CALLING TIME: Outspoken watch executive Jean-Clauve Biver has waded into the debate surrounding Apple’s new watch, and he is reportedly none too impressed.
Biver, president of the watches division at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was quoted by German daily Die Welt as saying Apple jumped the gun with its smartwatch.
“They are making a few fundamental mistakes. The watch has no sex appeal. It is much too feminine and too similar to the other smartwatches on the market. Frankly, it looks like it was created by a first-year design student,” Biver was reported as saying.
Asked if he planned to buy one for himself, Biver is said to have replied: “Yes, but not this version. Apple must work harder. It almost seems like they came to market a year too early. Once the battery lasts 10 days and it also works without my phone, I’m in.”
Officials at LVMH declined to comment on the report. Biver, an industry reference thanks to his track record of revving up luxury watch brands like Blancpain and Hublot, has said previously that he does not view smartwatches as a threat to the high-end timepiece segment.
“The smartwatch is an information device that tells you that you’ve got mail or a message, whereas a high-quality Swiss mechanical watch is a communication device that communicates to others who you are,” the executive told WWD in March.
HSBC equity analyst Erwan Rambourg said in a research note on Thursday that the Apple Watch could be seen on paper as a big threat to the watch industry, but he expects it to compete with a range of other categories.
“We have made the case in the past that the biggest competitors for Louis Vuitton handbags in certain markets would be Apple iPads or cosmetic surgery as these price points would be comparable. Similarly, we believe that the biggest competitive challenge the Apple Watch will pose is to gifts retailing at similar price points, whether it is high-priced sports gear, fashion accessories and accessible watches, not just accessible watches,” Rambourg wrote.