After 155 years in the business, if we count back since the time Heuer was a brand on its own, for TAG would only come into the mix when they acquired Heuer back in 1985. This watch manufacture now takes the leap into the future with their first smartwatch, the: “TAG Heuer Connected”. Apple conquered the tech world and the music industry, but they won’t dominate the horology market without a fight. Be it similar tech brands also invading the watch industry, like: Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola, Sony and others. Or, the traditional watch manufactures that are adding smartwatches to their catalogue, such as: IWC, Seiko and TAG Heuer, up to now.
TAG Heuer got the design inspiration for this smartwatch from its classic Carrera model, circa 1960’s. But, it has nothing to do with its mechanical kin. The titanium case and bezel on the “TAG Heuer Connected” give it a very light feel on the wrist. But, one thing about this smartwatch compared to others, is it really looks a lot like a traditional watch. Some would even say that going from an “Apple Watch” to this one, makes the former look like a toy in comparison. This is the first smartwatch to feature Intel chip technology, via an: Intel Atom Z34XX processor. At its inception is a partnership between TAG Heuer and Google Wear’s Android software.
The “TAG Heuer Connected” has a 46mm case and can swipe between 3 digital dial faces: black, deep blue or pearl white. All of them exhibit a date-window and elements from the mechanical Carrera watch, such as its: hands, index markers, chronograph counters and a minute track. There are three counters on chronograph dials at the 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions, that open up to third-party apps in full-screen when touched. And with these key features TAG Heuer maintains the aesthetical look of a mechanical timepiece. But, its touch screen can reveal a lot more. Be it traditional watch features like: a timer, stopwatch or alarm. Or, more modern features like: google maps, text features, translate and access to all kinds of Android apps.
They’ve even developed their own apps, not allowing themselves to reside solely on Android Wear apps. Developing their own SDK (Software Development Kit) which has already given way to 4 exclusive apps that integrate with its before mentioned 3 digital dial faces, apps like: Insiders, RaceChrono Pro, Viewrangers and GolfShot Pro. All these apps have free subscription with the watch purchase and three of these apps are sports oriented, in order to reinforce their utility.
Now one of the least favorable aspects of this new smartwatch is unfortunately located in a spot it should have strived to perfect: the dial. The touch screen on this TAG Heuer is only a 360×360 LCD with a pixel density of 240ppi, which is a very mild start taking into account there are already better screens on the market. The still yet to launch “LG Watch Urbane Second Edition” has announced the highest resolution, with a 480×480 screen at 348ppi. While the currently on the market and best screen delivered up to now belongs to the “Huawei Watch” with a 1.4 inch 400×400 display at 286ppi. So, TAG Heuer enters the “smartphone battle” with 46ppi less than the current victor.
There are also other issues to take into account in order for any smartwatch to really become an indispensable timepiece and it all begins with the power reserve. A watch has to tell time no matter what. In the case of a mechanical watch basic movement and winding will always keep the watch up to speed. And although a quartz battery isn’t eternal, it has a significant life span.
So, in our view, the future and true necessity value of these smartwatches will boil down to power reserve. Until some horology manufacture comes up with a way of having a touch screen watch that can be quartz powered, these early adopters will all be some-what gimmicky watches, following fad trends. Having to charge your smartphone every 24 hours is already hassle enough. If you have to do the same to your wrist watch, it kind of defeats the purpose. Because the whole purpose of a watch is for you to be able to forget about time. As Faulkner would say: “I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend your breath trying to conquer it”.
TAG Heuer Connected
The TAG Heuer is powered by an Intel Atom Z34XX processor and a 410mAh battery that should deliver 25 hours of power reserve. It has 4GB of storage on-board, which is a standard amount for devices by Android Wear. It comes mounted to a black rubber strap, with 6 other colors (blue, red, white, yellow, green, and orange) sold separately to choose from.
The watch went on sale the 9th of November, for $1,500 and is limited to 1000 pieces at the moment. Those that purchase the “TAG Heuer Connected” can either opt for an upgrade in 2 years, or for a mechanical version of this watch, at that time. But, this upgrade will not be free, in fact it comes with an identical price-tag of another $1,500. It’s almost like buying the same watch all over again, but at least you can opt out of the smartwatch incarnation and return to a stable mechanical version if you prefer.
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