FRANKFURT (Reuters) - French luxury goods maker LVMH will launch a rival product to Apple Inc's Apple Watch costing 1,400 euros ($1,526), Jean-Claude Biver President of the LVMH Watch Division told German daily Handelsblatt.
Apple Watches come in three lines, with prices starting at around 400-450 euros, a mid-range running from around 700 to 1,250 euros and a luxury edition ranging from around 11,000 to 18,000 euros, according to Apple's German online store.
Initial sales estimates based on U.S. online data suggest the Apple Watch has sold poorly since it was introduced in April, due in part to product shortages and that the overwhelming majority of buyers are for the lower priced Apple Watch Sport.
LVMH, which owns the Zenith, Hublot and Tag Heuer watch brands, welcomed the arrival of the Apple Watch because the marketing power of the Apple brand will help create a new class of clients enthusiastic about luxury watches, Biver told the paper.
He said LVMH's watch division was focused on winning market share, rather than being driven by specific sales and profit targets, and will seek to "massively" build out its Tag Heuer and Hublot brands in China.
LVMH Watches only makes about 5 percent of its revenue in China, Biver told the paper.
Biver is shifting Tag Heuer's strategy away from taking the brand upmarket into the price category of 6,500 euros, and will instead focus on producing watches costing between 1,500 euros to 4,500 euros, he told the paper.
Each of the three brands should outperform the Swiss export market in its segment by at least 1 percent this year, and he hopes Hublot will see an 8 percent outperformance on this basis, Biver told the paper.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor, editing by David Evans)