I'm not much of a smartwatch guy, but I like my LG R Android Wear watch and its bright OLED screen. An acquaintance recently expressed admiration for it, and to my surprise, came back the next day with a $1,500 Tag Heuer Connected. ("Must be nice to have money," I thought.) He wasn't alone, though: In an interview with German site NZZ, Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said that over 56,000 people bought one, tripling expected sales. As a result, the Swiss company will release new smartwatch models in May and expects to sell 150,000 units.
As you'd expect for the priciest available Android Wear watch (at the time), we found that the Tag Heuer Connected was nice-looking, lightweight (thanks to a titanium housing) and very-well built. My first impression when I saw it, though, was the rather dim screen, which settles for a transflective LCD instead of LG's much punchier (and more energy efficient) OLED.
However, Biver said the new watches would have "more powerful displays," without specifying what type. They'll also come with a payment function, he said, presumably via Android Pay, a feature that's set to arrive with Android Wear 2.0. Other improvements include a better GPS that's accurate to a yard, a stronger wireless receiver and, thankfully, better battery life.
Since the end of 2015, our sales have grown again, most recently by around 15 percent. The smartwatch and the publicity that it brought us have played a role [in that].
The company is addressing another complaint we had, namely, its lack of unisex appeal -- the rather bulky Tag Heuer Connected seems mainly aimed at men. "The new series will feature a smaller watch for women and the Asian market, along with a bigger one than before," Biver said. "We will also offer different colors and materials."
Interestingly, Biver sees the device as not just a minor sales success, but a way to drive interest for all of its watches, following a 10 percent sales drop in 2014. "Since the end of 2015, our sales have grown again, most recently by around 15 percent. The smartwatch and the publicity that it brought us have played a role [in that]."