Tag Heuer's new smartwatch goes modular, keeps premium price
Tag Heuer's first foray into smartwatch territory came out in 2015, and it's finally announced a follow-up. The Connected Modular 45 adds some new tricks, courtesy of Android Wear 2.0 and a modular design, but will cost you even more than its predecessor.
A starting price of US$1,650 for the new smartwatch might put you off if you're comparing it with the LG Watch Sport or Huawei Watch 2, but it's not an astronomical sum in the context of the high-end timepieces that Tag Heuer usually deals in. You're partly paying for the brand name and craftsmanship associated with two centuries of Swiss watchmaking.
As for the modular aspect of the "Swiss Made" watch, it lets you swap out the Connected smartwatch module from the 45 mm case and change it for a mechanical module, a feature the first Connected watch didn't have.
There are two mechanical modules to choose from at the moment – a three-hand Calibre 5 module and a more expensive Heuer 02T Tourbillon module, both of which will cost you extra: The Caliber 5 module is an extra $1,650; the Tourbillon module is an extra $17,000. Tag Heuer says more modules, both smart and mechanical, might well be launched in the future.
It's the best of both worlds if you want both a smartwatch, complete with notifications and apps, together with the option to switch to something more traditional that you don't have to charge very night.
You can also swap out the lugs, straps and buckles to really make this watch your own, like an ultra-premium version of Moto Maker. Ceramic straps and titanium bracelets are among the extras on offer if you've got some spare cash lying around after buying the device itself.
There are close to 4,000 different combinations when all the customization options are taken into account, Tag Heuer says. You can customize your watch on the Tag Heuer website and the asking price fluctuates accordingly.
The other specs you need to know about as far as the smart module goes are the 400 x 400 pixel, 1.39 inch AMOLED display, water resistance to 50 meters, and a battery life that Tag Heuer is claiming lasts beyond 24 hours for the smartwatch module.
The watchmaking giant has worked closely with Intel for the watch's internal electronics, overcoming challenges such as improving wireless reception inside an all-metal case, and making the display more readable in sunlight.
On paper it looks like a capable device, with built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC and Android Pay support. On top of all that, it comes running Android Wear 2.0, with more customizable widgets, a wider choice of input options (including handwriting and smart replies), and better standalone capabilities.
According to Tag Heuer at today's press conference, its original Android Wear smartwatch found a healthy number of buyers despite its high price, and with all the improvements included this time around, there's no reason why its successor can't do the same.
Product page: Tag Heuer