Technology

Swiss Makers Quietly Gear Up with Smartwatches of Their Own

In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, the new Apple Watch is modeled during a media event in Cupertino, Calif. Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted the wearable gadget will be as game-changing as Apple’s revolutionary iPhones and iPads, which have become indispensable accessories for millions around the globe. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, the new Apple Watch is modeled during a media event in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

 

(Reuters) – To observers of the secretive Swiss watch industry, its quiet, seemingly passive response to Apple Inc’s plan to attack their centuries-old business could be mistaken for submission before an overwhelming adversary.

But luxury and fashion groups Richemont, LVMH, Swatch Group and Guess Inc have been busy in the past year tinkering with smartwatches of their own, while aiming to preserve their products’ more timeless appeal.

When Apple Watch was first announced last September, some experts dismissed such devices as appealing to a different class of customer – those who prize technology over prestige.

Now analysts and industry executives are starting to think that maybe the Apple Watch juggernaut will stoke sales of luxury timepieces among younger consumers used to telling the time with their phones, rather than on their wrists.

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