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Leonid Bershidsky

Can the Swiss Make a Smarter Watch Than Apple?

The Swiss watch industry's perceived slowness to embrace the wearable-tech revolution is more marketing wisdom than ignorance and hubris.
Not so wound up over the Apple Watch.

Not so wound up over the Apple Watch.

Photographer: Adrian Moser

Swiss watchmakers seem to be scrambling to respond to the challenge posed by smartwatch producers after ignoring them for years. The perceived slowness to embrace the wearable revolution isn't ignorance or hubris. It's marketing wisdom.

Swatch's smartwatch project and TAG Heuer's plan to join with Google and Intel to make a wearable computer are often billed as alternatives to the much-hyped Apple Watch. The truth, however, is that even before Apple unveiled its product, Deloitte reported that 44 percent of Swiss watch executives considered smartwatches "the next big thing" for their industry.