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TAG Heuer already working on smartwatch though launch is some way off

TAG Heuer interim CEO Jean-Claude Biver said a few months ago that the Swiss watchmaker intended to launch a smartwatch, and this week he offered up a few more details on the project.

Speaking to reporters at the TAG’s La Chaux-de-Fonds headquarters, the boss said his company had already inked a number of partnership deals and is looking at the possibility of acquiring firms that can help make its smartwatch happen.

The CEO said it was important for the TAG smartwatch to be “different and unique” if it is to have any chance of succeeding in the market.

While it’s already been widely reported that Intel technology will power the device, no confirmation was offered at Tuesday’s gathering.

Biver said TAG would unveil the device only when work on it is complete, though added that this is unlikely to happen till late 2015 at the earliest. A recent report had suggested the smartwatch might make an appearance at next month’s CES tech bash in Las Vegas, though Biver’s words have clearly dashed any hopes of this happening.

Related: Hands-on with the Apple Watch

TAG general manager Guy Semon said at the press conference that smartwatches represent a major challenge to the Swiss watch industry, adding, “We cannot ignore this tsunami that is coming closer.”

The company expressed an interest in getting into the smartwatch market in September just days after Biver dismissed the Apple Watch as looking like something a student might design “in their first trimester.”

He said the Cupertino company’s watch, which launches in the coming months, has “no sex appeal,” adding that it looks “too feminine.”

After considering the matter further, Biver said his company wanted to launch a smartwatch, “but it must not copy the Apple Watch. We cannot afford to just follow in somebody else’s footsteps.”

It certainly appears that Biver has woken up to the idea that high-end smartwatches could pose a threat to the traditional luxury watch market, and he now wants in. However, the fact that a TAG device won’t be landing till possibly 2016 means plenty of competitors will have a decent head start, a fact that certainly increases pressure on the company to come up with something genuinely “different and unique.”

[Source: Reuters] [Image: TAG Heuer]