TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

Today, TAG Heuer debuts the follow-up smartwatch to their successful TAG Heuer Carrera Connected from 2015. It isn't just a new product, but a sign of a long-term investment in the category of smartwatches. The 2017 TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 smartwatch is an upgrade across the board both as a digital connected wearable device and as a modern luxury product. Modern utility as well as future "eternity" are key components of this new high-end timepiece's value proposition. TAG Heuer wants this "Swiss Made" smartwatch to be useful as a piece of modern technology today, while also desirable as a timeless item to wear tomorrow. Let's see how they went about engineering that for what is among the neatest-looking smartwatches I've worn to date.

Last month, I spoke with TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver about the upcoming Connected Modular 45 watch. He explained some of his overall philosophy toward the next smartwatch from what is traditionally a mechanical watch maker, as well as what he and the company learned after putting the first Carrera Connected smartwatch on the market. For Jean-Claude Biver, it seemed that the two most important elements in the Connected Modular were both a celebration of its status as a "true" Swiss Made product, as well as the ability of the product to last beyond the normal ownership expectation period of most consumer electronics purchased today. He knows that smartwatches last only a few years in terms of their utility, but wants to make sure that consumers remember that "mechanical watches will work 1000 years from now as long as there is someone who knows how to operate a screw driver." Dissect that statement as you like, but it is more than well-known that watch consumers feel comfortable buying mechanical watches at high prices precisely because they do not fear "further obsolescence."

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

A lot of people speculated about exactly what the "Modular" part of the upcoming product's name would mean. Even though the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 has now debuted, there are still a lot of questions about the future of the product and what TAG Heuer will release for it. The promise of being able to swap out certain components for cosmetic or technical upgrades is a key part of the product's appeal, and one can only guess what new modules TAG Heuer will release in the future. It is also important to explain that even though TAG Heuer now has a facility in Switzerland to assemble its smartwatches, it continues to have close ties to Intel. TAG Heuer even employed a former Intel worker to run its connected watch division, which is located in Palo Alto, California - the heart of Silicon Valley.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

This is very important because it shows TAG Heuer understands what is required to seriously develop not only a family of smartwatch products, but to also continually support it through software updates as well as maintain close connections with other technology products. TAG Heuer's own team easily remarks that the biggest difference between a mechanical watch and a smartwatch from a company perspective is that work on the former ends when it leaves the factory, while work on the latter continues almost perpetually.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

The focus on this TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 launch day is on the soon-to-be-available product and its accessories, but TAG Heuer have more than hinted that consumers could very easily expect to purchase new smartwatch modules in the future as the technology quickly improves over time. Moreover, they make it clear that even though the current TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 product is based on the theme of the Carrera, there is no reason TAG Heuer's other family of products might not serve as the base for future Connected watches. A look at the "45" part of the name (which refers to the case size) is a conspicuous sign that other sizes might soon be available such as possibly smaller smartwatches intended for smaller wrists and women.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

Explaining The Modular Experience Personalization Options

Modularity for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 comes in a few forms but is for the most part about being able to extensively personalize the aesthetic look of the case and its components, as well as the main watch case itself. This means that consumers will be able to choose a base watch which appeals to them and then later optional accessories or parts which can be easily swapped and mixed for a range of distinctive looks. It is a fun, well-conceived system, and clearly well-engineered as well.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

No tools of any kind are necessary to fully mix and match the case and strap components. The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 (once again) has a few main parts that can all be purchased separately with each. The parts include the main watch case module itself and two lug structures which attach on one end to the strap and on the other to the case. Then you have the strap/bracelet, as well as the buckles for the straps. The only modular element that cannot be swapped out is the bezel style, which is attached to the case. Users must begin by choosing one of 11 available Connected case styles or mechanical watch modules, and from there can further personalize the look of their watch.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer claims that 56 case style combinations are available to begin with, but that only 11 of them will be available in retail stores. The other 45 will be available as a special order purchasable online or in retail stores. These latter options will, for the most part, be the colorful aluminum bezel options that mark the sportier, more youthful look of the watch. I personally really like the PVD-coated matte black titanium case with the black ceramic bracelet. The black and blue bezels are in ceramic, while there are also a few steel bezel options as well.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

