Louis Vuitton plans to sell a smartwatch for travelers starting at US$2,450 as parent company LVMH enlists the 163-year-old French suitcase and fashion brand to broaden its fight against the Apple Watch.
A stylish combination of high-touch luxury and high-tech, the Tambour Horizon offers flight information and city guides for seven destinations and is modeled after the mechanical Tambour line, but powered by Google's Android Wear smartwatch operating system.
Leather straps with the LV stripe, monogram and checkerboard pattern complete the package, and while available in only one size – a relatively compact 42mm (1.7 inch) face – the Tambour Horizon is offered with polished, satin-finished and all-black casework.
Within two years, Apple has become the world’s second-bestselling watch brand, outranked only by Rolex, disrupting sales of low-end watchmakers and convincing several luxury timepiece brands they need to offer an alternative or risk falling behind.
LVMH is the high-end watchmaker that has the biggest lead in the smartwatch segment, due to the success of its TAG Heuer connected timepieces. Recently Richemont dived into the market, offering a US$890 Montblanc smartwatch.
“We’ll see more luxury brands break up the smartwatch duopoly between Apple and Samsung,” said John Guy, an analyst at MainFirst Bank.
“It not only provides consumers with a luxury option, where the aesthetic is more in harmony with technology, but is also provides a springboard for younger consumers to move into traditional Swiss watches at a later stage.”