Tag Heuer vice president for sales, Patrick Pruniaux, is joining Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and fuels further speculation of an imminent iWatch launch. Reuters reports the hiring of another executive from the luxury industry could be used to improve the launch of Apple's rumored entry into wearable tech, joining Google, Samsung and other companies in the growing market.
Pruniaux left Tag Heuer after seven years, although his role at Apple has not been disclosed, notes Reuters. In addition to hiring Pruniaux, the Cupertino-based company recruited Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry CEO, to head retail and online sales. While Apple has plenty of experience selling tech goods, a smartwatch could be considered a fashion accessory and these executives have considerable knowledge of that industry, notes Reuters.
According to 9to5Mac, Pruniaux will likely work with Apple's iWatch sales and marketing, possibly joining Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, and Paul Deneve, former Yves St. Laurent CEO who is currently working on marking and sales strategies for the iWatch.
LVMH, which owns Tag Heuer, Louis Vuitton, Hublot and Dior, said the iWatch and wearable tech will not pose much threat to luxury Swiss watches. They could compete with lower-end watches (below $1,000) but are cautious about Apple's potential impact, notes Reuters. Jean-Claude Biver, head of watch brands for LVMH, told Reuters, "I personally believe it has the potential to be a threat for the industry, and it should not stay with its arms crossed."
As for iWatch rumors, the latest reports say Apple's wearable tech device could come in two sizes and is loaded with up to 10 sensors that can be used to track fitness and health. Other features could let the iWatch sync with other Apple devices. Reuters pegs the iWatch launch date for the fall, while 9to5Mac says the device will be released in October.