The cosmetic options allow the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 to be more masculine or feminine, sporty or conservative, youthful or mature, or modest versus flashy. The case is 45mm wide (the smartwatch module is water resistant to 50 meters, making it acceptable for swimming) and comes in brushed or coated titanium, black ceramic, or 18k rose gold-plated, and with or without diamond decoration. The assortment of parts can technically lead to some less than attractive combinations, but for the most part it is very fun to swap out the case modules, lugs, and straps for a look that feels personal and visually attractive. I fully assume that most TAG Heuer Connected Modular owners will want to have at least a few strap choices.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer further points to no fewer than 18 different strap and bracelet options available at debut. This includes a large assortment of colors and materials ranging from a comfortable rubber strap or a dressier calf leather strap, as well as a sporty titanium or black ceramic link bracelet. The strap buckles come in natural or black-coated titanium. While similar-looking to previous clasps, these have an extra point of articulation which makes them more comfortable, and likely allows the strap to last a bit longer.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

As stated, the modular elements of the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 are the inner case, lug structures, bezel, and strap. Mixing and matching these various elements allows for the world of options that TAG Heuer hopes will make the watches emotionally appealing for a large variety of people - which is (again) how TAG Heuer hopes to convince people why having a "beautiful" luxury smartwatch is worth the premium price. Given the emotional nature of anything wearable, after playing with the watches I think that TAG Heuer has absolutely improved on their first Connected watch. TAG Heuer knows that personalization both physically and functionally is important. In addition to the modularity of the watch case itself, the software will continue to be updated with new dials (TAG Heuer admits that they did not support the first version with enough dial options) as well as a suite of software which will allow the device to be more than just a frame for the same operating system that other smartwatches also run.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

When the original TAG Heuer Connected came out, it was loaded with a few attractive TAG Heuer-branded dials, but I never felt that TAG Heuer continued to supply enough really compelling ones for people to download post-launch. TAG Heuer agrees, though they are much more invested in offering software updates moving forward. An interesting new feature for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, in addition to a reported 30 included dials, is the availability of software known as TAG Heuer Studio. While I don't think the software will allow for true graphic design of new dials, it does promise a healthy assortment of personalization options within the many available dials to change colors and other features to personalize the look of one's TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 watch.

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Smartwatch Aims To Be Eternal Hands-On

You can use the TAG Heuer Connected App on your phone or the watch itself to operate the TAG Heuer Studio. The trick here will be in making this system easy for people to switch out faces, as well as to allow them to save dial configurations so that they don't need to re-customize them each time they want to change the look of their watch face.

Modularity for the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is thus an important strategic element of the timepiece's appeal for a range of consumer types, price points, as well as the ability for the watches to have appeal to owners in the years (as opposed to months) to come.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (164)
  • Interesting (77)
  • I love it! (31)
  • Thumbs up (27)
  • Classy (12)
  • AW

    A reasonably priced TAG Heuer?!? What sorcery is this?

  • SuperStrapper

    It’s almost a shame that the applicable buying consumer base for this device are largely blinded by Apple, and that the watch reviewing public won’t look past the name Biver, as it would appear that a category killer has emerged. I’m just not interesting in smartwatches, but if I were I’d be much more inclined to take up this one than the apple watch. Not only does it look like a watch instead of an awkward blob, but it appears to be more relevant today while addressing irrelevance tomorrow.

    • Dan Preda

      Not sure I get how they addressed the irrelevance for tomorrow. I guess the main module/watch is the most expensive part, so to remain relevant in the future means to buy what is effectively a new watch. You just save the strap price.
      It’s the same with the Apple Watch, but it is much cheaper.
      Other than that, the new watch looks good.

