Would you pay $1,500 for an Android Wear watch? Swiss luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer sure hopes so, because that’s price tag it has attached to its new Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch.
Available starting today at Tag Heuer’s 20 U.S. stores, as well as online, the Connected is the first smartwatch made by the iconic Swiss watch company. I spent some hands-on time with the Connected, and while it might have the Tag Heuer cachet, I’m not quite sold on it.
The fact that a luxury Swiss watchmaker like Tag Heuer developed a smartwatch is big news. What makes Swiss watches so beautiful is the fact that they are handmade and use precise physical gears.
So for a company like Tag Heuer to let tech partners like Intel and Google replace the watch’s finely tuned guts with silicon and software is a proof that the company sees smartwatches as an area worth paying attention to.
But while the Connected’s insides are from Silicon Valley, its design and body is pure Switzerland. To help its watch stand out from the slew of Android Wear watches already on the market, as well as justify its high price, Tag Heuer built the Connected using grade 2 titanium. (The watch’s strap, which will be available in multiple colors, is made of rubber.)
True to Tag’s promise, the Connected is incredibly lightweight. It’s genuinely surprising how little this thing weighs. But like other Android Wear watches, the Connected is still relatively bulky. Compared to the Apple Watch and Samsung’s Gear S2, the timepiece feels chunky and is likely to be uncomfortable for folks with smaller wrists.
With its size and design, the Connected is clearly geared toward men. Tag, however, says it is also working on a smaller version of the Connected for women.
For the most part, the Connected’s software is unchanged from other Android Wear watches. It displays things like incoming calls, the weather, emails, and text messages, and lets you use third-party apps compatible with Android Wear.
To help set the Connected apart, however, Tag Heuer has developed three unique, customizable watch faces, as well as a Tag stopwatch app.
As with Google’s other Android Wear watches, the Connected is compatible with Apple’s iPhone via the Android Wear app for iOS. Though, the company pointed out, some functionality you’d normally see between the watch and Android smartphones, such as liking or retweeting Tweets, won’t carry over to Apple’s handset.
Connected for Eternity … sort of
The thing about luxury smartwatches is that they’re supposed to last for generations. Heck, that’s part of the reason they cost so much.
But like every other piece of consumer technology, smartwatches are destined for obsolescence. So how do you justify a $1,500 price tag for a watch that will be outdated in two or three years? By letting you replace it with a traditional watch.
According to Tag, at the end of the watch’s two-year warranty, you’ll be able to go a Tag Heuer location and trade in your Connected for a similarly designed mechanical watch.
Inexplicably, the company won’t let you trade in your outdated Connected for a newer connected watch.
At $1,500 the Tag Heuer Connected is expensive, but not nearly as much as the $17,000 Apple Watch Edition. And compared to mechanical Tag Heuer watches, the Connected is still relatively inexpensive.
It’s clear that Google is dedicated to making its Android Wear software the leading smartwatch platform. But whether anyone is willing to part with $1,500 for a device that’s functionally the same as a $150 competitor, and lacks the internal mechanics of a classic watch remains to be seen. Personally, the watch is just too rich for my blood.
If you’re interested in checking out the Tag Heuer Connected you can visit one of the company’s 20 locations in the U.S.
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