Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer officially threw its hat into the smartwatch ring today with the launch of the TAG Heuer Connected watch — first announced at this year’s Baselworld — a revolutionary new timepiece developed in cooperation with Intel Corporation and Google and powered by Android Wear technology.
The TAG Heuer Connected Watch was unveiled at a press conference at LVMH Tower (LVMH is the parent company of TAG Heuer), hosted by Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer & President of the LVMH Group’s Watches Division, accompanied by Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Corporation, and David Singleton, VP of Engineering for Android at Google. Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, was also in attendance, along with an international group of media, including WatchTime.
Here are the basics:
The watch — officially dubbed the TAG Heuer Connected Watch with Intel Inside — has a 46-mm-diameter case made from grade 2 titanium, making it lighter and more resistant to impacts than a case made from other traditional watchmaking materials such as steel or gold. It comes on a textured black rubber strap (six other colors – red, blue, white, orange, green and yellow – are available, sold separately) with a deployant buckle also made of grade 2 titanium The watch — which is available for sale at more than 100 TAG Heuer boutiques and 150 carefully selected retailers across the world (including 20 retailers in the United States) as of today, November 9 — is priced at $1,500.
(TAG Heuer’s official product video for the Connected Watch appears below.)
As per Biver’s directive that it “be a connected watch but not look like a connected watch,” TAG Heuer has developed three digital watch dials (or “watch faces”), all of which feature the immediately recognizable design codes of TAG Heuer’s Carrera collection, including the hands, index, counters, date window and minute track. Wearers can choose from a chronograph dial, three-hand dial and GMT dial, all of which display the date and are available in a choice of three colors (black, deep blue or pearl white). Also, unlike smartwatches such as the Apple Watch, the digital hands and indexes remain visible at all times, even when the watch is in ambient energy-saving mode.
The following will be available from the launch date: the chronograph dial, the 3-hand dial and the GMT dial, all of which display the date and are available in a choice of three colors (black, deep blue or pearl white), faithfully reproducing the appearance and functions of a true dial, with shadows under the hands and sunburst effects. TAG Heuer also says that other “watch face” options will be made available in the future, downloadable through the exclusive TAG Heuer app in the Google Play Store.
TAG Heuer worked closely with Intel and Google to create a watch that combined connectivity and computing intelligence with Swiss watchmaking heritage. The watch features an Intel Atom processor Z34XX and runs the Android Wear platform. Intel engineered the intelligence inside the watch to optimize performance and enable a multitude of connectivity options including audio streaming, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as allow users to harness the full range of features offered by the Android Wear operating system.
The TAG Heuer Connected watch — touted by Google’s Singleton as “the world’s smartest luxury watch” — has 4 GB of memory and an all-day battery life thanks to its latest-generation lithium battery. It is equipped with a small microphone to communicate via Google voice control and a sapphire crystal touchscreen complementing the crown at 3 o’clock which houses controls. Another advantage: if you don’t have your smartphone with you, the watch will continue to calculate, display, and exchange data, and as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection it will remain connected to the cloud. Its resident applications (music, timer, alarm, step counter) remain active even when no connection is available.
Thousands of Android applications are already available for the TAG Heuer Connected watch user to download. The key applications, currently used by millions, such as Google Fit, Google Translate, Google Maps and Google Search with your voice are already available on the watch, and show you information at a glance. The watch can also be easily synced with a phone running either on Android 4.3+ or iOS 8.2+. It is charged using a contact charger — simply place the watch on top to recharge it — and carries a two-year warranty, like other TAG Heuer watches.
Finally — and this is where the product’s tagline “connected to eternity” comes in — anyone who purchases a TAG Heuer Connected watch will have the opportunity to exchange it for a mechanical watch with a traditional Swiss-made mechanical movement inside. Which means that at the end of the two-year warranty period, customers can go to a TAG Heuer retailer and exchange the TAG Heuer Connected watch for an exclusively developed mechanical TAG Heuer Carrera watch, similarly designed and also with a grade 2 titanium case. This transaction would cost an additional $1,500.
A dedicated online platformm, tagheuerconnected.com, has been created to share the latest new features and obtain the partner applications available for the interactive counters watch faces. The list of points of sale can be viewed at tagheuerconnected.com.