As you may have seen in the news recently, Tag Heuer is about to enter the nascent smartwatch market with its own Android Wear-based device called the Connected, developed in partnership with tech giants Intel and Google. The watch is said to be available in limited numbers at launch in select markets, and will retail for around $1,500 (equivalent to £990). In fact, it’s currently the most expensive Android Wear watch you can buy, and is perhaps poised to go head-to-head with some of the more expensive Apple Watch models.
Initially critical of the Apple Watch, Tag (and many other Swiss brands) have this year suffered their worst quarterly drop in sales, a fact that many attribute to the rise in popularity of the Apple Watch. While that’s up for debate, it’s obvious that Tag has changed tack somewhat in respect to wearables in general, but you can’t blame the company for dipping their toes into what looks like becoming an increasingly lucrative market.
With hundreds of years of history behind the company, Tag has a fine pedigree of making exquisite luxury watches, but as far as smartwatches go they’re probably wise to partner with established players. Jean-Clause Biver recently alluded to the fact that no Swiss company could create such a device on their own due to lack of experience in microprocessors, but Intel and Google certainly have the chops to provide the tech know-how.
As for the “Connected” watch itself, it features almost all the usual assortment of sensors (though there is no heart rate sensor) as well as a skeuomorphic classic watch face that can be changed via the accompanying smartphone app. Modelled after the well known Carrera watch, the titanium clad case features a circular LCD touchscreen and comes with various rubber straps. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are supported for connectivity, and the CPU is an Intel Atom running at 1.6 GHz (with a 500 MHz “normal speed”). Rounding out the specs are 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of flash memory. Battery life is said to be around a day of normal usage, pretty much in line with the majority of smartwatches available today.
For me the interesting question is who is this watch aimed at? Especially since the company says that when the warranty expires in two years you’ll be able to swap the watch for a traditional mechanical one – for another $1500 (though $3000 may be a good deal for a Tag, depending which model is offered at that point in time). Is the Connected for people who aren’t sure if they want a smartwatch but might switch to a mechanical one in two years? Wouldn’t a normal Tag and an Apple Watch be a better way to experience the best of both worlds (we have two wrists for a reason!).
If you’re the sort of person that would buy a Tag, or indeed a smartwatch, does the Tag Heuer Connected appeal and are you tempted to shell out when it hits the UK shores? Judging by the majority of Tag’s watches, the UK price tends to be a straight dollar-for-pound price, meaning that the the Connected may well retail for £1,500 in the UK…