And here they come: TAG Heuer leads luxury brand rush to the smartwatch

Swiss giant confirms it will create its own Apple Watch rival
TAG Heuer plans smartwatch

TAG Heuer has revealed that it plans to make its own smartwatch, following the announcement of the Apple Watch.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Jean-Claude Biver, head of TAG's watch operations, outlined TAG's plans to break into the tech market.

"We want to launch a smartwatch at TAG Heuer, but it must not copy the Apple Watch," he said.

Essential reading: Apple Watch hands-on review

"We cannot afford to just follow in somebody else's footsteps," Biver added. He also confirmed the smartwatches would appear at the Baselworld watch fair next spring.

Pressure has mounted on the Swiss as smartwatches from Motorola, LG and Apple have grabbed the headlines in 2014. The worry is that the tech giants could start encroaching on the profits of the watchmaking elite, as consumers get an appetite for heath tracking, notifications and smart features.

However, analysts have speculated this would be more of a problem for lower-end watchmakers such as Swatch than big players like TAG and Rolex.

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Intel has already unveiled a partnership with Fossil, and Swatch has responded to stock market jitters by confirming that it would also launch a smart range of watches. How TAG would approach the smartwatch question is yet unclear.

In his interview Biver pointed to the sailing smartwatch that TAG Heuer created for the Oracle team in the US. It was a digital device that displayed an array of sailing metrics for use by the team, but fairly wide off the mark when it comes to the current crop of smartwatches.

In terms of design there are a few ways TAG could tackle the problem of design. The first is to create an analogue watch with smart features built in. The Withings Activite is a good example that this can be extremely effective, but if TAG used its own movements, it could push prices into the thousands, with no guarantee the tech won't be horrendously dated in five years.

The other option is to make an all digital watch to keep cost down. If this becomes the case then we'd urge TAG to hire some tech talent, just as Apple poached its own VP, Patrick Pruniaux.

Check out our round up of the best smartwatches to see the big names TAG's up against.

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