Swiss Watchmaker claims Apple tried to poach his employees for iWatch

hublot-watchApple allegedly tried to poach Swiss watchmakers in an attempt to create a “Swiss-made” iWatch built upon Switzerland’s watch expertise. These claims come from Jean-Claude Biver, CEO and board member of Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot, who spoke to French magazine PME in a candid interview.

Biver claims Apple tried to recruit employees from major Swiss watchmakers, including his own company Hublot. His employees supposedly refused all offers to join Apple, which is looking to setup shop in Switzerland. Apple allegedly is interested in Switzerland for marketing purposes and has placed orders with subcontractors so it can attach the “Swiss-made’ moniker to its iWatch project.

Apple recruiting from the Swiss watchmaker ranks is not too far-fetched as the Cupertino company likely would look towards Switzerland for it expertise on watch design and metallurgy. Bivers other claim that Apple wants to market the iWatch with a Swiss-made tag seems improbable, though.

Apple has spent a lot of effort to promote its “Made in California” brand, and the company wouldn’t switch gears for a single project like this. Also, the Swiss-made term is regulated by the government, and there would be a lot of bureaucratic red tape for a brand association that has little appeal to the average consumer.

In an even bolder claim, Biver says Apple allegedly tried to buy a scratch-free gold product developed by Hublot called Magic Gold. Magic Gold is a special alloy of gold and other metals that is hard and scratch resistant. Apple sought to incorporate this product in a luxury version of the iPhone, but Biver refused to sell the alloy to the Cupertino company, claiming Hublot was a watchmaker and not materials supplier.

Jean-Claude Biver is known for his showmanship and sometimes outrageous claims, so these interview answers may be more than just an attempt to talk bad about Apple. What do you think about these claims? How serious or outrageous are they?

[Via and iDownloadblog]