you can easily run five or 10 brands. I find it very easy to run three brands,” he says.