TAG Heuer Third-Generation Connected Watch
Frédéric Arnault and TAG Heuer launch their expensive Smart Watch in New York.
According to Frédéric Arnault, Chief Strategy and Digital Officer of TAG Heuer, the future of the smart watch is very bright. That may well be why the brand, which launched its third-generation Connected Watch last week in New York, put one of the heftiest price tags on a serially produced smart watch to date: $1,800 to $2,350.
The new generation Connected Watch was nearly 18 months in the development stages, and the team that built it was specially hand-picked for the job almost two years ago. Knowing it wanted to really turn up the heat on the smart watch category, TAG Heuer – which introduced its first Connected watch in 2015 – assembled an entire digital technology team to bring the new software and hardware to fruition. The tech team, based in Paris, worked closely with the brand’s La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, watchmaking team to create one of the most intuitive and highly functional smart watches on the market.
“Our headquarters in Switzerland is in the heart of the watchmaking world, but it would have been impossible for us to hire such a specialized technical team there. We had to do this in Paris where the software and hardware engineers are, where we could get the right talent,” says Arnault. “That resulted in a lot of traveling back and forth between the teams and a lot of tension. The important thing was to make sure there was a lot of communication on both sides.”
In addition to working on the design of the watch to ensure completely fluid user friendliness, the tech team even developed its own TAG Heuer Sports App – which tracks and delivers data on everything from walking to jogging, stairclimbing and even playing golf. Soon enough, probably within the coming months, TAG Heuer will offer another sports app for the Connected watch: adding swimming to the list.
The new Connected watch combines high-performance digital experiences, with the TAG Heuer Sports App and fine watchmaking. “It is geared for people who want to stay connected but don’t want to sacrifice lifestyle or looks,” says Arnault. “It is a true luxury timepiece that takes into account 160 years of mechanical engineering and today’s digital technology.”
Four versions of the Connected watch are being offered, in either stainless steel or titanium. They all feature a ceramic bezel and are thinner and lighter in weight than previous versions. Additionally, the watches offer chronograph pushers and crown that are highly functional for scrolling through apps and notifications instead of relying solely on touch screen methods. The brand’s watchmakers studied the TAG Heuer archives for the best chronograph look, and the team even added some very real chronograph dial options.
Connected Watch, 4 versions
“We have 160 years of history to look back on and our experience with chronographs is huge. It makes sense for us to bring that mechanical watchmaking expertise to the Connected watch,” says Arnault. “The tactile sense of the watch, the functional pushers and crowns make it very easy-to-use. We wanted the user interface to be intuitive and fluid, that was a high priority,” says Arnault. “With this watch even a mechanical watch user feels very comfortable.”
The brand has also implemented a recycle program for older generation Connected watches that are out of date. Consumers can bring the old versions in and get a small price-off incentive (about $100) for buying the newest third generation.
© TAG Heuer
While the Connected watch business is relatively young for TAG Heuer, Arnault says it is predominantly add-on business to the traditional watch business, which is the brand’s DNA. Because the smart watch business is relatively young, Arnault says he sees much room for growth and even expects some of his Connected Watch customers to eventually buy mechanical TAG Heuer timepieces.
“We have some other great new products we are launching this year in the mechanical watch business. We are investing in our movements and in our iconic lines,” says Arnault, mentioning that one of the big unveilings will be in the Carrera collection, which has more than 50 years of history. That Carrera launch would have taken place at Baselworld, but instead, the brand will focus on local events around the world to showcase the watch. “More and more we wish to adopt a direct-to-market strategy, so our products are immediately available for our customers when we reveal them.”
Over 150 years of watchmaking savoir-faire and technical innovation have made TAG Heuer a global reference in avant-garde sports watches. As it tracked the rise of sports demanding increasingly precise timekeeping, TAG Heuer continually developed its unique capabilities through a long-term vision of what watchmaking is today, and what it will look like tomorrow.Find out more >
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