Tag Heuer boss says Apple Watch is for kids

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Tag Heuer boss says Apple Watch is for kids
Jean-Claude Biver

Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer has explained why it has chosen to partner with Google, not Apple, for its first smartwatch.

TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver announced the company will be making a smartwatch at Baselworld, one of the biggest annual watch and jewellery trade shows, and that it will be powered by Intel and Android Wear - a partnership Biver described as "Silicon Valley meets Switzerland".

Full details of the watch haven't been announced, other than it will be released this year. However, Reuters claims that, rather than developing a completely new device, TAG Heuer will create a smart version of its existing black Carrera watch, which retails for over £3,500 (AU$6,700).

As well as incorporating design cues from the Carrera, the luxury Android Wear watch will offer smart functions like geolocation, distance tracking and altitude measurement.

"People will have the impression that they are wearing a normal watch," Biver told Reuters.

Explaining why TAG opted to partner with Google rather than Apple for its first smartwatch, Biver said: "There are two operating systems: one is Apple's iOS, the other is Android Wear.

"Why should we do a partnership with Apple, who is producing watches? On the one side they would be partners, on the other a competitor. Google is not producing wtaches, so the relationship is perfect," Biver added.

That's not to say Biver is resentful of Apple's entry on the watch market, telling Reuters: "Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch."

According to Reuters, this will be the first of a number of luxury watch manufacturers to announce similar deals in Basel as the industry prepares to fight back against the rising tide of tech companies encroaching on their business.

Indeed, Intel spokeswoman Ellen Healy told BBC News: "Our hope is that this type of partnership will set a precedent for other brands to consider diversifying into wearable tech."

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