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.
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.
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.