The many analysts who claim no one wants to buy a smartwatch apparently forgot all the people who bought the high-end Connected watches from TAG Heuer. The $1,500 Android Wear-powered devices have turned out to be a big hit, according to TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver.
In an interview with Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Biver, who is also head of watchmaking at LVMH, claimed that the company had only expected to sell 20,000 units of the TAG Heuer Connected watches. In the 14 months since they launched in November 2015, the unit sales of the Connected watches have reached 56,000, or nearly three times what the company predicted.
Naturally, this means we can expect new TAG Heuer Connected models to be released, and Biver indicated in the interview that would happen sometime in May. The new versions would still have Intel chips inside, but he said that TAG Heuer will launch smaller watches for women along with larger models. He also gave some vague hints about what new features and improvements would be added, including GPS, a “payment system” (NFC, maybe?), better displays and longer battery life. He is now predicting that the company could sell 150,000 units of these new smartwatches, and based on the history of the earlier Connected models, we think that is very much an attainable goal.
One more interesting thing mentioned by Biver is that TAG Heuer actually has an office inside Intel’s campus in Santa Clara, California. The idea is that TAG Heuer can be more connected (no pun intended) to the heart of Silicon Valley and its technology industries. It sounds very much like the watchmaker is serious about its smartwatch plans, which is in sharp contrast to other companies that have curtailed or even cancelled their wearable device lineups.