Several employees at some of today’s top Swiss watchmakers are or have at one point been courted by some of technology’s biggest players. According to the Financial Times, Apple, Samsung and Google have all shown interest in poaching folks from companies such as Swatch and LVHM, but the tech giants have thus far been unsuccessful in their pursuits. Apple has reportedly been particularly active in attempting to lure employees toward Silicon Valley, though the Cupertino company’s advances have so far been rebuffed.
The Financial Times reports that these watchmakers have expressed little interest in working with technology companies, and don’t want to compromise the integrity of traditional wristwatches. Watches have gone relatively unchanged for hundreds of years, but with the budding smartwatch industry seen as the next big tech frontier, companies are actively scrambling to assemble experienced teams.
Tech companies have experience making smartphones, tablets and software, but have zero experience making watches, which is why they may be focusing on pursuits to gather experienced workforces. Samsung, you can argue, is the most “experienced” of the three companies mentioned by the Financial Times, but only just. The Korean company has been relatively unsuccessful so far with its lineup of Gear smartwatches, though it is releasing a more powerful Gear 2 in April; its Gear Fit, meanwhile, was lauded as something to look out for.
Google has already nabbed partnerships with some of today’s most well-known technology companies for Android Wear, so it’s unlikely the search giant has much interest in creating some sort of underground watchmaking factory. But Apple, rumored to release the iWatch, could be a different story. The Cupertino company has plenty of experience with engineering and design, but nothing on the scale of a wearable. Nabbing an employee or two experienced with traditional watchmaking could help Apple on the engineering side, and ensure that not only do consumers get an advanced wearable experience, but one that’s familiar and classic.
The conundrum from watchmakers now is deciding if they should just agree to work with tech companies, and not pass up the opportunity for a nascent smartwatch market. Google and Samsung already have their own solutions in place, it seems. Apple has yet to confirm or deny an iWatch is coming, though rumors have claimed it could focus on health tracking more than anything else. It’s unlikely the Cupertino company would want to partner with a luxury watchmaker. But poaching employees? That definitely sounds like Apple’s style.