With all of the social distancing necessary today, staying connected in other ways is ever more important. To do that, TAG Heuer has just launched its third-generation Connected watch. The brand was one of the first traditional watch companies to jump on the smart watch concept five years ago, so this third evolution is naturally packed with a host of features that bring the watch to all-new levels.
Recently, I got to interview Frédéric Arnault, strategy and digital director for TAG Heuer (and son of billionaire Bernard Arnault who is chairman of the LVMH Group (which owns TAG Heuer) about the new Connected watch and about smart watches in general. We covered that interview recently on Forbes. Below are excerpts.
The new Connected watch combines high-performance digital experiences, with an all-new 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.”
The new generation of smart retails from $1,800 to $2,350, a price that may well be justified thanks to the unique combination of TAG Heuer’s own Sports app, 160 years of watchmaking history and the finest connectivity yet. It state-of-the-art digital experiences, including daily connected services offered from Wear OS by Google, immersive sports experiences thanks to the new TAG Heuer Sports app (that tracks golf, running, cycling, walking, fitness), a built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, and more. There is even a newly developed mobile companion app that allows for intense personalization of tracking.
It was just about two years ago that TAG Heuer began assembling its own team of smart-watch techies in Paris to work on the new generation timepiece. The company a created an entire digital technology team headquartered in Paris, to work on the watch, the brand’s new Sports app, the continuous updates and future developments.
According to Arnault, the project was challenging. On the one hand, the brand’s entire watchmaking team is in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, while the tech team was in Paris. Communication was a huge issue, and often the teams were traveling back and forth to make the design concept work with the technical side.
One of the main concerns with the creation of the new generation of watch had to do with the design and form, as well as the software. The watch needed to be slimmer, lighter in weight and more tactile. In an effort to make the watch more intuitive, they also added pushers and a crown – much like a chronograph. The pushers enable the wearer to switch back and forth between functions and apps much more easily than a touchscreen watch. For its design, the watchmakers studied the brand’s rich history in chronograph watches and even developed several dials that reflect its mechanical mastery.
During the event, TAG Heuer offered immersive experiences, allowing people to wear the watches, try them out and sync them with the phone apps. Also impressive was the fact that the brand didn’t shy away from its mechanical roots, and instead, had key historical pocket watches and chronographs on display right alongside the high-tech smart watches.
According to Arnault, the new Connected watch transcends all ages. “It is a watch designed for true watch lovers who own beautiful watches but don’t want to compromise on when it comes to being connected,” says Arnault. “We are targeting people who want to stay connected from moment to moment, who want easy access to their calendar, notifications and other apps without compromising on style. This watch is not just a tool, it has a lifestyle look and will accompany them in all they do.”
He also added that the smart watch business is in addition to the traditional watch business, which is the brand’s true roots. 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.