Competition winner: The TAG Heuer Carrera Connected
Watch: Swiss Avant-Garde for the Digital Age (A) and (B)

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This case won the Outstanding Case Writer Competition: Hot Topic 'Disruptive Change' at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2018.
 
The case

TAG HeuerWho – the protagonist

Jean-Claude Biver, President of the watches division of LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and CEO of TAG Heuer.

What?TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer is a leading Swiss watch brand, which was purchased by LVMH in 1999, and is synonymous with style. TAG Heuer's products are worn by the likes of A-list celebrities and Formula 1 racing drivers.

Why?

Biver and Guy Sémon, TAG Heuer Managing Director, were concerned the emerging smartwatch market would leave them behind, so the duo took the bold decision of becoming the first Swiss watchmaker to produce such a device. While it would rejuvenate the brand it was a paradigm change for TAG Heuer and the Swiss watch industry more broadly.

Teaming up with Intel Inside and Google Android – operational and software partners – led to issues over the all-important “Swiss Made” and the heritage of eternity from the art of watchmaking – both aspects of the traditional mechanical watches. TAG Heuer sold out of their Connected Watch product within the first 48 hours of launching in the US.

A second device, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, was later devised, which was also available in a mechanical format.

Bernard ArnaultWhen?

The Connected Watch launched on 9 November 2015, after Biver and Sémon first discussed making the device in early 2014.

LVHM CEO Bernard Arnault approved the smartwatch in July 2015, after seeing the prototype.

The Connected Modular 45 followed in March 2017.

Where?new york

The launch of the first smartwatch was held in New York, while the second device was unveiled simultaneously in Switzerland and San Francisco, where Intel and Google were both based.

Key quote

“It makes its own rules, chooses its own path, never quits moving forward, never compromises, never cracks under pressure.” – a TAG Heuer watch advert.

What next?

TAG Heuer’s first smartwatch was an unquantified success, but it was too early to judge whether or not the new modular version was as well.

Biver and Sémon needed to work out how they could maintain a presence in Silicon Valley, the location of the main cluster for the technologies required to produce a smartwatch.

 
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The TAG Heuer Carrera Connected Watch: Swiss Avant-Garde for the Digital Age (A)
Ref 317-0113-1
The TAG Heuer Carrera Connected Watch: Swiss Avant-Garde for the Digital Age (B)
Ref 317-0113-1B
Teaching note (A)
Ref 317-0113-8
Teaching note (B)
Ref 317-0113-8B

The authors

authorsL.Felipe Monteiro and Anne-Marie Carrick

Felipe and Anne-Marie discuss their decision to produce a case series, and the amount of involvement the protagonist had.

Doing it for INSEAD

Felipe and Anne-Marie said: “We are honoured to win this award – it is recognition not only for us as case authors, but validates all of INSEAD’s energy and efforts in developing new, innovative and compelling case studies that are an important element in the School’s programmes.”

Surprise, surprise

Surprise, surpriseThe duo explained: “As part of the process of developing the teaching note for the A case, Jean-Claude Biver visited our campus to speak to the students.

“We realised that there was so much more to say in the story of the Connected Watch than just that the launch was successful. Jean-Claude fuelled the need for a B case, and with it a separate teaching note.

“There are a wealth of discussion points in both cases. It seemed a natural progression to write the B case with the arrival of the next generation of the Connected Watch, and with it a set of new challenges and opportunities. There were some unexpected surprises too.”

First-hand experienceFirst-hand experience

Felipe and Anne-Marie continued: “The subject of smartwatches grabbed the students’ attention, particularly as we had Jean-Claude on campus, and one of the new versions of the watch for the students to actually experience first-hand.

“The case is about the smartwatch but it also covers a much broader topic – disruption in a traditional industry – Swiss watchmaking. The disruption isn’t just the digital part and the partnerships, but the whole industry, heritage and tradition.”

Role of a protagonist

They concluded: “We must acknowledge the time and effort that the protagonist, Jean-Claude, dedicated to developing the case studies, and coming to campus to spend time with the students. Not only was he committed to visiting the campus several times, but his level of openness was unprecedented when discussing the watch industry’s future, and eventually the development of the Connected Watch.

“The cases, teaching notes and website represent a collaboration with the protagonist, the company and the INSEAD publications/copyright team, whose names do not appear on the final copy, but who all contributed to the success of the case package.

“We are also very appreciative of the resources that INSEAD allows us to develop innovative case studies, through its considerable investment in case writing.”

About the authors

L. Felipe Monteiro is Affiliate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD.
e felipe.monteiro@insead.edu
tw @lfmonteiro

Anne-Marie Carrick is a research associate at INSEAD.
e anne-marie.carrick@insead.edu
tw @amcarrick77

 

View all the 2018 winners