Apple has poached a senior executive from Swiss luxury watch brand Tag Heuer, which could be to help it with the launch of its iWatch expected this autumn. Tag Heuer, part of luxury goods group LVMH, said on Friday its vice president for sales, Patrick Pruniaux, who had been with the brand for seven years, was leaving on Monday to join Apple.
It did not say what his new job would be. Apple declined to comment. The iWatch will be the closest the US Company has come to selling a fashion accessory and marks its first foray into the personal luxury goods market.
Patrick Pruniaux’s LinkedIn profile page reveals he has worked in the premium watch industry since 2009. Before that, he worked for drinks companies Diagio and Moet Hennessy. The Tag VP joined Apple late last month, a source directly familiar with the hiring told. Biver also said how Apple plans to market the wearable gadget as “Swiss-made” to add an air of luxury and credibility when pitching the watch to consumers.
Pruniaux isn’t the first luxury hire for Tim Cook’s Apple. Apple has plucked several executives from the luxury sector in recent months. Burberry ex-Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts started as its new head of retail and online sales in May, and former head of French fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent Paul Deneve was hired last year to work on special projects.
“I think he was probably head-hunted,” a Tag Heuer spokeswoman said of Pruniaux, adding a replacement had already been found.
Analysts and industry executives say the jury is still out on whether smart watches will disrupt the luxury Swiss watch industry.
The iWatch is expected to be announced either alongside the iPhone 6 at a media event in September, or at its own special press conference a little later in the year.
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