A Swiss Made Smartwatch
One does not normally think of electronic smartwatches as being "Swiss Made." The implication there is that the watches are to some degree both manufactured and, more importantly, assembled in Switzerland. A key selling point for TAG Heuer in the Connected Modular 45 is the "Swissness" of the product. A large "Swiss Made" label on the lower part of the case is a constant reminder of how these timepieces are meant to fit into the larger universe of Swiss luxury timepieces.
For the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 (and future items) the brand set up a dedicated assembly facility for the production of smartwatches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, where the company is based. A promotional video released by the brand shows off this facility attempting to assert the notion that these products aren't just designed by Europeans in watchmaking country, but also produced by them. TAG Heuer is quick to thank both Google and especially Intel for working together in order to make this possible. TAG Heuer works with Intel both as a hardware supplier as well as an overall technology partner. TAG Heuer even thanked Intel for using its facilities to assemble the original TAG Heuer Carrera Connected watch as it was just learning the market. Intel remains a key partner for TAG Heuer in its development as a technology company.
Therefore, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is a real Swiss Made product that is both a luxury item and a contemporary smartwatch technology product - combining both utility and emotion (such as TAG Heuer had hoped for). Powering the smartwatch module is an Intel Atom Z34XX series processor chip, with 4GB of internal storage, and powered by Google Android Wear 2.0. An available app will allow the watches to work on both Android-based devices as well as Apple iOS devices. Though, in my experience, Android Wear watches tend to work best for Android-based smartphones.
The 1.4-inch sapphire crystal screen will be a rich AMOLED touchscreen that should produce beautiful colors, and a viewing experience superior to that of the original device (it is also brighter than the outgoing Connected watch). Battery life should be about the same as the first Connected watch product. Maintained is the monochromatic always-on state of the dial. It means that there is a simple watch dial that can be set to be on when the dial is in an inactive state. It helps give the watch needed personality when the screen isn't activated. I liked this on the original Connected but there isn't too much of an advancement here. Currently the best always-on state for a smartwatch is on the Tizen-powered Samsung Gear S3 (which has the always-on screen state to beat).
The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is not a full fitness tracker in the sense that it does not have heart rate monitor, but of course it can track some activity such as motion and movement. It will have built-in GPS, WiFi, as well as NFC for contactless payments systems (an oval window on the rear of the case is an NFC proximity sensor that, as a security mechanism, disables it if you are not wearing the watch).
These are all expected pieces of technology these days, and it is good to know that they will be a core part of the user experience here. As I noted above, in the future when new hardware is available, it should be possible to swap out older tech for something newer, which should ease the minds of at least some consumers hesitant about spending this much on a smartwatch device. At the end of the day, the purchase price is not really for the hardware, which is going to be available at lower prices. Rather, the design, materials, and quality of the external case is where a large amount of value proposition is for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45.
Finally, while I don't believe it is available at launch, TAG Heuer has claimed that it will be releasing a unique "TAG Heuer time management experience" software that goes with Android Wear and is said to highly customize the user experience. I don't know much about this software, but the idea is to help you understand the available time you have in your day, easily set "smart reminders," and get suggestions on to how best use your time. All I know is that TAG Heuer has software engineers in-house developing the software, and that they are pretty excited by it. This is a big deal as it not only shows further investment into technology at TAG Heuer, but that they realize the future of luxury smartwatches is not just in how they look, but the user experience as well.
"Made For Eternity" Mechanical Watch Modules
An interesting "gimmick" that helped distinguish the original TAG Heuer Carrera Connected watch was a promise by TAG Heuer that two years after purchasing the watch, consumers could send it back and receive a mechanical module in place of the outdated digital module. Thus, you could turn your old smartwatch into a timeless mechanical watch. This notion has become further refined for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, being an experience that is available right away and being more married to the overall product experience in what I think is a very positive way.
