TAG Heuer Smartwatch – The effort to blend traditional Swiss watchmaking with Silicon Valley technology continues with one of the biggest heavy hitters out of Switzerland.
Luxury timepiece company TAG Heuer, which has been making watches for 155 years, announced a smartwatch that runs on Google’s Android Wear software and powered by an Intel chip on Thursday at Basel-world, the international watch exhibition in Switzerland.
The companies are calling it the first is luxury Swiss Android smartwatch. While pricing and availability were not announced, the arrival of the TAG Heuer smartwatch is expected before the end of the year.
The move is a part of a larger effort by traditional watchmakers like Swatch and Fossil, which builds watches for brands like Michael Kors and Armani, trying to capitalize on the trend.
Watchmakers who may have been concerned about the smartphone phasing out the watch are planning to cash in with fashion pieces that are more visually appealing than what we’ve seen from tech companies. The biggest criticism, along with mediocre software like Android Wear, is that some watches like the Moto 360 and even the Apple Watch look more like mini-computers on the wrist than jewellery.
TAG is working on a digital replica of the company’s original Heuer black Carrera watch, according to Reuters.
The Apple Watch won’t be available for purchase until April 24, but TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said that interest around the product will increase demand for watches across the industry — and it’s looking forward to riding that wave.
“Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch,” Biver said.
Earlier this year, Biver told Bloomberg that TAG Heuer would be looking for tech partners outside of Switzerland.
“We can’t produce the engine, the chips, the applications, the hardware — nobody can produce it in Switzerland,” Biver said. “The hardware and the software will come from Silicon Valley. But the watch case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown, that part of the watch will, of course, be Swiss.”
He added that the watch will include fitness tracking features like GPS and heart rate monitoring.
Intel has become increasingly involved in the smartwatch space, too. It previously announced partners with companies like Fossil and even announced a smart bracelet of its own, MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory).