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Apple recruits one of the watch industry's most important sales execs

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 4, 2014
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Apple's recent hires in wearable tech have largely taken place outside the watch industry, which is slightly odd for a company rumored to be making a watch of its own. However, it just addressed that discrepancy in style -- LVMH's watch division has confirmed that Apple has snagged Patrick Pruniaux, TAG Heuer's sales and retail VP, as part of a broader campaign to poach talent from watchmakers. We've reached out to Apple to learn more about its plans, but LVMH group head Jean-Claude Biver tells CNBC that Pruniaux will be working on the "iWatch." Clearly, the team in Cupertino wants someone who can market wristwear to a large audience.

Biver says he's relieved that Pruniaux is leaving for Apple, since the California firm isn't a "direct competitor" to LVMH's luxury-oriented TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith brands. While that's true, the move suggests that Apple may creep on to their turf by marketing its future wearable more like a conventional watch than a phone accessory. If so, that's a sharp break from the approaches we've seen so far -- even the relatively stylish Moto 360 and Pebble Steel are more often pitched to tech-savvy types than the fashion-conscious.

[Image credit: Andreas Knudsen, Flickr]

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