TAG Heuer's Jean-Claude Biver has translated this notion of "timelessness" in a mechanical watch to the notion of "eternity." Thus, for Mr. Biver, mechanical watches represent eternal appeal, while technology is appealing in its current state only temporarily. Such a sentiment does frequently define the relationship that many traditional watch lovers have with technology products and mechanical timepieces.
At launch, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 will be available with two mechanical watch modules. First is a three-hand TAG Heuer Calibre 5 Automatic, and second is the much more elaborate and luxurious TAG Heuer Tourbillon Chronograph Calibre Heuer 02-T. This latter movement is made in-house at TAG Heuer and is one of the most affordable Swiss-Made tourbillon movements - and it is also super cool, in my opinion. I reviewed the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02-T Tourbillon Chronograph watch here. Both of these look pretty darn nice, and it will be interesting to see how many TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 owners also get a mechanical watch module.
This latter development in offering a tourbillon is interesting and represents the high-end of the market which TAG Heuer believes will be interested in the Connected Modular 45. With that said, a limited edition box set of 1000 pieces will come with both the Connected smartwatch module and the Heuer 02-T COSC Chronometer Certified Tourbillon Chronograph watch for an extremely aggressive price (all things considered). I think a lot of watch lovers will be excited about the availability of TAG Heuer's impressive tourbillon chronograph as part of the launch plan for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, and it represents TAG Heuer's dedication to contemporary technology products and the tradition of fine watchmaking equally.
TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Availability & Pricing
Given the large range of options and accessories for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, prices will naturally vary. Availability should begin soon, and the smartwatches themselves come with a rather decent two-year warranty. Prices for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 without diamonds start at $1,650 and go up to $4,100 with variations including gold, black ceramic bracelet, gold-plated lugs, and other options you can find in the price list below. With diamonds, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is $6,750. Price for the rubber straps is $115, $275 for the calfskin strap, $760 for the titanium bracelet, and $945 for the black ceramic bracelet. The box set that includes a TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 in titanium with a leather strap as well as a Calibre Heuer 02-T Chronograph Tourbillon module will be priced at $17,000 - which is actually a pretty decent price. You can see the full price list for the watches as well as straps and upgrades below. We will update this article and more on the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 watch on aBlogtoWatch as we continue to learn more. tagheuer.com
TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Watch Pricelist:
-SBF8A8014.11FT6076- Titanium Case & Steel Bezel, Titanium Lugs, Black Rubber Strap $1,650
-SBF8A8001.11FT6076- Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel, Titanium Lugs, Black Rubber Strap $1,700 (same price for blue bezel and strap)
-SBF8A8001.11FT6110- Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel, Titanium Lugs, Brown Calfskin Leather $1,800
-SBF8A8013.82FT6110- Black PVD Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel, Titanium Lugs, Black Calfskin Leather $2,200
-SBF8A8001.10BF0608- Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel, Titanium Lugs and Bracelet $2,300
-SBF8A8013.32FT6076- Black PVD Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel with 18k 5N gold coated lugs, Black Strap $3,200
-SBF8A5000.32FT6110- Black PVD Titanium Case & 18k 5N Rose Gold Bezel & 18k 5N Gold coated Lugs, & Brown Leather Strap $4,100
-SBF8A8013.80BH0933- Black PVD Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel, Black Ceramic coated Lugs, & Black Ceramic Bracelet $3,100
-SBF8A8011.62FT6079- Titanium Case with Diamond & Steel Bezel, sandblasted satin finish, Black Calfskin Strap, & 12 diamonds per lug $6,750
-SBF8A8001.11EB0099- Titanium Case & Black Ceramic Bezel with Tourbillon module, Titanium Lugs with Black Carbide Coating & Brown Leather Strap $17,000
Prices for straps & upgrades:
-Rubber Bracelets $115
-Calfskin Straps $275
-Titanium Grade 5 Bracelet $760
-Black matter ceramic bracelet- $945
-Titanium horns $850
-Titanium & Diamond Horns $2,700
-Rose Gold Horns $2,700
-Black Ceramic Horns- $1,250