Tag Heuer sees early success for sold out $1,500 smartwatch, more coming in late 2016

In November, TAG Heuer announced its first smartwatch, the $1,500 Carrera Connected, in conjunction with Google and Intel. Introduced by the outspoken Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer, the watch has been a year in the making. Biver spoke about the watch being a marriage of Watch Valley in Switzerland, and Silicon Valley in America. Intel’s Brian Krzanich said the watch is, “a new chapter in wearable devices.” The vision was to build a luxury connected watch that doesn’t look like a smartwatch, but will propel the Swiss watch industry into the future, at least according to Biver. Made with the greatest care, and from grade 2 titanium, he says it’s the first high quality, luxury smartwatch. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Updated on 12-07-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of the UK release, comments on a production increase, different models, and news that sales will be through retail stores until next year.

High demand sees production increase

TAG Heuer put the Carrera Connected on sale in 20 TAG Heuer dealerships in the U.S. shortly after its announcement. It’s set for release in the UK on December 9, however according to the select retailers carrying the watch, the first run has already been sold out. Stock isn’t expected to be replenished until late December or into January 2016.

This coincides with comments made by TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver, who told Bloomberg the company is increasing production of the watch from 1,200 per week to 2,000. He also said that priority will be given to retail stores for selling the Carrera Connected, and online sales may not begin until May or June next year.

Early success sees more models approved

In an interview with Bloomberg, Biver also talked about the future of TAG Heuer’s connected watch range. He called the Carrera Connected’s release a success, and said the company will, “develop a collection made out of different varieties, executions, and materials at the end of next year or beginning of 2017.” He added that models made from gold, and with diamonds set in the body, would be produced.

Classic TAG Heuer looks, with Android Wear technology

The Carrera Connected certainly looks like a classic TAG Heuer smartwatch, especially when the custom watch face is illuminated. A dial of numbers encircles the round screen, lending it a masculine feel. Every aspect of the watch is made to match the classic Swiss watch aesthetic, which is in direct contrast with the very modern-looking Apple Watch and the simpler appearance of the Huawei Watch. It bears some resemblance to the LG G Watch R, but TAG Heuer’s watch boasts much finer materials than plastic.

There are seven color options from which to choose, and the face is a massive 46mm across, meaning it’s going to be huge on a slim wrist. The body’s thick at 12.8mm, which is nearly 3mm thicker than the Apple Watch. Oddly enough, it has a butterfly clasp like the one on the Asus ZenWatch 2, as opposed to a standard buckle or more traditional watch band closure.

We’re still waiting for all the official details, but we do know the Carrera Connected has an Intel processor, 4GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. It runs Android Wear, so will work with both Android and iOS smartphones, but doesn’t have GPS, a heart rate sensor, or a speaker. Only vibrating notification alerts on the TAG Heuer smartwatch. According to Bloomberg, the battery will last for around 30-hours before needing a recharge, which happens on a dedicated USB dock.

Interestingly, TAG Heuer is attacking the prospect of a watch becoming obsolete after a couple of years, and embracing its ethos of “eternity in a box.” After a couple of years, if you’ve no intention of upgrading the Carrera Connected to a new model, you can pop into a TAG Heuer dealer and get it swapped for a mechanical Carrera watch. That way, it’ll last forever, says Biver. You’ll need to spend another $1,500 to make it happen though.

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