According to a Financial Times report (subscription required), Apple is one of many companies interesting in tapping Swiss watchmakers for help with manufacturing smartwatch products, who have not been receptive to their advances. Apple is alledgedly seeking partnerships with companies who have years of watch-making experience, in hopes they experience could help with the product development of the rumored iWatch.
Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch, has not been particularly bullish about a proposed iWatch, suggesting it wouldn’t be a revolutionary product. Hayek revealed that several companies invovled in smart wearables have reached out to Swatch.
“We have been in discussions – not ever initiated by us – with practically all players in smart wearables up until today. However, we see no reason why we should enter into any partnership agreement.”
Companies that are interested in smart wearables are ultimately looking to enter the watch industry. Hayek, among others, are cautious about providing tech companies with blueprints of advances directly related to a successful watch product.
News of Apple’s interest in Swiss watchmakers also extends to employees. Jelan-Claude Biver, whose parent company manages the Hublot luxury watch brand, confirmed to a Swiss magazine that the Cupertino company had directly reached out to his employees. “Apple has contacted some of my employees – I saw the emails personally,” said Biver.
Apple has been rumored to be working on a smartwatch for well over a year. Recent rumors of a Healthbook app on iOS 8 have fueled rumors that a potential release could happen this year. Google’s recently announced Android Wear develpment kit was followed by Motorola’s Moto360 announcement. The trend of smartphone makers entering the smartwatch should continue and at some point, it’s expect Apple will join them. It seems apparent that Swiss watchmakers are none too interesting in helping the migration to smart wearables.