Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has announced a partnership with Google and Intel to create its first Android Wear smartwatch.
Jean-Claude Biver, chief executive of Tag Heuer, said excitedly that the announcement was "Switzerland meeting Silicon Valley".
Speaking at its second press conference at the Baselworld watch and jewellery show in Switzerland, Tag Heuer did not show what the watch will look like, but said it will have "a traditional look. It will not look like an Apple Watch...our watch will never look like a phone."
The watch will be shown off "at the end of the year....October, November or December," Tag Heuer said, adding that it will not speak about features, design or price until then.
Bevis said the smartwatch would be made in Switzerland and "80% of its value" will come from the watchmaking country. However, because the "engine", in this case a microprocessor, does not come from Switzerland, the watch cannot be called 'Swiss Made'. He added that a moniker of "Assembled in Switzerland" could be used instead, and even suggested that a label of "Intel Inside" would have more value than "Swiss Made".
The partnership marks the first time Google has worked with a traditional watchmaker, where its previous efforts have all focused on developing its Android Wear operating system for smartwatches with touch screens, like the LG G Watch R and Motorola Moto 360.
Speaking to the BBC, Biver explained why his company chose to partner with Google instead of making its own software. "There are two operating systems: one is Apple's iOS, the other is Android Wear - who are we to invent another language at that level?" he said.
"It would be absurd, it would be arrogant to believe that we could develop our own [operating system]. It would be a catastrophe to believe such a stupid thing. There is no doubt that we could eventually go to Apple, but why should we do a partnership with Apple, who is producing watches? On the one side they would be partners, on the other a competitor."
Tag Heuer also used the annual Baselworld show to announce new watches inspired by David Guetta, Cristiano Ronaldo and British fashion model Cara Delevingne.
Instead of producing smartwatches like the Samsung Gear range, LG G Watch, Apple Watch and Huawei Watch, other Swiss companies are instead taking the route of the Withings Activité and Mondaine Helvetica No1 Smart, producing a timepiece with analogue hands and sensors to record movement and sleep. Data captured by these is displayed on a second dial, and can be viewed in more detail on a smartphone app, which communicates with the watch over Bluetooth.
The impression of a normal watch
"People will have the impression that they are wearing a normal watch," Tag Heuer Chief Executive Jean-Claude Biver told Reuters in an interview at Baselworld ahead of the announcement. Echoing thoughts shared across the traditional watch industry, Biver said the smartwatch market and Apple would be beneficial to Swiss companies like Tag. "Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch."
Tag Heuer is the largest branch of the French luxury group LVMH. Tag chief executive Jean-Claude Biver has, in recent months, spoken openly several times about his company developing a smartwatch. Most recently, he said Swiss watchmakers will have to buy in talent and components from Silicon Valley.
"We can't produce the engine, the chips, the applications, the hardware - nobody can produce it in Switzerland. The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss," Biver told Bloomberg in January.
Biver added: "The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss."
But not all Swiss watchmakers are as welcoming to Apple, Google and LG. "When you are buying a Patek Philippe, you buy a timeless piece of art," said Patek Philippe Chairman Thierry Stern. "It would be as if you told people to no longer buy paintings but TV screens projecting the image of a painting."
Of the Apple Watch, which will cost up to £13,500 when it goes on sale on 24 April, Biver told CNBC: "Can it repaired in 1,000 years or can it be repaired in 80 years?" Biver asked. "Can your children wear the watch? No, because it won't work any more. The technology will be gone."
As the press conference concluded, Biver and representatives from Google and Intel cut into a 37kg wheel of cheese from his farm.