      • SuperStrapper

        Article states that 2 years after buying you can send it back and receive an automatic watch to replace it. So, when the watch becomes irrelevant you’ll get a real watch, thus handling relevance.

  • ndre

    Maybe it’s me, but I don’t understand the appeal of buying a smartwatch together with a “mechanical module” (essentially a different watch head?) for it. Why not having a smartwatch and an entirely different mechanical watch and not have the hassle of dismantling it every time you want to change? To save a strap?

    • Word Merchant

      If it’s any comfort, it isn’t just you.

  • Ryan

    Hideous, over complicated and way too thick. The screen quality still seems to be appalling!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Reminds me of Worzel Gumadge. He had an everyday day head and when Aunt Sally came to call for a cup of tea and a slice of cake.he would change it for his posh head.

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Suxs.
    Keeping up with the latest trends is one thing – this is juat too many things all rolled together.

    Ol Jack H. must be rollin face down out of embarrassment.

    • I wish Jack Heuer would get involved – then they might produce a good looking smartwatch. And he has been through the quartz crisis, so you would expect him to be realistic about all of it and still try to produce a watch that people actually find attractive.

  • Mark1884

    First of all, I don’t like Tag watches. Second, I don’t consider this a watch, rather a “device”
    Even with the watch module, just not a real watch and not necessary.
    If this is the future of watch design and production…… count me out!!
    Next……..>

  • Steverino

    rather own a real watch, this is guaranteed to be “remember when” watch sooner rather than later

  • Marius

    According to this article: “Modern utility as well as future “eternity” are key components of this new high-end timepiece’s value proposition.”

    Does this mean that the Tag smartwatch will be useful for its owners even when they are six feet under? Will the Tag smartwatch allow one to communicate with the ones left behind even after one is dead and gone? If that’s possible, count gramps in!

  • android wear 24h battery life , watch is not the solution .

  • Phil

    It’s funny that most of the photos show the watch face looking like a ‘real’ watch.
    Given that the display is not limited by mechanical features, surely some innovation is possible here.
    Or, does it just show that what people really want is a real watch?

  • IG

    What’s worse than the 6-9-12 layout? The 6-9-12 layout on a smartwatch display!

    • Word Merchant

      I know – they’ve even digitally mimicked the small movement in a big case effect. Very odd.

  • Bill Grist

    I like the black finger cots…seriously these are nice designs that I wish they offered in their non “smart” lineup for around the same pricing.

  • Word Merchant

    I’m interested in what happens to the first iteration of the Connected Watch – does it get the Android Wear 2.0 upgrade for instance? Will it ever get software updates?

    If it doesn’t, then it becomes a fine example of why spending money on a Smart Watch right now is simply money wasted.

    I’m also unclear what real tangible improvements this new version offers over the old – the screen doesn’t look any higher resolution, there’s no mention of improved battery life, no HR (again) etc…

    • Dan Preda

      Spending money on a smartwatch only makes sense if you need its features or you’re a techie affording to buy and try one.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    i’m still waiting for a complete effective stand-alone – the samsung 3 frontier is close. i hate cell phones. i have a tiny one and i hate carrying it. i have this thing for feeling light. right now i’m wearing an skx007 and the damn thing is too heavy. i suffer through it because it’s such a forum darling and i’m a lemming.

  • Ian john horwood

    I personally will not ever down grade to a smart device , it would be beneath my watch standards . It would like having to give chocolate up and downgraded to jelly tots.

  • otaking241

    Ugh, looks like TAG has decided to move not in the direction of future-proofing their smart watches but in the direction of wardrobe matching–selling lots of high-margin “accessories” for a watch whose technology will quickly become outdated. On the one hand I can see that some consumers would balk at spending big bucks on a watch that looks too “tech-y” and thus would limit when you can wear it. I fall into the other group who worries about spending so much on what is destined to become a retro-tech curiosity. Maybe they will have more to say to address this latter concern at some later date?

