Last year when TAG Heuer launched the Android Wear based, Intel-inside Connected Watch, pundits questioned the wisdom of a Swiss watch company pushing a smartwatch. They were proven roundly wrong when the watch became the best-selling timepiece of the brand last year, and even more so as the brand and its parent company (LVMH) presented grown figures well into the double digits at a time when luxury brands were struggling to maintain their standing from the previous year.
The formula is one that clearly works for Jean-Claude Biver and even as he spoke of the watch then, he was already speculating on the possibility of establishing a manufacturing line in Switzerland for the circuit board components, so that it could hold the Swiss-Made statement. Well, one week ahead of the BaselWorld fair, he’s proved that it’s possible.
The Connected Watch Modular as it’s known, goes even further in terms of customising what a watch can transform into. It’s also a fascinating one. You can swop out the watch module itself, to go from smartwatch in the workday, to uber-luxe in the night for a gala. The watch is compatible with everything from the Calibre 5 (basic three-hander) to the Heuer 02T Tourbillon (COSC-certified, under $25,000). Just the option of having a watch that can handle both is already getting us excited.
But there’s more modular options. The straps, buckles, lugs. The body comes in two options: classic titanium or black treated. Straps are rubber, leather, titanium bracelet or ceramic. Those are just the standard. A rose gold case is available as well, and one with a diamond-set bezel. Everything is interchangeable without the need for a tool, and a total of over 500 combination possibilities exist.
As for the tech behind the smartwatch, expect a sharper transflective screen, sapphire glass cover, Intel Atom process, 4Gb of memory, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, 50-metre water resistance and a full day’s worth of battery even with medium-heavy use (remains to be seen). It ships with Android Wear 2.0 and works with both iPhones and Android. (Incidentally, Mr Biver also mentioned that Android Wear 2.0 will be delivered to TAG Heuer Connected watches by the end of the month.)
The watch is available now in Singapore’s flagship at Wisma Atria and the Connected Modular smartwatch module starts from S$2,400 (rose gold option is naturally much more expensive) and the mechanical module with a Calibre 5 is priced at S$2,400. As for the COSC-certified 02T, well, TAG Heuer will be auctioning the 1000th tourbillon they’ve produced with the Connected Modular smartwatch on eBay starting from CHF17,900 starting from today till the 29th. Proceeds go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
While it’s a pinch smaller at 45mm (the previous was 46mm) the thickness of the watch remains pretty big. It definitely has bulk, but try it on for yourself and see if it suits you. We’ve already ordered ours.