As the curtain closes on another successful Baselworld, industry experts and watchers are now analysing the results of this trade fair.
What are the trends for design and mechanisms to note? What are the latest products that are set to shift the global market’s needs and wants? Who are the CEOs that deem smartwatches as the next big thing?
Here, we compile a list of three watch executives who have expressed confidence in wearable technologies and have taken steps to steer their brands towards this new trend.
President of the Watchmaking Division for the LVMH Group, responsible for TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith
Who: Some hail Jean-Claude Biver as a marketing genius. His illustrious career has seen him reviving brands like Blancpain and Hublot, amongst others. He has made countless attempts to quit the industry but was lured time and time again to return. Word has it he was planning to step back from the industry a few years ago after passing over the reins of Hublot to Ricardo Guadalupe—but LVMH’s Bernard Arnault presented him with an offer he could not refuse.
Why he made the news this year: Officially confirmed during Baselworld 2015, Biver had the industry buzzing when he announced that TAG Heuer announced that it was joining forces with technology behemoths Google and Intel to develop a smartwatch. In another ingenious Biver move, he kept details of the watch’s function and features under wraps—thus creating more buzz of curiosity.
CEO of Bulgari
Who: While he has the same initials as Jean-Claude Biver, Jean-Christophe Babin is equally as well known in the industry, largely in thanks to his great work at Tag Heuer before assuming his current leadership role at Bulgari. Industry insiders theorise that he was chosen for the role to steer the luxury company’s watchmaking division into greater heights than before.
Why he made the news this year: Ever since assuming the title of CEO close to two years, Babin has been keeping interviews to a minimum as he tries to find his footing with the brand’s philosophy and direction. Now it looks like he is getting into the momentum of things. It was Babin who revealed the intelligent Bulgari Diagono Magn@sium watch, fitted with a microchip and near field communication (NFC) technology, at Baselworld this year.
President and CEO of Gucci Timepieces
Who: The former CEO of TAG Heuer has emerged at Gucci Timepieces, taking over from Michele Sofisti. Linder, who headed TAG after Babin’s departure to Bulgari, was with the company for 21 years prior to moving to Gucci Timepieces.
Why he made the news this year: Gucci Timepieces—under Linder’s leadership — is working with musician will.i.am to develop a ‘smartband’. This piece of wearable technology is tapped to be able to make and receive phone calls, send text messages and emails, play music, monitor fitness and more, even providing users with a personal assistant activated by voice command. This fashion-skewed wearable device is believed to be standalone and untethered to any smartphone.
(Photos: Respective brands)