The TAG Heuer Connected: A Luxury Smartwatch
TAG Heuer was the first Swiss luxury watch manufacturer to create a smartwatch: the Connected. It combines the Carrera's looks with smart technology like apps, wifi, and Bluetooth. Its modular construction means you can also use a mechanical caliber.
The Carrera with Smart Technology
In a November 2015 interview with WatchTime, then-TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver explained: "If you know about the brand, you know that its motto is 'Swiss Avant-Garde Since 1860.' A connected watch is avant-garde, no? If we are truly avant-garde, we need to offer a connected watch." The Connected lives up to that philosophy. It combines the technology of a smartwatch with the look and feel of a luxury watch, specifically that of the famous TAG Heuer Carrera.
The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer teamed up with two of the tech industry's biggest names to develop the technology: the microchip specialists Intel and internet behemoth Google. While Intel provides the Connected's heart in the form of the Atom chip, Google is responsible for its Wear OS operating system. TAG Heuer's own designers are behind the case, bands, and virtual dials. The use of virtual dials means you can change your watch's face to any of a number of the Carrera's historical designs with a simple swipe of the finger.
The Connected Modular took it a step further in 2017. Its modular construction allows the wearer to change out the watch module with very little effort. In fact, TAG Heuer offers mechanical modules with the Carrera Calibre 5 or chronograph Calibre 16 in addition to the smartwatch module. You can even get a version with the in-house caliber Heuer 02 Tourbillon. Furthermore, the lugs, bands, and clasps can all be easily exchanged to fit your current mood or style.
How much does the Connected cost?
|Model/Reference number||Price (approx.)||Size/Module|
|SBF8A8001||17,500 USD||45 mm/Heuer 02T|
|SBF8A8011||5,800 USD||45 mm/Smart, diamond bezel|
|ACBF2A80||2,600 USD||45 mm/Calibre 16|
|AWBF2180||1,700 USD||41 mm/Calibre 5|
|SAR8A80||1,500 USD||46 mm/Smart|
|SBF818000||1,100 USD||41 mm/Smart|
The First Generation with a 46-mm Case
The first generation of TAG Heuer Connected watches bears the reference number SAR8A80. Despite being a stately 46 mm in diameter, this watch weighs only 52 grams thanks to its titanium case. It's worn on a rubber, stainless steel, or leather band. The large TFT touch display is made of scratch-resistant sapphire glass and has a resolution of 360x360 pixels. The same ceramic bezel with a minute scale found on many Carrera models surrounds the dial. Instead of turning, the stationary crown serves as a home button. Be sure to keep this timepiece away from water; it's only water resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). This means you can wash your hands with this watch on but should take it off before showering.
As a smartwatch, the Connected can do much more than just show the time. You can download apps for it in the Google Play store. The apps range from activity trackers and weather apps to those for following your favorite sports teams. TAG Heuer has also designed numerous dials for you to download. Each watch has 4 GB of storage and the ability to connect via Bluetooth or wifi.
Plan to spend around 1,100 USD on a mint-condition first-generation Connected on a black rubber strap. Models with a colorful strap usually cost around 110 to 230 USD more. Prices for pre-owned pieces start at as little as 1,000 USD. You'll have to dig a bit deeper in your pockets for the versions on a stainless steel bracelet or leather strap. New examples sell for an average of 1,700 USD, while used watches change hands for about 1,200 USD.
Second Generation: A Modular Construction, GPS Capabilities
In 2017, TAG Heuer released this collection's second generation in the form of the Connected Modular. At first glance, this newer timepiece bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor. However, it's available in two sizes: 41 or 45 mm. That being said, the Connected Modular's greatest asset is its modular construction. These watches are made up of several different components that you can change out at will. You can choose from titanium, ceramic, or rose gold lugs; various rubber, ceramic, or stainless steel bands; and clasps in different materials.
At the center of every timepiece is the smartwatch module, which still comes in titanium and with durable sapphire glass. Inside, you'll find the familiar Intel Atom processor. The 45-mm edition has 512 MB of processing power and 4 GB of internal memory, while the 41-mm Connected has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. New features include the display. TAG Heuer now uses an AMOLED display with a resolution of 400x400 pixels. These displays are especially bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. What's more, the engineers place both an NFC and a GPS chip in each watch. This means the Connected Modular now supports services like Google Pay and Google maps.
Prices for this versatile smartwatch are as varied as the different potential component combinations. They range from around 1,100 USD for the 41-mm version on a rubber strap all the way to 5,800 USD for models with a diamond-studded bezel. The Connected Modular 45 Full Diamond is especially opulent. Its bezel, lugs, and white gold bracelet are covered in a total of 589 diamonds. At around 203,000 USD, it's easily the most expensive smartwatch to date.
Mechanical Modules with a Chronograph and Tourbillon
TAG Heuer takes advantage of the modular construction in another special way: In addition to a smartwatch module, these Swiss watchmakers also offer modules with automatic mechanical calibers. This allows you to transform your Connected Modular into a three-hand Carrera with a date display using the Calibre 5 module. Perhaps you'd prefer the Calibre 16, which turns your watch into a genuine chronograph based on the Valjoux 7750. The module with the caliber Heuer 02T is wonderfully refined. This in-house chronograph movement features a tourbillon.
The modular system has yet another benefit: You can save a lot of money compared to the cost of a proper Carrera. The Connected Modular 41 Automatic Calibre 5 module sells for about 1,700 USD, a solid 340 USD less than the Carrera Calibre 5. You can purchase the module for the Connected Modular 45 Automatic Calibre 16 for about 2,600 USD. This is roughly 1,100 USD less than the comparable Carrera Calibre 16. Even the so-called Connected Modular "luxury kit" with the in-house Heuer 02T movement is a steal. The kit contains the smart and automatic modules as well as a leather and a rubber strap. It costs around 17,500 USD – the same amount you'd spend on a Carrera Heuer 02T on its own without a smartwatch.