The new TAG Heuer Connected
TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver explains the runaway and - even he has to admit - somewhat surprising success of the original Connected, first launched in November 2015, with his usual clarity. “Firstly it was a proper wristwatch. And it remains one even when it’s inactive. I wasn’t interested in some black hole. That’s why, regardless of whether it’s day or night or what you’re doing, you can always see the hour, minute and second hands.”
Connoisseurs and lovers of watches, even those who couldn’t give two hoots about smartwatches, will still instantly recognise that the round, 46-mm titanium case is a real Carrera. A scratch-resistant sapphire crystal touchscreen makes sure the watch will keep up appearances long-term. Intel specialists were responsible for the sophisticated and impressively powerful micro-computer at work within. Give it a couple of ports and it would work just as well with a regular keyboard and large monitor too.
The high-res TAG Heuer logo appears when you switch it on and you can then select from a number of dials. Depending on your mood, you can go for three hands and the date, a GMT display with an additional 24-hour hand or a typical Valjoux 7750-look chronograph. There are also designs by Cara Delevingne, David Guetta and other brand ambassadors.
Naturally you can change the appearance to suit you. Second-level functions include special apps such as a stopwatch, timer and alarm which operate independently of the smartphone. Then there are the sensor-operated “complications” such as a sleep-monitor, a speedometer and the Google Fit activity tracker.
You can either see the huge array of apps from Google Play Store such as RaceChrono, Golfshot, Insiders and ViewRanger in full-screen mode or in the “classic” dial’s mini-display. The German Bundesliga, which TAG Heuer is a sponsor of, is also on board. There are two ways to get online: either directly via WiFi or via Bluetooth to connect to smartphones, sensors or a soundbox. However, this complete two-way range of options only works with Android Wear. iOS-users will have to cope with systematic limitations. So that’s the first generation, which may well be sold out but certainly isn’t out of fashion.
It was launched on March 14, 2017, and not just anywhere, but on the picturesque Lake Lucerne opposite the meadow where, according to historian Aegidius Tschudi, the legendary Rütlischwur oath was taken on November 8, 1307, the oath that gave rise to the Swiss Confederation. The location wasn’t chosen at random. With Intel manager Joshua M. Walden and David Singleton of Google by his side, Jean-Claude Biver announced that the second-generation Connected would be Swiss-made, meaning the manufacture – including of the electronics – would demonstrably take place in Switzerland.
But those are all fairly small details and what will actually strike the watch-wearer first will be a new, high-res AMOLED display. The initial agonising choice extends to some 30 different dials. A blackout still never happens. The carried over array of Connected functions not only remains untouched but has in fact increased thanks to an integrated GPS function and NFC (Near Field Communication) for simple payments via Android Pay for example. The installed software is the latest version of Android Wear.
The real highlight is the extremely broad range of options for designing your own wristwatch. General director Guy Sémon and his team have made an ingenious modular case concept reality.
Upon going on sale, TAG Heuer had no fewer than ten standard options of the Connected on offer. Four different ceramic straps, eight rubber straps and three leather ones mean you won’t get bored looking at your wrist. There are even two different fasteners. But that’s just part of the variety on offer. If the electronic version ever feels inappropriate, not a problem. You can dazzle people at dinner, a party, a soirée or at the theatre with a classic clockwork version in an instant. Just remove the ceramic from the electronics container and attach a clockwork titanium module instead.
TAG Heuer offers its customers the following options to suit their mood and wallet: a simple 3-hand automatic with date window, the built-in Calibre 5 being equivalent to the well-known Eta 2824-2 or its clone, the Sellita SW 200.
Demanding clockwork freaks will be best pleased with the Heuer 02T automatic calibre. If money is no object, there’s the in-house automatic with flywheel chronograph and a light one-minute tourbillon with a pivoted mounting made partly of carbon. This movement is also COSC-certified.
Jean-Claude Biver has this to say on that topic: “When I spoke to the head of COSC in early February, he told me that TAG Heuer was the only brand to have submitted automatic chronographs with a tourbillon for testing. He was also very surprised by the failure rate of below 3%. We will make 3,000 of these movements in 2017. Whatever we make is snapped up immediately. We’ve employed extra people to manufacture them and have made a large financial commitment. If my prognoses are right, TAG Heuer will sell 1,500 tourbillons with the classic case and a further 1,500 as a module for the new Connected. We’re launching the set with two modules, the Connected and the tourbillon at €17,900. That’s a sensational price.”
The new Connected alone costs nigh on €1,575, as does the container with the Calibre 5.