Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Tag Heuer and head of watchmaking at Tag's parent company LMVH believes the presence of smartwatches will actually help boost the traditional watch industry.
Speaking to the BBC at the Baselworld 2018 watch and jewelry show, Biver suggested that the likes of Apple and Samsung should be invited to show off their connected timepieces at Baselworld and shouldn't be considered a threat.
Read this: Best smartwatches of Baselworld 2018
"A lot of people wouldn't want Apple here. I know people who say this (event) should only be for the Swiss", said Biver.
"The Apple Watch is a watch: it's a bracelet that gives you information: hours, minutes, the date. But there are too many people here [in Basel] who don't think it's a watch. There are people here who say, if you're not Swiss you can't be here."
Biver also stated that one of the biggest challenges facing the watch industry right now is convincing a new generation to invest in traditional watches, and that watchmakers could learn from the likes of Apple and Samsung, who are convincing young people to wear something on the wrist.
While some brands based at the spiritual home of watchmaking remain wary and sceptical of the rise of the smartwatch, some are starting to embrace the idea that making watches with connected features is an avenue worth exploring.
Biver has long been at the helm at Tag Heuer, where the luxury brand has already launched three smartwatches powered by Google's Wear OS. Fellow LMVH brand Hublot (where Biver is also CEO) joined the Wear smartwatch party too at this year's Baselworld, launching the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup. We've also seen the likes of Mondaine and Ferderique Constant continue to roll out hybrid smartwatches.
The Swatch Group, too, is soon expected to launch its first smartwatch, as its own Swiss OS operating system looks to offer an alternative to what the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung currently have to offer.
With the watch production competition intensifying outside of Switzerland, more brands will be looking at ways they can ship more watches and it looks like proper smartwatches and hybrid smartwatches could be a way of doing that.
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