    • Regarding “wardrobe matching” – they are just taking a page from the Apple Watch’s play book.

      • otaking241

        I didn’t say it was an original idea, just a disappointing direction to take.

        • Completely agree – sad but lifestyle marketing prevails.

  • Ian john horwood

    Even the likes of the breitling smart device for pilots , doesnt do it for me either. I certainly dont like watches that are totally made of pvc on the internals, totally beneath the grounds for a proper time piece .

  • ??????

    Huawei, Samsung, LG, Apple, Motorola, TAG Heuer etc. etc. – no one can explain me why should I sacrifice my wrist space designated for something beatiful and soulful.

  • Ian john horwood

    And i dont have much to say about pvc inside and out casio , they can stick to calculators.

  • Ian john horwood

    Who said tag was high end , oh they said so themselves did they , let me just splurt the coffee out of mouth , while laughing furiously getting down on the floor rolling around in stiches

  • Ian john horwood

    The more i look at their goods in the store the more i appreciate what i already own on my own wrist for my money , and its not tag

  • Yan Fin

    Ahhh, Swiss, the gurus in Electronics. Ahhh, Tag, the guru of Swiss watchmakers. Buy this set, you get the best of both worlds.

  • Lawrence

    Looks good but the fat bezel version looks ugly. The ceramic looks nice. I was hoping they could make the watch shorter (from lugs to Lugs)

  • Chaz

    I’m so glad I’m not easily swayed by all this bullsh!t

  • cluedog12

    Right direction from TAG Heuer.

    “Eternity” need not mean forever. Having a product line that provides owners with three generations of hardware upgrades, at reasonable cost, would be a realistic expectation. That would cover about ten years, which is basically an eternity in the land of wearables.

  • Framlucasse

    Only 45mm… it’s too small. Why not 47, or 50? 😀

  • elkoyottt

    It appears the “smartwatch” cases all have the domed bezel, a bit like in Blanpain Fifty Fathoms. The flat bezels are for “mechanical” cases only. Such a pity, for i am not sure the domed, rounded bezel blends well with the overall masculine Tag’s design language. The flat looks so much more in place here. I’ll buy it anyway, though, but this is a big minus.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I think almost every watchmaker can replace the bezel easily.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    This thing is a reason to be proud of. I know, Smartwatches are not really loved here, and sometimes not even respected but considering the fact, that the Swiss weren`t even able to build a watch as good as a G-Shock but have chosen to be in a niche more narrow than a parking spot in Tokyo (only mechanical, only for the 1 percenter) this is quite impressing. I don`t think, that this is the best smarwatch in the world but Biver learns quickly. Not only compared to the very slow pace of the rest of the industry, which doesn`t even know about a new watch crisis. This is a symbol of the spirit of free enterprise, even when the Swiss haven`t invented the Smartwatch. You take what you get. Technically it`s just an Android watch and TAG Heuer added some Swissness. I would be more impressed when they could ad a little bit of tech stuff, like a crown that charges the accu when you turn it. Would make it more unique.

    • Polerouter

      More unique maybe, but having to turn the crown 1 million time to gain 1% of battery is hardly a plus…

      • Sheez Gagoo

        The old Autoquartz from ETA had a system that winded a spring and after a while the spring made turn a magnetic rotor very quickly. The rotor charged an accu. This system was very efficient. Of ourse I would prefer a system without turning the crown a million times.

        • Polerouter

          All those things (rotor, crown, solar, etc.) are efficient to rewind a mechanical or quartz watch which in both cases consumes a few microwatts. A smartwatch consumes milliwatts.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Well, in this case…I don’t know, I’m not a techie. It was just an example. I apologize for this crappy idea. But I heard Apple is planning something like that.

