Smartwatches will soon be “a major pillar in the industry”
With its high-functioning, sporty Connected smart watch, which debuted in November 2015, TAG Heuer is dipping its toe into the wearables market—albeit, somewhat haltingly.
“TAG Heuer is an innovative company, and because you are innovative you have to follow the trends of technology,” said Guy Semon, general director of TAG Heuer, at a bustling party last night in Las Vegas celebrating the debut of new digital dials (from ambassadors Tom Brady, Chris Hemsworth, and others) for the smartwatch at CES 2016.
The Connected watch in its many colors on display at the party.
“It’s the beginning of history, and we don’t know where it’s going,” Semon said, then laughed slightly. “But we had to buy a first-class ticket!”
The first-generation Connected watch was designed and manufactured in partnership with Intel and Google/Android (“We’re a watch company,” notes Semon, “so we’re not about to start producing hardware, and we’re not about to start producing software. We had to merge with the right partners.”)
“Quality is very important,” Semon said. But the company knew the watch’s $1,500 price tag might work against it. After all, hot new technology gets old alarmingly fast. Which is why the brand created a warranty that lets Connected buyers trade in the smartwatch after two years, pay $1,500 more, and walk away with a high-end analog TAG Heuer model (there will be a watch created specifically for the trade-in, said Ben Fox, manager of the Las Vegas TAG Heuer store).
The product is, ultimately, a probe for the brand—sent out into the market to see if male luxury watch buyers would bite on a high-priced fitness tracker and notifier. And they have, said Semon. “We can now say that the market exists—and this we were unsure of before.”
When asked if a smartwatch for women is in the works, he shook his head solemnly. “No, and this is a big issue for us.”
Instead, the company plans to invest in making the Connected watch “better and better,” he said. Because, “in the next few years, [wearables] will be one of the best pillars in our industry. We have to go there.”
TAG Heuer’s packed party at B&B Ristorante
(Photos by Emili Vesilind for JCK)