By Michelle Graff
Like the first TAG Heuer smartphone before it, the Connected Modular 45 connects with the wearer’s smartphone to display alerts, like incoming calls and upcoming appointments, and control functions on the phone, like playing music.
Brunnen, Switzerland & San Francisco--TAG Heuer held complementary press conferences Tuesday to introduce the Connected Modular 45, its second smartwatch.

Those press conferences took place some 5,800 miles apart, and their respective locations were a definite sign of the times: Switzerland, the center of old-school watchmaking, and Silicon Valley, the center of everything that’s the exact opposite of old school.

Like its first smartwatch, which came out in November 2015, TAG Heuer’s Connected Modular 45 is a Carrera model watch that was engineered in collaboration with Intel. (TAG Heuer, in fact, now has an office on the Intel campus in Silicon Valley.)

It’s powered by an Intel processor and operates on Android Wear 2.0; Android Wear is the version of Google’s Android operating system developed for smartwatches and other wearables.

While developed in conjunction with companies based in Silicon Valley, the watch, including the motherboard that powers its “smart” functions, was produced in Switzerland, with the final assembly step and testing taking place at TAG Heuer headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

The new Connected is slightly smaller than the first version--45 mm vs. 46 mm--and is available in satin or polished grade 5 titanium, 18-karat plated rose gold or black ceramic, with or without diamonds.

20170316 Connected modularTAG Heuer describes its new smartwatch as a “truly modular watch.” Wearers can change out the straps, lugs and buckle and also remove the smartwatch module and replace it with a mechanical watch. It also has 30 different digital watch “dials” that wearers can change by swiping.
In addition to connecting to the wearer’s smartphone, the watch has built-in GPS, a small microphone that allows the users to communicate with it using Google Assistant (the Siri of Androids), is water resistant to 50 meters and has a NFC chip, which means it can be used to make purchases at enabled points of sale using the Android Pay app.

TAG Heuer said it has 11 standard models of the Connected Modular 45 it will offer in stores, and will be able to create 45 others on request.

The brand also is selling a 3-hands Calibre 5 or Tourbillon Heuer 02-T mechanical movement module for sale that can be attached to the various bands available with the second generation smartwatch. “In this way,” TAG Heuer said in a news release announcing its new watch, “you can very easily change … your watch … from a connected watch to a mechanical watch and back again.”

TAG Heuer began selling the new smartwatch Tuesday at its boutiques, select retailers and online.

It starts at $1,690 retail and goes to $17,000 for a deluxe box set that include the titanium version of the new Connected with a brown leather strap and a rubber strap plus the Heuer-02T tourbillon mechanical module.

One of TAG Heuer’s press conferences introducing the Connected Modular 45 took place in Brunnen, Switzerland. Jean-Claude Biver, the president of LVMH’s watch division who also has been running TAG Heuer since late 2014, along with Intel’s Josh Walden and Google’s David Singleton, were among those in attendance.

Of the new smartwatch’s launch, Biver said, “After the huge success of the first TAG Heuer Connected watch, today I am proud to present the Connected Modular 45 … This innovative, unique and distinctive watch is at the forefront of the latest technologies available in Silicon Valley and, at the same time, a genuine Swiss watch, bearing the Swiss-made label.”

The second event took place in San Francisco and included Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, TAG Heuer General Manager Guy Semon and Tom Foldesi, the former Intel executive TAG tapped to lead its smartwatch program when it opened its Silicon Valley office in November 2016.

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