Apple is reportedly trying to lure top Swiss watchmakers away from luxury brands in its efforts to build an iWatch.
Jean-Claude Biver, president of luxury brand LVMH’s watches and jewellery division, claims that Apple has tried to recruit staff from his Hublot brand, along with employees from several other top Swiss watchmakers.
“Apple has contacted some of my employees – I saw the emails personally,” he said, noting that none of the individuals contacted jumped ship.
Larry Pettinelli, U.S. president of Patek Philippe, notes that Apple’s interest in Swiss watchmakers may be the result of specific skills it is seeking — specifically metallurgy.
“It is conceivable that they [Apple] would be interested in developing a type of hybrid with some type of mechanical aspects,” he says. “The Swiss watch industry is very adept at metallurgy”.
Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek meanwhile tells the Financial Times newspaper that his company has been in discussions — none initiated by them — with all the major players in smart wearables. Hayek has previously been a detractor when it comes to the iWatch concept.
He notes that “we see no reason” why the company should consider working with tech companies, and says that it is his priority to protect Swatch’s intellectual property advantages — including ergonomic design, longevity and battery life.