Apple iWatch could threat luxury Swiss watches – LVMH exec

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Apple’s iWatch device is expected to revolutionize the market of wearable electronics, just like the iPhone transformed the market of smartphones. Apparently, that is not all. At least one high-ranking executive from a Swiss watch maker believes that tech smart-watches have to be taken seriously and they may be a threat to the industry of fine timepieces.

“The iWatch will have the same status symbol power as many other Apple products, especially at the beginning,” said Jean-Claude Biver, head of watch brands at LVMH and chairman of watch brand Hublot, in an interview with Reuters news-agency. “I personally believe it has the potential to be a threat for the industry, and it should not stay with its arms crossed.”

Previously it was reported that Apple’s iWatch will come in different sizes and will feature curved AMOLED displays with sapphire cover glass, the same as used on quality watches from different companies. The design of the watch from Apple is unknown, yet it is expected that it will be slim and will compete against sophisticated watches from renowned producers. It is believed that there will be more or less affordable as well as expensive versions of the Apple smart-watches. The latter will include precious materials (e.g., precious metals, carbon fiber, alligator/crocodile leather straps, etc.).

Apple iwatch Apple iWatch could threat luxury Swiss watches – LVMH exec

An Apple iWatch concept created by a designer.

Since nothing particular is currently known about the iWatch, some analysts do not believe that they will actually be competitive against fine watches by various Swiss brands.

“I don’t believe that an iWatch will be a threat to luxury Swiss watches,” said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich. “But where I do see some potential impact is at lower, for example below $1000, price points where there could be a temporary dislocation if there is super high demand for iWatches.”

While it is clear that Apple will not compete against ultra-expensive Swiss watches from companies like Breguet or Patek Philippe simply because they are bought not because of functionality, it probably does have chances to fight in the more mainstream categories, say, below $5000, especially if there are good-looking versions of the iWatch.

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KitGuru Says: The iPhone has managed to change the way people use their phones and thus changed what people expect from their phones. Could iWatch do the same thing?

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  • fteo_viking

    I do not think Apple will dare price a over $500 at their first release, especially one that needed it batteries replaced in 2 to 3 years!. They might gradually introduce more expensive models if the watches prove successful and demand for higher end materials and styles are requested by customers. (via pre-order). I would expect a $300 to $499 price range and that would fare better in the market where the utility, hence demand is still uncertain. One can imagine a gigantic flop if it looks real nice and have very few functionality at all. yet priced at $499.
    I certainly can see them introducing a Fitness band priced at $250 with a lot of sensors but health sensors for a watch does not make much sense. Besides, everyone has to wrestle with decent battery life for a smart watch.

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