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TAG Heuer x Google – the first Swiss luxury smartwatch

TAG Heuer x Google – the first Swiss luxury smartwatch

The Swiss are now officially making a smartwatch. In New York City, TAG Heuer has unveiled the Connected Watch, a $1,500 Android Wear smartwatch made in partnership with Google and Intel. It’s the first true smartwatch from a Swiss luxury watchmaker, but can it solve the steadfastly traditional industry’s looming problems?
The TAG Heuer Connected Watch is modeled after TAG’s classic Carrera model, an auto racing timepiece that dates back to 1963. If you ignore the extremely generic name, the watch’s profile and long lugs are quite recognizable to anyone familiar with TAG’s watches. The case and buckle are designed and manufactured in Switzerland by the same team that makes the rest of TAG’s watches, though the Connected Watch is not technically “Made in Switzerland” since the electronic guts come from Intel.

The Connected Watch is big at 46.2mm across and 12.8mm thick, but it’s made of titanium, so it’s surprisingly light. The bezel is marked in five-minute increments and has a black carbide coating that gives some contrast against the case’s brushed and sandblasted surfaces. Paired with one of seven colors of vulcanized rubber strap and a matching titanium buckle, it looks and wears a lot like one of TAG’s mechanical watches. From a distance it’s nearly indistinguishable from TAG’s Heuer 01.

Importantly, TAG developed the Connected Watch in partnership with Google and Intel, so electronics, aesthetics, and software features were all developed together. The project was first announced back in March at Baselworld, the watch industry’s largest trade show, with executives from the three companies all present. The watch runs Google’s Android Wear operating system and works with Android phones going all the way back to those running version 4.3 Jelly Bean and iPhones running iOS 8.2 or later.

It uses Bluetooth LE to connect to your smartphone, has Wi-Fi connectivity as well, and has 4 GB of onboard storage for apps and media. Gyroscopic sensors are there for basic fitness tracking, but like most competitors there is no GPS in the watch, so you will still need your smartphone nearby. The watch is also lacking a heart rate sensor and a speaker, so all notifications come through vibration. The watch will get up to 30 hours of battery life with normal use and comes with a USB charging cradle for powering up.

The TAG Heuer Connected Watch is explicitly a luxury smartwatch and it comes with a price tag to match. It will cost $1,500, making it more than four times the price of most other high-end Android Wear watches and in line with the likes of the Apple Watch Hermès edition. The Connected Watch is available at TAG’s New York City boutique from noon on Nov. 9, with watches available at nine TAG Heuer boutiques and 19 retail partners across the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 10. International rollout will come over the next month.

For the premium price, TAG is offering additional features that most Android Wear watches cannot access. Owners register directly with TAG Heuer and gain access to a bunch of features not available to people sporting the latest Huawei or LG watches, including TAG Heuer watch faces, special timing apps, and apps that offer things like restaurant recommendations and let you track your golf game. In the coming months, TAG will also introduce watch faces designed with brand ambassadors, who include the likes of Tom Brady, Cara Delevingne, and Leonardo DiCaprio. For most users, these software features alone probably aren’t worth the extra cost, but it does show TAG understands that with smartwatches the content is just as important as the hardware.

Source: Bloomberg

Images: TAG Heuer

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