New York – There’s the smartwatch, then there is the traditional luxury Swiss movement
watch. Never were the twain expected to meet, until Tag Heuer decided to
change that. Tag Heuer has unveiled a new smartwatch called Connected in
collaboration with Intel Corp. and Google.
As of a Monday morning press conference, Tag Heuer became the first Swiss
watch making company to officially take on Apple. The price point for the
watch is 1500 dollars, putting it in the standard entry level luxury watch
category. On the morning the watch was released, there were already lines
forming outside of the Tag Heuer store on Fifth Avenue.
Details of the watch were first hinted at the Baselworld Fair in March,
although any real information surrounding it was kept tightly under wraps.
At 12 noon on Monday, November 9 the watch became available at 20
retail doors, including Macy’s Herald Square and Tourneau Time Machine. The
watch is oversized at 46 mm in diameter. The face, back, and lugs are
forged from grade 2 titanium.
The new smartwatch is modeled after the brand’s classic Carerra watch. The
textured black rubber strap the watch comes with can be switched out for
six other colors that are sold separately.
The most unique thing about the watch is it’s one of the few smartwatches
that doesn’t immediately look like a piece of technology. In an article by
WWD, Google’s David Singleton named it the “world’s smartest luxury watch”
and Intel’s Brian Krzanich aptly called the partnership a “marriage between
Silicon Valley and Swiss craftsmanship.”
The idea was in development for over a year before it came to fruition.
According to a press conference remark from Jean-Claude Biver, president of
the watch division of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the Intel
technology used in the watch will be exclusive to Tag Heuer for a limited
time, and will eventually expand to other companies. The timeline for the
expansion to other companies has not been revealed.
Apple became an official player in the luxury watch game when it partnered
with . The three watches from the Hermes and Apple
collaboration range in price from 1100 dollars to 1500 dollars.
Biver told WWD that the two reasons Tag Heuer became the first brand to
launch a smartwatch is because they wanted to ensure customers wouldn’t be
going to other companies to buy Tag Heuer’s products, and because they
wanted to bring a new customer into their brand.
Tag Heuer is declining to comment on what their sales goals are for their
new Connected watch because they want to be similar to Apple in the sense
that they don’t give figures.
This watch is a rarity for Tag Heuer in the sense that it is not entirely
Swiss made, with a large portion of the production done by Intel. Biver
says that the next round of watches will be entirely constructed in
Switzerland, however. In order for a watch to qualify as “Swiss made” it
must be assembled entirely in Switzerland.
Another unique aspect to the Tag Heuer Connected is that if the smartwatch
trend dies out, the customer can turn it into a standard mechanical
timepiece for 1500 dollars.
While the technology is made to be more compatible with Android phones, it
is also compatible with I-phones as well.
As the first Swiss watchmaker to launch a smartphone, Tag Heuer has changed
changed the watch market potentially forever. Now the question is, who will
follow suit next?