Tag Heuer announces plans to follow Apple into smartwatch battle

Luxury watch brand Tag Heuer has announced plans to follow the likes of Apple and Samsung into the smartwatch industry.

The Swiss watchmaker, now part of French luxury goods group LVMH, recently lost its vice president of global sales, Patrick Pruniaux to Apple and is seeking revenge by going into direct competition with the tech giant.

Read more: Is Apple Watch late to the party?

Jean-Claude Biver, Tag Heuer's head of watchmaking, told a local Swiss newspaper; "We want to launch a smartwatch at TAG Heuer, but it must not copy the Apple Watch."

Earlier in the year, CEO Stephane Linder launched a scathing attack on the smartwatch efforts of Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm and Pebble, describing them as "cheap, plastic-designed watches."

He went on to say; "In the luxury category, we work on every detail for crafted value. When I see the smartwatch, it's interesting, but in terms of design, it looks like a cheap wrist computer. There's not one that makes a great connection."

Read more: Swatch plans to unveil own smartwatch next summer

Tag Heuer isn't completely new to the smartwatch industry, having produced 50 limited edition watches for the Oracle USA World Cup sailing team in 2013. The Aquaracer AC72 model featured a monochrome display to report various sailing metrics such as wind direction and intensity, as opposed to traditional moving hands.

However, despite this move away from the company's traditional roots, luxury is still the priority for Linder; "I don't see us taking a big risk, unless we find a way to make luxury watches looking like real luxury watches that provide very easy-to-use, smart information that isn't complicated — and don't just replicate the mobile phone," he said.