TAG Heuer in March debuted the third edition TAG Heuer Connected watch with a host of updates aimed at enhancing the watch’s sportiness and increasing the ability of the wearer to customize it.
Now with two right-side pushers, the case and design of the three 45mm steel cases or the one blackened titanium-cased watch now largely echoes the brand’s more traditional chronographs. You’ll find recognizable TAG Heuer lugs (with both polished and brushed finishes), an angled ceramic bezel, rotating crown and screwed caseback, but all now teamed within a more traditional chronograph two-pusher case profile.
TAG Heuer has also developed a new Sports app, complete with a much-requested heart rate monitor, to enhance the activities options for the new watch, powered by Wear OS by Google.
TAG Heuer has also updated the OLED touchscreen (protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal) so that the wearer can choose from between five always-on faces inspired by TAG Heuer mechanical or digital dials.
With built-in GPS, the TAG Heuer Connected watches provide updated, highly detailed tracking for golf, running, cycling, walking, fitness and other sessions and access daily connected services. Using the app, wearers can personalize the watch’s appearance and its reporting and notifications capability. These include a three-hand version of the Heuer 02 manufacture movement skeletonized dial, a Carrera Heuer 01 dial, a liquid crystal-like display and an unusual algorithm-based neural network animation named Orbital.
Interestingly, TAG Heuer has also provided an option pixel-intense “tribute” face inspired by the hexagonal nanotube structure of the TAG Heuer carbon composite hairspring.
All the new watch faces can be set to these different dial options in a variety of colors.
To extend the battery life, the screen alternates between active and ambient mode, but it always indicates time. The steel versions of the watch feature a new, interchangeable bracelet system to accommodate a bracelet or strap. Here, TAG Heuer offers a choice of rubber straps in a classic black scale pattern with red stitching, perforated red, orange or khaki, all with a folding buckle. Each watch is fitted with a magnetic battery charger and comes with a travel pouch.
The new TAG Heuer Connected watch is available to order, from select retailers all TAG Heuer boutiques, as well as online www.tagheuer.com.
iW Interview: Inside the New Connected
iW spoke with Stephane Bianchi, CEO of TAG Heuer and LVMH Watch Division, as TAG Heuer was set to launch its latest Connected model. He told us more about how the new version differs from the previous model, and offered insight into the role of the smartwatch at the company.
iW: How is the new TAG Heuer Connected a more intuitive (or different) experience for the user than the previous version?
Bianchi: We have added an improved sport app. Each sport is very clear and obvious on the screen as you scroll. You can really see exactly what you want to do with your watch. You see the visual, then you click on it and you have everything you want. It is intuitive and it is fun, and it’s important to enjoy your sport activities. You can gauge whether you improve or just maintain, and this allows you to record your improvements. We have made a good tool watch that is also very elegant.
What have you changed on the case and dial?
We changed many things. We have a slightly thinner case and a flat bezel. It is the same diameter but it is thinner with more refined lugs. It looks more like a traditional chronograph watch. If you place the Heuer 02 face on the watch, from a distance it even looks like our more traditional watch. It is made to wear everywhere. You can take it from a meeting at work directly into Central Park to go running.
This is a luxury watch that is still very good for sporting activities.
Were there changes you made that resulted from requests made by consumers?
The new heart rate sensor is the biggest change. This was a very big request from our users. The heart rate sensor also allowed us to vastly improve our running application within the new watch. And you will find tremendous improvements in the golf application. This is something that I use quite frequently.
Is TAG Heuer reaching new consumer groups with the Connected?
Hopefully yes. This is big business for TAG Heuer. And it is additional business as it does not take business away from any of our other watch sales. We have found that seventy percent of our Connected watch buyers then went on to purchase a traditional TAG Heuer watch. They were first attracted to us with the Connected watch, and then they continued with us to purchase a more traditional model. This is a very positive effect.
How important is customization?
Again, we are in the luxury world. That means you need to create a bespoke watch. This is very important for us. This is not just a smart watch, it is your own watch. If you want a steel bracelet, you can get one. If you want a colorful rubber strap you can do that to. It is up to you. We have made this so you can use it on any occasion. The duality of this watch is fantastic, and that is what we were aiming for. When you have this on your wrist you can see and feel that it is very different from the Apple watch. It has to be. We have to be TAG Heuer.
You’ll find recognizable TAG Heuer lugs (with both polished and brushed finishes), an angled ceramic bezel, rotating crown and screwed caseback on the new generation Connected.
Which functions do you access most often on your own Connected watch?
I use it most for messages, but also for running and for checking my heart rate.
How important will Connected watch sales be for TAG Heuer in the upcoming few years?
We don’t give numbers, but sales for us are a double-digit figure. Every year we seek to improve this, but of course our traditional watch business is our core business.