TAG Heuer Connected Watch Released
By Aaron Recksiek, CW21
When Tag Heuer announced their plans to make a smartwatch last year, many critics saw it as a reactionary move to piggyback on the success of a product they themselves had at one time dismissed as “not a luxury product.” They also had stated that “a smartwatch will be outdated and replaced every year.” To be fair, most smartwatches are not luxury products, and they will be outdated quickly in comparison to luxury Swiss watches that traditionally last decades if not generations and cost several thousand dollars.
After some management changes and a slight change of direction, TAG Heuer, in collaboration with Google and Intel, created a smartwatch that promises to be very successful. The TAG Heuer Connected was announced on November 10, 2015, with a retail price of $1,500. Sales of the watch quickly took off. They had initially predicted around 50,000 would be ordered in the first few months of production, with a weekly output of production pegged at 1,200 pieces. It took less than a month for the company to announce they had received over 100,000 requests for the Connected Watch and they were going to increase their production levels to 2,000 pieces per week.
The TAG Heuer Connected runs on the Android Wear platform and connects to your Android or Apple device with its very own app. Several features were included to make it look and feel more like a traditional Swiss watch. The sapphire-glass-covered, 360×360, 240-pixels per-inch touch screen stays on all the time, not just when you turn your wrist, and displays any number of traditional Carrera-themed watch dials. The case is made of titanium and boasts an IP67 rating, which is rated for protection from total dust ingress, and protection from immersion between 15cm and 1m in depth. The shape and size of the 46mm diameter/12.8mm-thick case is part of the Carrera line. It is intended to look like a traditional watch from a short distance away, with a vulcanized rubber strap that comes in seven different color options. The Connected is also designed to be more functional without the constant tether to a smartphone. Much of the calendar, email, and contact information can be downloaded and cached to the watch’s 4GB memory storage. The watch is capable of connecting to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and can connect using its own Wi-Fi adapter sending you notifications even if the tethered phone is on a cellular connection or separate Wi-Fi network. The sensors integrated into the hardware of the watch are the same as those found in most smartwatches, including a gyroscope, tilt-detection sensor, microphone, and haptic engine. The initial battery life estimates are around 25 hours, so it will need to be charged every day using the conductive charging cradle with USB cable
included with the watch.
One of the most unique features of the Connected Watch is the trade-in program. TAG Heuer has estimated that the watch will be outdated in two years. The brand then offers owners of the Connected Watch who wish to buy one of the latest versions of their smartwatches the ability to convert the older outdated model to a mechanical timepiece for an additional $1,500. This program is unlike anything that has been offered so far in the smartwatch market and is something that can only be offered by a company with the history and experience of a longtime Swiss watchmaking brand.
Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.