Apple poaches Swiss watch exec ahead of rumored iWatch launch in October

(an iWatch concept design)

An iWatch concept design by Gábor Balogh. Not the real thing.

While Google and Samsung’s smart watches seem designed with function over form in mind, it looks like Apple’s iWatch will be more of a luxury fashion item. A key executive from TAG Heuer, a Swiss watch maker, has been hired by Apple to help market its upcoming wearable.

Along with this latest hire, Apple has been slowly building a team of fashion industry experts who will be instrumental in making the iWatch a commercial success.

At TAG Heuer, Pruniaux (photo credit: Watch Russia)

Pruniaux has worked at a number of other luxury brands, including Moet Hennessy. (photo: Watch Russia)

CNBC reported yesterday that a sales director for TAG Heuer recently joined Apple. His name is Patrick Pruniaux, TAG Heuer’s former “Vice President of Sales and Retail.”

Several months ago, The Financial Times reported that Apple was trying to poach Swiss watchmakers with little to no success. A luxury goods analyst told CNBC that most people in the Swiss watch industry don’t want to join tech companies like Apple that design products in America and have them built in Asia—the reason being that “they don’t want to dilute the value of the Swiss name.”

Last year, Apple hired Paul Deneve, the former head of the high-end French fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent. Deneve was brought on to work on “special projects” and report to Tim Cook. It’s believed that Deneve is also involved in the iWatch’s development and marketing strategy.

The most high-profile exec Apple has hired from the fashion industry is of course former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who now leads Apple’s retail division. She has a long, successful career in the fashion industry.

Although pricing and specific spec details are still unknown, the iWatch is expected to be unveiled at an Apple event in October. The latest reports have said it will feature a 2.5-inch display and health tracking features. Apple could sell multiple sizes at different price points, especially if the product is marketed as a fashion item.

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About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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