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TAG Heuer takes on Apple with Silicon Valley-powered smartwatch

TAG Heuer’s upcoming entry into the smartwatch arena has been shrouded in mystery for the most part, but now head of the brand’s watch division Jean-Claude Biver has shared a few details.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Biver revealed that the smartwatch will feature a traditional TAG Heuer design, but that the technical hardware will be developed in Silicon Valley.

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“We are not in the communications industry,” he said. “The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss.”

Biver also revealed that the watch will feature GPS and fitness monitoring, both of which have become default features for many wearable gadgets. Watch owners will also be able to download specially designed apps connected to some of the sports TAG Heuer sponsors, which include Formula 1 and a number of marathon events. The Swiss firm is also a partnered with several high profile athletes, including Maria Sharapova and Cristiano Ronaldo.

During the interview, Biver also appeared to be warming to the upcoming Apple Watch, which some have suggested will bring smartwatches into the mainstream. Having previously criticised the design of Apple’s wearable, Biver now even suggested he would be willing to wear one himself.

“It’s a fantastic product, an incredible achievement,” he said. “I’m not just living in the tradition and culture and the past, I also want to be connected to the future. The Apple Watch connects me to the future. My watch connects me to history, to eternity.”

As a result of the smartwatch development, Biver has split the firm’s research and development sector in two, with one department focusing on watch craftsmanship and the other on technology. The specific business partnerships behind TAG Heuer’s smartwatch are likely to be revealed in the next six weeks, but previous rumours have suggested that Intel will be involved in the project.

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TAG Heuer is not the only traditional watch brand entering the smartwatch industry. Montblanc also revealed that it would be contesting the wearable market alongside technology giants such as Apple, Samsung and Sony.