Swiss watchmakers, including those focused on luxury products, have rapidly scrapped their reluctance towards intelligent wearables, culminating with the $1,500 Android Wear-powered Tag Heuer Connected.
This apparently did much better than parent conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) ever expected, quickly selling out its initial 15,000 unit production batch, and prompting the manufacturing of roughly 50K copies more, forecasted to end up on users’ wrists by the end of 2016.
Up next, a “real collection” of six to eight Tag Heuer smartwatch models will reportedly be released in 2017, alongside something from Hublot and Zenith. The two brands are also LVMH-subordinate, so clearly, the luxury goods giant sees a lot of potential for growth here.
So much potential in fact that “connected watches could ultimately represent a third or even half of Tag Heuer’s sales”, as customers start to grow bored of traditional, “dumb” timepieces. Of course, LVMH will probably remain a niche player in a fast-growing industry where Apple holds the comfortable early lead, targeting a large chunk of the $117 billion sales projected to be generated in 2020.
Meanwhile, Swatch subsidiary Tissot is almost ready to make a timid first step in the crowded arena, unveiling the Smart Touch at Baselworld 2016. This builds on the heritage of the T-Touch line, and doesn’t seem to run Android Wear, looking and working as a classic watch first, and adding a few intelligent functions in the mix.
You can get various notifications and alerts from a synched smartphone, and there’s GPS support too, as well as a compass, barometer, altimeter, water protection up to 100m deep, and even a solar-rechargeable battery. But the best thing about the Tissot Smart Touch is it won’t cost a fortune when it eventually goes on sale. Just $700 or so, most likely.