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Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by Above Category

It’s 4:15am, and I’m being jolted awake by the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 on my wrist, as it buzzes with a surprising degree of urgency. I stumble from bed in the dark, reaching for my bibs and jersey which have been slung over the back of a chair. A few feet away, pre-ground coffee from last night sits patiently in the pour-over filter, awaiting hot water. I’m light years from many of the experiences of a pro cyclist, but this is one we’re able to share: the bleary-eyed start of every day, the prelude to a double-life waged in the pursuit of the privilege to ride among an extreme minority of the sport’s most elite.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

The rude morning wake-up calls, along with the constant pangs of hunger, persistent fatigue, and general malaise are all callsigns of a life in pro cycling that Nate King, brand manager at Above Category (essentially the Les Ambassadeurs of bike shops) once knew. King is casting off for one more light shakedown ride before shipping off to a 2.1 category stage race in Europe, and he’s invited me along.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

As the tools by which feats of courage through speed are measured, mechanical watches are a natural partner with the many disciplines of man’s race against the clock. This has been exemplified through the years in the myriad of partnerships found between Swiss luxury watchmakers and Formula One, Moto GP, America’s Cup, and many others. However, the Connected Modular 45 marks TAG Heuer’s return to professional cycling, joining Assos of Switzerland as the third pillar in a trifecta of Swiss brands that have yielded a juggernaut in the pro cycling peloton: the BMC Racing Team.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

As previously hinted, this is not TAG Heuer’s first foray into professional bike racing. The venerable Swiss brand’s now-iconic red, white, and green chevron graced jersey sleeves in pro cycling over 25 years ago in 1985 with Sean Kelly and the Heuer Skil SEM team. In the five seasons that followed, Heuer sponsored the American 7-Eleven cycling team directed by a young Jim Ochowicz, equipping the team stars like Bob Roll, Davis Phinney, and Andy Hampsten with the colorful, fiberglass-cased Formula 1 watches.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

With Ochowicz now at the helm of BMC Racing, and avid cyclist and fan Jean-Claude Biver running the show at TAG Heuer, the timing for a new partnership was opportune. While time will determine the value of the relationship (Swiss newspaper Blick has previously hinted that this is the first step in Biver’s personal goal of TAG becoming the title sponsor of the BMC Team in future seasons), BMC team riders – and by extension, TAG Heuer, have already been a regular on podiums all over Europe and the United States thus far this season, making it highly likely that TAG Heuer will be a fixture in pro cycling for the foreseeable future.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by Philippe Lopez (AFP Photo)

Now, TAG Heuer is far from the first sponsor in modern bike racing – perhaps most notably (and notoriously) Spanish watchmaker Festina was a mainstay in nineties-era pro cycling, even sponsoring its own factory team. However, it was this team who ultimately dragged its many sponsors from grace after the infamous Festina Affair of 1998, wherein nine of its riders and three team officials were arrested by police following the seizure of a staggering wealth of anabolic steroids, erythropoietin (EPO), and other doping products in the team’s possession. Unsurprisingly, Festina has had a long, damaged road to repair since, and thus left the sport in 2001, leaving the door open for other watch brands in professional cycling.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

It’s worth mentioning that all this time, Swatch Group brand Tissot has served as bike racing’s “official timekeeper,” but without a specific team to amplify those efforts, the sponsorship has largely been confined to on-course banners, graphics on TV coverage, and various Tour de France-themed Tissot watches gifted to stage winners (not entirely unlike Omega’s partnership with the Olympics).

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

All things considered, TAG Heuer’s return to sponsoring a professional bike racing team is a marked endorsement not only of the sport as a whole, but one also suggesting that its product is designed to supplement the many technological advantages already available to the BMC Racing Team, while enduring the rigors of the most difficult professional sporting event on the planet: the Tour de France.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by TDW Sport for BMC Racing

Now, it’s naturally unfair to say that the Connected Modular 45 is as essential as grand tour tech like an SRM power meter or the data-greedy PC8 head units fitted to all BMC bikes, but the fact that BMC riders have been racing – and winning – with the Connected on their wrists all season, seems to suggest that the watch is, at the very least, not slowing them down. Which is why I had to have a closer look at any potential advantages or utility that the watch might have to offer me – a Cat 3 road racer light years away from ever going pro, and currently shivering under a thick blanket of fog some four hours earlier than my usual rollout. Even still, I open the Strava app on the Android-powered Connected Modular 45, clip in, and roll off.

