Clausette is happy to announce a series of upcoming partnerships & collaborations. Starting today, with our guest Mighty Things giving us their thoughts on the smartwatch craze.
With Apple Watch entering the race to colonize the wrist, more and more luxury watchmakers race to smarten up. Despite all the hype surrounding them, smartwatches are nothing new. Many tech companies (Samsung, Sony) took a stab at them before and already failed. Many new entrants and leading watchmakers will jump into the race this year. Will they have more luck? More likely than not, many are again doomed to fail.
Here’s our take on three different wearable tech strategies that were unveiled recently by three powerhouses: Gucci, TAG Heuer, and Apple.
Few weeks ago, Gucci announced it would release a smartwatch in a special partnership with will.i.am. The luxury fashion house hopes to lead the way by merging the worlds of fashion and technology. Gucci’s strategy is an exercise of “fashionology”, term coined by the Black Eyes Peas artist-turned-entrepreneur. Unlike most smartwatches, the Gucci timepiece is a strong independent, cellular-enable wearable, that doesn’t need a phone in order to work. Everything also suggests a rebadging of the calamitous Puls smart band, will.i.am’s notorious bad attempt at a smartwach. Hence, Gucci’s smartband is dead on arrival. Gucci’s faux-pas in wearable tech proves two things: the brand is absolutely clueless about tech, and it’s nothing short of impressive how will.i.am gets backing from major companies for his terrible ideas.
Last week, leading luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer also announced in great fanfare the launch of a new Android smartwatch powered by Intel and Google. Little is known about the $1,000 TAG smartwatch. The hardware components of the watch will be interchangeable, and the CPU will be a low-powered Intel one. That’s it. We don’t expect the watch to translate into huge volume, but it might still mean hefty margins for LVMH’s TAG Heuer. More than anything, we think the device shows that the 155-year-old watchmaker is willing to evolve its business in order to defend its core market against Apple. The deal is also a win-win for Intel and Google, who are seeking respectively to win the semiconductor battle and the OS battle in the IoT space.
Finally, there is no shortage of Apple Watch predictions on the web. Will it be a total flop, just a semi-successful product like the iPad, or a hit like the iPhone? It’s hard to predict the extent of Apple’s success, but with conservative estimates around 1o million to 30 million units sold in the first year, we don’t think Apple Watch will be a flop. Already, 40 percent of iPhone owners in the United States are interested in buying the watch. From a tech perspective, we see more and more developers jumping into the Apple Watch apps craze, promising a vibrant app ecosystem. From a watchmaker industry perspective, Apple as a company follows the same vertical integration that the Swiss watch industry does for its core mechanical watches, controlling over the entire value chain. Of course, the first version of the Apple Watch will not be perfect. Yet, we bet that Apple will jumpstart the entire wearable tech category. To paraphrase Tim Cook, Apple CEO, we believe it will be the first smartwatch that matters. We can’t wait to get our hands (wrist) on it!
Post written by Mightythings.co
Mighty Things is a global strategy and innovation company. We advise leaders and their organizations to adapt faster to the realities of the connected world. Our projects focus on consumer-connected devices, wearable technology, mobility and the Industrial Internet of Things.
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