TAG Heuer’s Revolution: It’s a Smartwatch. It’s a Mechanical Watch, Too.

TAG Heuer’s Revolution: It’s a Smartwatch. It’s a Mechanical Watch, Too.

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The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 watch is the company’s new entry in the smartwatch race.

A watch introduced last week has reignited the debate about Switzerland’s role in the future of smartwatches. TAG Heuer’s Connected Modular 45 will allow owners to switch between connected and mechanical modules, a first for the Swiss watch industry.

As well as the connected module, which runs Android 2.0, consumers will be able to buy a time-and-date mechanical module and a module powered by TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer-02T tourbillon chronograph caliber.

“It’s a revolution,” said Jean-Claude Biver, chief executive of TAG Heuer and president of the watch division at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. “It will change the face of watchmaking.”

Mr. Biver said the Connected Modular 45 will give TAG Heuer a market advantage: “Apple, Samsung, LG — they cannot follow us because they don’t have the mechanical movements. That’s our way to escape the competition.”

There are 56 versions of the watch available, with various case materials and settings, including a diamond-set option. Further personalization comes through choices of straps, lugs and buckles. “The customer can make their watch individual,” Mr. Biver said. “And they take no risk. The watch never becomes obsolete.”

TAG Heuer returned to the partnerships with Google and Intel that it forged during the development of its first Connected watch. “There is high demand for a luxury watch that offers smart capabilities,” said Joshua M. Walden, senior vice president for the new technology group at Intel. “This watch has the look, feel and quality consumers have come to expect from TAG Heuer, while adapting to their modern, connected lifestyles.”

Mr. Biver said TAG Heuer plans to extend the modular concept. “What we have invented is not just for the Connected watch,” he said. “The modular construction can be for a normal watch, too. You buy a three-hand watch, and one day you add the tourbillon module. This is the revolution.”

As with the original Connected watch, introduced in November 2015, the Modular 45 went on sale immediately, as TAG Heuer looks to align its business with the see-now, buy-now concept that has been reshaping the fashion industry.

Mr. Biver has said that the original TAG Heuer Connected sold 56,000 units to the end of 2016, triple the number forecast, and expects demand for the next-generation product to push sales to 150,000 units this year.

The Connected Modular 45 carries the Swiss Made stamp, is water-resistant to almost 150 feet, has 4 gigabytes of internal storage, offers 29 hours of active power and is set to offer iOS support for the first time.

The base model, with only the Connected module, is priced at $1,650, rising to $18,850 for a set that includes the top of the range Heuer-02T module.

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