TAG Heuer Debuts 3rd Generation of its Connected Watch

In 2015, TAG Heuer debuted what was considered the first-ever luxury smartwatch, the TAG Heuer Connected.

Just months after its release, in January 2016, I sat down with Guy Semon, now chief of the research institute for the watch division of LVMH, who told me the brand’s foray into smartwatches was a must: “In the next few years, [wearables] will be one of the best pillars in our industry,” he predicted. “We have to go there.”

Four years later, analog watches are still TAG Heuer’s bread and butter, and there’s been resurgence in demand for classic luxury watches. But Semon was right; high-end smartwatches from brands including Apple and Louis Vuitton are now an important pillar of the watch industry. And the Connected has, as Semon promised then, gotten “better and better” over time.

Today the company officially debuted the third generation of its signature smartwatch, and while its look and build was inspired by the atelier’s classic chronograph, its insides are decidedly sci-fi.

The third Connected Watch, which runs on Wear OS by Google, is an all-around, Apple Watch–style smartwatch, but was built specifically to track and aid sports performance. It’s poised to compete with high-end offerings from sports smartwatch titan Garmin.

The new timepiece possesses advanced sensors including GPS and heart-rate monitoring—all of which inform a new TAG Heuer Sports app, which provides detailed tracking for golf, running, cycling, walking, fitness, and other sessions. The on-wrist experience is complemented by a newly developed TAG Heuer mobile companion app that the company says allows for more personalization and deeper fitness insights compared to its predecessors. Right out of the box, the watch gives users access to Google Assistant and Google Translate (both use the microphone located on the left side of the case), e-mail and message alerts, Google Pay, music controls, an agenda, weather, and maps.

It looks good, too. The 44 mm stainless steel or titanium case recalls TAG Heuer chronographs. The dial features a flush-set OLED touch screen topped by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. And the watch is fitted with a magnetic battery charger and a “bespoke travel pouch.” The timepiece’s interchangeable bracelet system lets you switch out bracelets with a single clip motion, and the brand offers an array of straps for the Connected.

Wearers can choose between five always-on mechanical- or digital-inspired TAG Heuer watch faces, or go fully custom. Dials include a three-hand version of the Heuer 02 manufacture movement skeletonized dial, a digitalized Carrera Heuer 01, a liquid crystal-like display, or an algorithm-based neural network animation named Orbital.

TAG Heuer’s chief strategy and digital officer, Frédéric Arnault, who has led the watch’s development, said in a company statement, “The TAG Heuer Connected watch was designed and engineered with the same passion and attention to detail as our mechanical watches. The Connected watch is not only a beautiful timepiece, it’s a truly immersive experience, as it now sits within a complete TAG Heuer digital ecosystem geared towards performance and sports.”

J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point, Fla., is the only independent retailer launching the new Connected Watch. Company vice president Sean Dunn tells JCK, “We anticipate the 3rd generation of Tag Heuer Connected, with its true smartwatch capabilities and attractive price point, will be met with even more fervor than the earlier versions of the watch that were incredibly successful for us online and in store.” The smartwatch will debut on the retailer’s website at midnight tonight.

Photo: TAG Heuer’s third-generation Connected Watch (courtesy of Tag Heuer)

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JCK Magazine Editor