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Apple, Inc. Wants the "Swiss Made" Label for Its iWatch

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) made a big, new hire for its so-called iWatch division yesterday. The company hired the sales director of luxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer, according to CNBC. The move will serve to support Apple in a marketing effort to push the prestigious "Swiss made" label for the smartwatch, the head of Jewelry and Watches at TAG Heuer's parent company LVMH told CNBC.

iWatch concept design (as seen on the right) shown next to iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 5s. Image source: 9to5mac, used with permission.

Biver says that he is happy for the sales director. "If it had been a direct competitor, I would have felt a bit betrayed, but if he goes to Apple, I think it is a great experience for him," he told CNBC.

In March, Financial Times reported that Apple was attempting to "lure top Swiss watchmakers away from luxury brands owned by LVMH." Apparently, Apple is finally making inroads.

Apple wants to become fashionable
While Apple has certainly played a role in bringing sleek design -- and even style -- to PCs, smartwatches, and tablets, the tech giant seems to be taking an unusual approach behind the scenes by putting heavy emphasis on fashion with the rumored iWatch. Apple's first major hire from the fashion industry came when the company hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to lead Apple's retail and online stores, and report directly to Tim Cook.

With at least two executives now from prominent luxury fashion brands working at Apple, one of which is said to be directly involved with the iWatch, it's clearer than ever that Apple is making fashion a priority with the watch. Further, with Apple allegedly aiming to use "Swiss made" marketing, this gives further credibility to earlier claims this year that Apple could unveil high-end versions of the watch priced above $1,000.

iWatch concept design by Tomas Moyana. Images used with permission.

The idea of a $1,000 iWatch has since been pushed aside by the media. Analysts are mostly using figures like $249 and $299 for their calculations of the potential impact of the iWatch on Apple's business. But if Apple really is going to be using "Swiss made" luxury marketing, $249 and $299 could be too conservative.

And, surprisingly, the report that Apple is working on a premium-priced iWatch didn't come from a random and unproven source. The claim is sourced from the reliable Apple analyst from KGI securities, Ming Chi Kuo -- an analyst who often seems to have very knowledgeable inside sources.

Given Apple's historical success at entering new product categories, a handful of analysts predict the iWatch will quickly become a key growth opportunity for Apple. But can a tech company truly step into the world of fashion and succeed? If there's any company who can do it, it's probably Apple.

The stock that may win big thanks to Apple's alleged iWatch
With the iWatch, Apple may spark a revolution. ABI Research predicts 485 million iWatch-like devices will be sold per year by 2018. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, just click here!

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  • Report this Comment On July 04, 2014, at 8:19 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    The high end Swiss Watch Industry is built on fluff not substance.

    Ever since the invention of the inexpensive quartz movement, you could build a watch that keeps better time for under $100. Most expensive Swiss watches feature automatic mechanical movements that are functionally inferior to inexpensive Chinese made watches with quartz movement.

    Buying and wearing one of those hyper expensive brands like Phillipe Patek is akin to driving a Bentley or Rolex

    In my opinion, they are ostentatious and embarrassing to wear. It simply broadcasts that the wearer is a status seeker who is very foolish with his money.

    Apple is getting set to disrupt this industry just as they have the cell phone industry. Those Swiss companies should be afraid, very afraid.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 9:17 AM, Phowey wrote:

    LOL @ Daveshouston

    You clearly don't have an understanding of high fashion or luxury watches. Apple's release of the iPhone and iPod disruptive an industry based on utility and sleek design. There was nothing like it out there.

    The watch industry is more than the few brands you listed and is supports by millions who find the different Swiss made watches to be both fascinating and highly stylish. I'm an apple supporter and love my iPhone, iMac, Mac book, iPad, etc. However, I own multiple Swiss made watches ranging from 1000 to 6000 in price. Apple will be hard pressed to ever make me give up my collection for an iwatch. That is not to say I won't by one but the Swiss watches are not going anywhere. If anything, the iwatch will just create "watch awareness" and more people will become interested in watches in general.

    The iwatch disrupting the Swiss industry is like saying a more technologically advanced shoe or bag will replace louis vuitton. It won't happen.

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Daniel Sparks

Daniel is a senior technology specialist at The Motley Fool. To get the inside scoop on his coverage of technology companies, follow him on Twitter.

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