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by Above Category

Watches In Cycling Revival With The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Featured Articles

Photo by Above Category

As a dedicated smartwatch, the Connected Modular 45 is a far cry from the 3-handed quartz-powered Formula 1 – the last watch TAG Heuer equipped its cycling athletes with. Like any smartwatch, its aim (check out our first hands-on here) is to augment the availability of everyday communications and information in a manner that’s as seamless as possible – there when you need it, gone when you don’t.

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  • Mikita
    • BNABOD

      yikes

    • Saddest Factory

      He’s a veiniac, veiniac on the Tour.
      And he’s biking like he’s never biked before. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/77044b1a8cbd95d097347243894f16089e4cde7f353672c306988191c2100234.gif

      • Larry Holmack

        Ahhhhhh….1980’s flash back to “FlashDance!”

    • Marius

      Ariel Adams and David Bredan comparing & discussing their leg workout before hitting Day 1 of Baselworld.

      • Saddest Factory

        They’re competing in the Tour de NoPants.

    • OH HAI ANDRE GREIPEL.

    • DanW94

      EVERY day is leg day at the gym….

    • Larry Holmack

      Hummm…maybe I need to get a copy of my left leg’s MRI…so y’all can see all the plates, and screws I have in my leg!!! Plus…you’ll get to see where about 9 inches of my Vastus Lateralis used to be!!! When we moved to the Austin area in 2014, my new orthopedic surgeon saw my MRI from my 9th operation and said he didn’t want to know what happened to my left leg. He was just amazed it still functioned at all.

      • My surgeon described x-rays of my right knee/femur right after my hang gliding accident in 1983 as looking like a grenade exploded beside my leg. 14 screws attached to the plate. Bits of bone too small for screws were discarded. Another plate went in a year later. 2 bone grafts and my right femur is still 13 mm shorter than my left (which was only broken into 6 pieces – commutative fracture). But I feel for ya Larry. It all sucks. But my new knees are so much better than the old ones.

        • Larry Holmack

          I know Mark…it just sucks big time. When I injured my knee in college…my left ankle ended up right next to my helmet!!! I am glad I was unconscious!! I still don’t remember anything that happened…which I guess is a good thing!

          • Oww – it hurts just to think about that! Yeah, I also blacked out (2 or 3 minutes). But it hurt plenty when I woke up. The guy that launched me had already unclipped me from my glider and laid me out straight. I have no idea what my right leg looked like with the bone showing at first. My leg was straight (but with a big red and white area) by the time I came around. We are lucky to walk at all buddy.

          • Larry Holmack

            Yes we are!!

      • Mikita

        Ouch, I’m sorry about your leg. I hope you recover.

        • Larry Holmack

          That was almost 40 years ago…and I recovered better than my doctors ever thought I would. But thank you!!

    • No the sort of “blue veiner” I want.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      Look like speed skaters. they’re famous for having the biggest thighs.

  • Framlucasse

    This is a computer on wrist, not a watch.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      That’s what i keep saying, but no one listens.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        No, no one cares. Everybody knows, it’s a computer on a wrist. It’s like saying a car is an engine on wheels. What’s the matter? A mechanical watch is a steampunk computer on a wrist as well. There’s almost zero usefull information in this sentence.

    • Mikita

      Yes, wrist smartphones.

  • Marius

    I am a big fan & user of steroids and growth hormones myself, so I can’t really criticize a cyclist for taking a few “vitamin” pills. Nevertheless, I don’t understand why these athletes are so thin and skinny. I mean, when I’m taking the “Marius Cocktail” (Nadrolone + Undestor + Winstrol + IGF-1 growth hormones), I hit the gym so hard that I caught an assault charge. They had to send the T2500 Terminator from the future for fear that I might singlehandedly destroy the machines. These cyclists, on the other hand, look as if they came straight out of Somalia. And I mean the really poor part of Somalia.

