Although GOOG is staying tight-lipped on the early details, it’s clear that the search giant is serious about moving in on the high-end watch market ASAP — in fact, the product will launch later this year.
And you know something? AAPL should be shaking in its boots.
Google Is Swinging Back
In an unusual strategy shift, GOOG is going after the higher-end, lower-volume market — an area usually carved out for premium brands like Apple. Remember, Google already has a smartwatch lineup: It offers six watches from six different manufacturers, ranging in price from $199 a pop to $299 per piece.
But that’s peanuts when compared to the higher-end Apple Watches, which will be coated with 18-karat gold and set you back between $10,000 and $17,000. Some quick-and-dirty math tells us that GOOG would have to sell 85 $200 watches for every one $17,000 watch AAPL sells.
Google’s partnership with Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer is telling, since the premium brand — founded in 1860 — indicates its decision to align the Google brand with luxury. Tag Heuer was the first company to debut a watch with a chronograph, which measures time with extreme accuracy, down to the hundredths of a second.
Tag Heuer also became the first Swiss watchmaker in space in 1962; 53 years later, it’s the first Swiss watchmaker to partner with GOOG.
Which one will be the bigger accomplishment? I’ve got my money on the latter.
Tag Heuer Won’t Be the Only Partner
While Tag Heuer is certainly a wise choice as the first luxury partner for Google Watch, they likely won’t be the last. The head of engineering for Android Wear, GOOG’s wearables division, more or less said as much in a Wired article published earlier today. His name is David Singleton, and he knows how to drop hints:
“We think just like Android on phones, the sum of our parts is greater than any of us could accomplish on our own,” Singleton says. “We’ve already been working together for a while, and I’ve already learned so much.”
Now we start to see how GOOG is throwing a serious wrench in AAPL and its plans for Apple Watch. Imagine a Google-Rolex partnership, or a Google-Breitling collab. Apple’s infamous obsession with controlling all aspects of the customer experience — including hardware — makes those kind of deals impossible. And that’s too bad for Apple.
As of this writing, John Divine owned shares of AAPL stock, GOOG stock and GOOGL stock. You can follow him on Twitter at @divinebizkid or email him at email@example.com.