The head of luxury group LVMH‘s Swiss watchmaking business expects sales of the TAG Heuer brand, which includes “smartwatches” that connect to the Internet, to rise by at least by 10% this year, he told Swiss newspaper Le Temps.
“TAG Heuer exceeds all our expectations. At the end of April, watch sales are up 20 percent. I hope for a minimum of 10 percent at the end of the year,” Jean-Claude Biver said in an interview published on Saturday.
Of the company’s two other watch brands, he said Hublot was undergoing “voluntary braking” in a year of consolidation, while Zenith was suffering like other watch brands from weak Chinese demand.
Biver played down news that chipmaker Intel would halt production of Atom processors used in TAG Heuer “Connected” smartwatches. Asked if he was worried, he said:
“Absolutely not. It is rather good news. It must be understood that Intel is not only a supplier but also a partner for TAG Heuer. We are together already thinking about new parts that will equip the Carrera Connected of tomorrow.”
TAG Heuer head Guy Semon spent 10 days a month at Intel, he said, adding that TAG Heuer would open an office in Silicon Valley this summer. “Not being there would for us be like claiming to do fashion and not be in Milan or Paris.”
TAG Heuer last year became the first Swiss watchmaker to offer a smartwatch to customers that combines Swiss design with U.S. technology, seeking to tap a growing market for wearable devices amid flagging sales of traditional watches.