    Anyways, I’ll leave you with a picture of my personal trainer from the Hotel Fairmont Gym in Monte Carlo. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/158c4ee2738551efce79d298d6b99374440d7c9158ae1f4ec8dcb325506a1d6f.jpg

    • BNABOD

      For the record it is called Nandrolone. Add some Darb Alfa and these guys will breathe like they are on cloud nine

    • Saddest Factory
    • Insightful as usual 😉

    • Simon_Hell

      They are skinny because they run on cortisol, which is a stress hormone that is released at a time of stress, specifically low blood sugar and low glycogen (sugar in muscle mass) – both dangerous conditions. The cortisol’s job is to bring sugar levels back to normal, to sustain the body’s primary functions, and in the case of cyclist, to keep them going. Yes, all of that requires sugar, specifically glucose. The primary way the contosiol achieves this is by metabolizing the body’s muscle mass. In other words, it takes the existing lean mass and converts this protein to sugar, so the body can go on, and doesn’t die. It’s a dirty and biochemically very stressful process, and the Somali appearance is probably the least harmful of the effects.

      Three lessons:
      1. Sugar is not an enemy. It is the most important nutrient. Period.

      2. Cycling, and most endurance sports, are biologically very harmful.

      3. I’d rather cycle to death than wear that turd on my wrist. But cycling with that turd on one’s wrist is just cruel.

    • Esteban

      Being big and bulky (because of gym, let alone substances) is NOT the way your body transforms when doing real exercise (swimming, cycling, running, climbing).

    • Larry Holmack

      Luckily, I never had to resort to taking steroid’s…my parents DNA gave me all the size I needed….too bad bad knees were also in the DNA pool.
      Nice looking “trainer”…although I prefer my women a little taller and uhhhh…chestier!!

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      I like all sorts of shapes and styles of watch, and women. But at the risk of attracting general opprobrium, that woman needs to go on a cake diet.

    • Bozzor

      The sad thing is…I think I have bigger boobies than she does…

      • IG

        Do you wear bras?

        • Bozzor

          No, prefer to go free range: but when I hit 50 I think I will have my nips dragging on the floor…

  • Phil leavell

    Double click inbox 6 wrist turd
    This is not a watch it’s a highly specialized piece of electronics

    • Mikita

      I stopped at the “piece of” 🙂

      • Phil leavell

        At least you stopped. Unlike cyclists who do not at stop signs red lights. Karma will put a fast end to the people using this watch .

  • commentator bob

    The real failure with this watch is the daily charging. When there is an effective kinetic or solar solution that is going create a significant shift in demand. Tissot already has the T-Touch Solar, but it is a bit light on the smart sid.

    • I agree – it’s definitely the device’s biggest hangup. Everything else can really be managed, or is at least, a more subjective matter of preference.

  • BNABOD

    Ok let’s get this off my chest:
    A/ I truly hate cycling
    B/ I truly think this watch will be / is a hit just because most people could care less about mechanical watches but it sure as heck won’t end up on my wrist. So commercially speaking it makes sense, but horologically speaking I truly despise it so instead yesterday I bought a “vintage” sea dweller.

  • Hmmm…can’t read it in daylight, have to charge it (at least) daily, still have to have a phone in my pocket…pass.

    • Don’t ‘have’ to keep your phone in your pocket (at least not for Strava) to run the GPS or any of the other various workout features, but if you want to take calls or check in on Instagram, yep, phone’s gotta come with.

      • Okay…I can’t read it in the daylight, I have to charge it at least every day. Still pass. Until smartwatches solve the battery issue I’m not interested.

        • Sevenmack

          That’s a lot of nonsense. For one thing, among casual watch buyers, charging a smartwatch is no big deal. After all, they charge phones at least twice a day, and in most cases, a smartwatch has to be charged once every three-to-five days. Not a big deal.

          Secondly: As watch collectors, we already “charge” our traditional watches. It’s called winding. This is because unless you have a quartz (especially a Citizen Eco-Drive or Seiko Solar), you have to wind that mechanical every two days (40-to-50 hours) if you don’t wear it daily.

          Certainly there are differences between winding a watch and charging a smartwatch. But you can always charge your smartwatch while taking a shower or sleeping. You can’t do that with your mechanical.

          At the end of the day, the real issue lies not with charging a smartwatch, but what smartwatches represent: Modern technology. And for many collectors, technology is anathema.

    • Mikita

      And let’s not forget that it is a huge block of metal with sharp edges. 45mm x 58mm is enormous for a normal wrist, almost 6 cm in length. I think no real sportsmen (except for chess) would wear these – if you fall with this block on the wrist, you’ll get injured.

  • Simonh

    Another ‘smart’ watch and another TAG, Ho Hum cue the negative comments…

  • Shinytoys

    In competition, I need a watch that can sync into the computers of many of our racing units. I think what Heuer is doing is outstanding in furthering the smart watch and the hybrid units as well. It’s also something that I would wear without being involved in competition at the track just to stay in touch with the pits, ground crew, and also the occasional phone call. It’s damn loud out there and a vibration feature would be terrific. Thanks, Zach!

