TAG Heuer has built its reputation as a watch brand largely on its close association with auto racing. Now, as the 150-year-old Swiss company continues its growth from watchmaker into lifestyle brand, it introduces the Racer, which it calls the first Swiss luxury touch-screen smartphone made entirely from materials used in auto racing and aviation.
The TAG Heuer Racer joins the brand’s existing Link and Meridiist — along with Ulysse Nardin’s Chairman — in the small but growing niche of Swiss-watch-branded luxury smartphones.
The materials used in the Racer — among them grade 2 titanium, carbon fiber, black PVD, 316L stainless steel, and rubber — were all first used in professional motorsports and aeronautics. The design of the device takes its cues from high-end GT racecars. Designed in Switzerland and built in France, it is powered by the Android operating system, and has a customized 3D interface.
The core model in the line is the Full Carbon Orange, with a front face in full carbon fiber and black F1-grade rubber, with a black PVD coated stainless steel frame highlighted with an orange racing stripe. The rear cover is a polished carbon plate, with polished black-PVD sides and orange sidebars. The other models are the Sport Classic, in dark gray F1 rubber and 316L stainless steel and the Precious Gold in 18k rose gold.
The rubber used in the frame, meant to evoke the look and feel of Formula 1 car tires, is nano-coated for extra “soft-touch” comfort. The phones use the same aeronautic-grade titanium used in TAG Heuer watches, F1 racecars and luxury jets, which is characterized by its extreme hardness, light weight, and corrosion resistance. The titanium, carbon fiber and surgical-grade stainless steel used in the construction are are hypoallergenic.
The phone’s technological features include a 1-GHZ mastering speed processor; a 16 million-colors screen resolution; a large 3.5’’ display; a high-definition five-megapixel auto-focus camera and a 640 x 480 pixel VGA video front camera; 11 hours of music play time; and download access to more than 400,000 applications. It also comes with numerous TAG Heuer add-ons, including animations, wallpapers, icons, ring tones, customized screen designs, and widgets to personalize the home screen, notably the animated TAG Heuer widget clocks based on some of the brand’s popular watch models, such as the Monaco V4, Mikrograph and Carrera.
There are also two pre-loaded apps: SO Apps, which selects and recommends applications in all the Android categories — Essentials, Business, Social Networking, Entertainment, News, Sports, Games, Productivity, Shopping and Travel — for owners; and TAG Heuer Mobile Security, which can locate a lost or stolen TAG Heuer Racer; secure its contacts, photos and files from unauthorized access; and remotely wipe or block the data it contains. The latter app can also perform real-time anti-malware scans, hide and unhide phonebook entries, filter calls, block dangerous network connections and, if a new SIM card has been put in the card, lock it down so it cannot be used.
The Racer utilizes Android’s “Gingerbread” operating system, with a larger keyboard, better copy/paste functionality, a 3D carousel interface, and dual high-tech cameras for easy-to-use video calling. It is available at 350 points-of-sales at TAG Heuer retailers, including TAG Heuer’s flagship Las Vegas boutique. Prices start around $3,700.
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