Famous Swiss watchmaker doesn’t feel threatened by the Apple Watch

We’ve heard lots of Ballmer-esque comments rolling in from Swiss watch executives in the last week since Apple finally took the wraps off its hugely anticipated Apple Watch. Forbes has now scored an interview with Jean-Claude Biver, an icon in the Swiss watch industry who has had a highly distinguished career while working at Omega, Blancpain, and Hublot, among other places. Biver provides an interesting perspective because, while he admits to being “disappointed” with the Apple Watch, he also says the device gives Apple a solid foundation for doing bigger and better things in the future.

With the Apple Watch looming on the horizon for apparent release in the first quarter of 2015, the traditional watch industry is planning on how to react, both from a competitive product perspective, and anticipating how consumers will react. Whether or not you personally want an Apple Watch or appreciate the design, most people agree that it will be a highly disruptive product. Not only is this the first serious smartwatch device meant for the mainstream consumer, but it also takes smartwatches to a new level of design, finishing, and pricing. Whether or not Apple has designed a beautiful watch with appeal to watch lovers is something the Swiss watch industry is currently discussing – and reasonable people can disagree over the impact that it will have. Sure, I have my own ideas, but I wanted to get better insight from the Swiss watch industry itself. I knew exactly who to ask for an opinion:Mr. Jean-Claude Biver. After successful careers at Omega, Blancpain, and Hublot, Jean-Claude Biver currently runs the watch division at LVMH. That means he oversees luxury watch brands such as Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith. Biver always has excellent and poignant things to say about developments in the watch world (among other things). He also happens to be someone who not only has a good gauge on what consumers want, but is very open-minded to new ideas and designs.

By Michio Hasai

+Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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