By a lot of accounts TAG Heuer didn’t exactly knock it out of the park with their Carrera Connected smartwatch. While a decent device with a well made casing, the Connected was essentially a $250 Android Wear watch in a very fancy package. The $1500 device is less well equipped than most smartwatches, lacking a heart rate monitor and using a surprisingly low resolution screen, especially for its size. One review compared the 240 ppi display to “the pixelated experience of 1980s Tetris.” For all intents and purposes, the Connected is a Franken-watch; it is a not-fully-gelled mashup between the high-end Swiss made TAG Heuer, mass produced Chinese made electronics, and the one-size-fits-all Android Wear OS. To be truly on brand, TAG Heuer should have created their own smartwatch instead of simply repackaging existing technology and software. Thus, to us the Connected reads as more of an experiment than a true smartwatch entry. Unsurprisingly, other Swiss timepiece makers, such as Patek Philippe’s Chairman Thierry Stern, have been quick to criticize TAG Heuer for going after the quick buck and eroding the “Swiss Made” reputation. Despite all of this, TAG Heuer’ Jean-Claude Biver contends that the Connected is selling so well that the company cannot keep up with demand. Not being die hard watch people, maybe there is a special sauce that we don’t understand about TAG Heuer or maybe the feel of the Swiss made watch case makes that much of difference or perhaps buyers are blindly purchasing due to the name or simply not comparison shopping.
Whatever the case, TAG Heuer and parent company LVMH are publicly congratulating themselves on the success of the Carrera Connected. TAG Heuer is ramping up production and plans to introduce an entire collection of Connected smartwatches in 2017. Based on the success of the watch, LVMH is now ready to bring another brand into the fold. This time it will be the higher end Hublot brand. No word on what the Hublot smartwatch will look like, or even if it will run Android Wear. It will be interesting to see if the brand decides to follow in TAG Heuer’s footsteps, placing Android Wear innards into their watch case, or if they decide to create a more unique experience, similar to Olio. According to Bloomberg, it could be 2017 or even 2018 before something comes to market.