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Two new TAG Heuer Connected models lead the way for luxury smartwatches

Rob Waugh 4 minute read
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The luxury smartwatch sector has become increasingly crowded in the wake of TAG Heuer’s pioneering launch of the Connected in 2015, with Hublot, Mont Blanc and Louis Vuitton now offering their own smartwatches. However, as the pioneer, TAG Heuer’s new models offers an interesting glimpse of the future of the sector.

The two new models, in 45mm and 42mm, aimed at both male and female consumers, has been redesigned with a new look and an easier-to-manipulate crown. The Android watch also features technical improvements such as a 30 per cent improved battery life and Bluetooth 5.0 for faster data transfers, as well as significant updates to TAG Heuer’s growing collection of dedicated apps.

TAG Heuer’s bespoke apps for timing and sport offer design nods to the company’s long heritage in sports timers, as a means of differentiating their watches from other Android devices. The biggest new addition is a fitness app offering animated guided workouts in which a 3D animated ‘trainer’ guides users through a seven-minute workout. The watch vibrates on the wrist to remind wearers that it’s time to move on to the next exercise.

TAG Heuer says 60 per cent of customers use the company’s sports app, with one in five customers interested in golf in particular.

According to TAG Heuer’s CEO, Frederic Arnault, ‘Since the beginning, we knew that the the smartwatch was going to be a revolution that would change people's lives and habits. We also know that watches are a very important object, a very personal object that represents one's identity.

‘Our customers today wouldn't want to compromise on the emotion they have wearing a watch, while still having all the benefits and features that you can expect from a smartwatch. This was the vision from the beginning.’

Arnault says the Connected smartwatch has since become a ‘pillar’ of TAG Heuer alongside Aquaracer and Carrera – highlighting the importance of the device to the Swiss watch company.

TAG Heuer has also created new bespoke dials created from CAD scans of classic TAG Heuer watches, another way in which the company seeks to differentiate itself from technology brands.

The new model also features two customised digital displays, with a ‘Wellness’ dial offering information on exercise, directly from the watch’s home screen including live heart rate and the number of steps taken per day. Meanwhile ‘Riverside’ features an animated futuristic effect designed to evoke time elapsing.

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Thus far, luxury smartwatches remain a relatively small part of the overall smartwatch market, which is dominated by Apple with 33.5 per cent market share, according to Counterpoint Research.

But the overall market is growing rapidly, growing 35 per cent year-on-year from 2020 to 2021. And research by International Data Corporation showed that smartwatches (i.e. fully functional computing devices such as the TAG Heuer Connected) are now displacing fitness wristbands as the most popular wrist-worn device.

No wonder then that, in the wake of Connected, other luxury watch brands have attempted to stamp their character on smartwatch devices. For instance, Hublot’s Big Bang e offering users the chance to follow football tournaments via a bespoke app.

The latest Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon model goes further – it doesn't run Android, but it's own bespoke operating system, with an entire section devoted to travel (a neat function on a luxury device).

As the luxury smartwatch sector booms, so technology brands such as Apple have partnered with brands such as Hermes to create special-edition straps for its watches.

At the retail level at least, there’s significant demand for luxury smartwatches. Brian Duffy, chief executive of the Watches of Switzerland Group, says, 'We have seen significant interest in the smartwatch category for customers and have run waiting lists for TAG Heuer Connected models in particular. In fact, I often wear one myself and enjoy all the health-related functions such as tracking my daily step count.’

Meanwhile, Frederic Arnault has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the smartwatch category and technology in general, teasing at the launch of the new Connected model launch a potential TAG Heuer NFT (Non Fungible Token) in the future.

Discover more from TAG Heuer here at Goldsmiths.

Author credit: Rob Waugh is one of Britain's leading technology journalists, and has written about smartwatches, business and emerging technology for dozens of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 20 years.

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