Tag Heuer’s CEO says Watch will be obsolete: Here is the problem

Watch will become obsolete?

iPhone and watch

I’m going to admit this up front: I don’t know a whole lot about watches. I certainly don’t know about Tag Heuer watches…I hadn’t even heard of ‘Tag Heuer’ until Google announced their partnership with Tag and Intel. I don’t even wear a watch.

But I do know about obsolescence. I know how obsolescence is used in marketing. That’s why I had to chime in when Jean-Claude Biver, Tag Heuer’s CEO made the following foo-paw:

“Above $2,000, the connected watch has a huge problem. There is no eternity, it means it will become obsolete and who wants to buy a $10,000 – $20,000 watch, that becomes obsolete after five or 10 years?”

You see, obsolescence doesn’t occur at the assembly level. His comment is a prime example of how the word ‘obsolete’ is thrown around for marketing purposes. He is trying to invoke obsolescence by price-point, which is something I have never heard of. Assemblies don’t become obsolete because someone thinks it won’t be purchased at a certain price.

Obsolescence occurs at the component level. Drivers of obsolescence can be related to a number of things. Things like the material that a component is comprised of or the processes used to create that component.

For example: A watch is built from piece-part components…gears, screws, capacitors, resistors and logic. As long as those parts can be manufactured, the device can continue to be built and repaired. It will continue to operate just like it did when it was created. And as long as the manufacturer specification is adhered to, the device will do just that.

But if those components are created from matrial  that is no longer available due to absolute depletion of resource, or if the material has been identified as health hazard, (like the glow-in-the-dark paint used in early time pieces) then the supportability of the assembly is impacted and obsolescence ensues. The assembly can no longer be manufactured or repaired to the specifications set by the manufacturer.

While I can appreciate the reasons that the Tag-Intel-Google group have decided not to compete with Apple at the $10,000 price point, that does not mean their vapor-ware-$2,000-Android watch presents any driver of obsolescence to the Watch.

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