How These 5 Luxury Brands Stepped into the Smartwatch World

The market for smartwatches is expected to reach $32.9 billion globally by 2020, and China being one of the top smartwatch markets offers huge potential for brands. Inspired by the recent debut of LV’s first smartwatch with an eye on China, we collected five examples of luxury smartwatches, and show how each brand is putting their own spin on the product to make it stand out in the market.

Supermodel Liu Wen on the cover of Vogue China featuring Apple Watch. Photo: Vogue/WeChat

Apple x Hermes: “A marketing coup”
Apple made breaking news by partnering with luxury brand Hermes in 2015. Though neither company is a watchmaker, it was the first time a tech company collaborated with a luxury brand. The Hermes watch’s pricing ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, which means the customized wrist brand is worth more than the Apple watch itself.

“A great marketing coup,” is how Luca Solca, the head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, described it. He said, “It provides a ‘cool’ spin on what was so far a ‘geek’ product.” It was said Hermes hoped the partnership would boost their own watch department, which was under the shadow of an anti-corruption campaign. And ever since then, many luxury brands have had their eyes set on the smart watch market share in China and are preparing to compete with Apple.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45: Timeless and practical function
When it comes to the smartwatch, one element that makes it resonate with the luxury market is exclusivity. TAG Heuer did so by designing a watch that combined both a smartwatch and a mechanical watch, giving customers the option to switch at their preference. TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is an advanced version which launched two years ago. Priced at $1650, it was also the most expensive Android Wear at that time. The Swiss watch brand expects to continue its double-digit sales growth in the year 2017, through the launch of the upgraded smartwatch and healthier demand in China.

Montblanc Summit Smartwatch. Photo: Montblanc official website.

Montblanc Summit Smartwatch: First in the Richemont family
As the race for enhancing a luxury watch with technology becomes more and more intense, Montblanc became the first brand in the Richemont family of luxury companies to launch a smartwatch. Similar to TAG Heuer, the watch has a classic mechanical looking face at a relatively lower pricing of $890.

Bulgari’s Diagono Magnesium Smartwatch: Security comes first
While many brands enabled the payment function on their version of the smartwatch, what Bulgari offered was an element that comes before luxury — security. Bulgari collaborated with WiSeKey, an internet security company to ensure data security when users access the payment function, unlock their cars, or even enter their home.

LV’s Tambour Horizon watch. Photo: LV/Youku.

LV x Tambour Horizon: Made for the connected traveler
Most recently, LV’s Tambour Horizon marked the highest priced smartwatch on the market at $2450. Many of its features are made for the Chinese traveler, including travel apps and curated city guides, and compatibility with Chinese apps, like Weibo and WeChat.

Despite the efforts by the Paris luxury powerhouse to launch their very own smartwatch, it received comments similar to what people are saying about Hermes and Apple. “Some people will undoubtedly enter the store to look at the product,” predicted Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in an interview with Business of Fashion. “The buzz around the product will create traffic both online and on the shop floor, but it is unlikely to be a significant revenue generator.”


Hard Luxury, Market Analysis