          • Sheez Gagoo
  • commentator bob

    This watch is really not any more modular than any other watch, it just has a different lug design. The lugs are the black parts that extend from the middle at the top and bottom. The modular parts are just end links, the strap and the deployant, which are modular on any watch.

    That said, I think this thing could sell. I see a lot of Apple watches around.

  • Too bad the bezel is not a modular/replaceable part. The ugly thing is the first part I’d swap out. It’s nice to know TAG is committed to supporting the device in the out years. But every piece of hardware bumps up against software advances and no longer receives meaningful updates after a point. Plus as new capabilities arrive in new watches (hardware stuff), there is no reasonable expectation that you will ever get that capability with this watch.

    • Word Merchant

      Agreed – that bezel is pig ugly, and the ‘Tag Heuer Connected’ text is the worse bit of it all for me. The font’s wrong, the positioning is wrong. The screen’s resolution doesn’t look too stunning either, and I can’t help thinking that if you like this sort of thing, the Samsung Gear 3 does all far better for a quarter of the price.

      • Yep, at this point in time, the Samsung Gear 3 would be my choice over this TAG.

  • Simon_Hell

    ABTW buys this bullshit? Swaping straps and buckles is ‘modularity’? You have got to be kidding me.

    This is just a further invictazation of tag heuer and stigmatization of people who wear them. Seriously it is becoming a major embarassement to wear this brand on a wrist. At this point it should get no respect, it has turned into a joke brand.

    • Ariel Adams

      ABTW buys this. The smartwatch isn’t for everyone and I know they are large in size for now. Though you have to give credit where credit is due to making something interesting and cool in a market where most are just large and not cool.

    • commentator bob

      I agree that selling this as modular is not accurate (although probably a good marketing strategy).

      Imagine is they sold this as a quick change strap system instead. It is better than the quick change strap systems that Vacheron Constantin and Tag sister brand Hublot offer.

  • Stephen Cox

    Buy a tripod Steven Spielberg. That was unbelievably annoying…

  • commentator bob

    Interestingly if you take the basic $1,650 watch and back out $115 for the rubber strap, $850 (wtf) for the titanium lugs (really end links), and $220 for the titanium deployant the smart watch module itself is only $465.

    Alternatively the automatic mechanical module is $1,650, so a complete mechanical watch with a generic three hand movement can be built for $2,835. Steep compared with Hamilton. A steal compared to IWC.

    For $3,300 you get a mechanical and a smart watch, which is the sale Tag must hope usually happens.

  • Pingback: Montblanc Summit Smartwatch Hands-On | aBlogtoWatch()

  • Ulysses31

    It looks gimmicky, like it is trying to be a jack-of-all trades. The Tag branding just can’t justify the expense over other premium smartwatches.

  • benjameshodges

    A very well written article for a terrible watch.

  • Lawrence

    I don’t love it because they had to make sacrifices in design and performance to make it Modular. Just remember that it could be better looking. Lugs to lugs is too long

  • Pingback: NEW - TAG HEUER CONNECTED MODULAR 45 [ Mini-Review ]()

  • Felipe de Oliveira

    Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

  • Russell Hippert

    So when I purposed multiple case designs with smart movement modules based on standard case/movement sizes that users could have swapped out every couple years for a fee, I was called insane. TAG adds a few grand to the price for extra baubles, and ditches forward compatibility, and it’s brilliant. Sorry, but I’ll stick with Frédérique Constant smartwatches til this insanity ends.

  • Esteban

    I’ve just read this review on an Android blog, it’s a very interesting read, coming from the theoretical intended costumers this watch is for, smartwatch Android fans:
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/05/29/tag-heuer-connected-modular-45-review-seems-like-1500-get/

    Well worth a read, to see what people that couldn’t care less about mechs have to say about this… endeavor.

  • Rick Goulian

    The first all-metal charging stand for the Tag Heuer Connected 45.
    https://www.facebook.com/tagstands/#