    • Totally agree – there’s plenty of room for this watch to grow into a meaningful support role in sport – and not just with cycling. Thanks for reading ~

  • Saddest Factory
  • WINKS

    A watch made for recycling rather than cycling.

  • Mikita

    To ABTW team, how could you miss this:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4667818/Martina-Navratilova-flogging-watches-8-000-each.html

    Didn’t see anything sillier than >$10k for a no name brands’ watch with the off the shelf eta and with the tiny piece of the string from the old tennis racket..

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f482ce672f87e812efc168ccaf341a82a7550f417f6f0a755d92e0e6fa2bb7d4.jpg

    • Saddest Factory

      Martina Navratilova watch? Is it a diver?

      • Saddest Factory

        Wimbledon’t go there?

  • Saddest Factory

    Schwinner Schwinner, quinoa dinner.

    It’s just a joke, cyclists. Don’t get Huffy.
    What’s next? We have to give you your own Specialized lanes?

    • Berndt Norten

      No. Let them trek on a road to nowhere.

      • Saddest Factory

        I’ll take that ride.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Can i see a proper watch please ? . Thanks

  • Esteban

    Amateur cyclist here: do you know what is an important part of cycling? Falls.
    Do you know which items you’d most likely don’t want damaged when you fall? Your expensive watches and your phone.
    Do you know what you should use instead while cycling? A G-Shock.

    This is utter nonsense.

    • David Bidwell

      Most important thing I don’t want damaged is my bike!! And if you are spending $3,000 to $5,000, or more, on a bike, why not have a nice watch.

      • Seriously, this. Totally agree. I’ve never understood the above rationale, because where do you draw the line at things you don’t want to risk crashing with? A $3,000 set of wheels? A $1500 crankset? Or the $6,000 frame itself? If you’re worrying about damaging something in the event of a crash, bikes – and to a greater extent, watches, probably aren’t for you.

      • Esteban

        “Nice watch” being the point here 😉

      • Esteban

        Yes, we don’t want to damage our bikes, but they’re mountain bikes! They’re made to be muddy and scratched! There’s nothing sadder than a pristine and polished used mtb.

  • Mark1884

    Well, it’s a Tag…..enough said.
    NEXT………>

  • Larry Holmack

    Well…I don’t cycle…too damn old and big….if I can walk to the corner and back I am having a great day….but damned if that isn’t a cool looking watch! The blue version you were wearing Zach is very nice looking!!
    Thanks for the nice article…and some pretty great pictures by BMC Racing.

    • Good stuff – thanks for reading Larry!

  • SuperStrapper

    Fun article, I enjoyed that. I tried this on last week at a local AD and it wears nicely, feels a like a quality product on the wrist. The dealer was very eager to discuss it as well, I get the sense that despite the cost these are seen as good selling opportunities because there are so many features and capabilities to discuss.

    Would never buy one. A customer game me a Samsung gear frontier as a gift and I don’t know what to do with it as I’ll likely never wear it and don’t even want to open the box. But it is worth noting that the frontier is supposed to get a half week on a full charge just used as a watch and 2 days if you’re using other functions, and it is an always-on display. I don’t know how these 2 are supposed to be compared but comparing costs I don’t see where the gap is to justify it.

  • Rob D

    Still not convinced about the watch, but a lovely choice of bike with the Baum

    • Good eye! Rides like a dream, well worth the wait.

  • Dexter Nesbit

    Technology in watches are becoming more popular to the geek crowd like myself and they’re bringing more attention to the watch world/culture for those who never really got into them. I think with each offering they get a little better, I personally like the size of this one since I’m a bigger guy.

    • Agree – and we have to remember that the folks who take time out of their day to comment on a watch blog are in the extreme minority when it comes to targeting for these types of products, which is probably why it’s equally easy to forget, that this (and other smartwatches) are not meant to be all things to all people. But as a ‘gateway drug’ into the world of watches I think they make a lot of sense.

  • Ulysses31

    While i’m not personally a customer for smartwatches, this being a piece of consumer electronics, it will evolve and develop very fast and reach a level of refinement (and price) where everyone might want one. Tag being a Swiss company though, i’m not sure if they are fully aware of how rapidly their Asian competitors are capable of iterating.

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