Can a premium watch maker turn their hand to smartwatches and still command a premium price? We’ve spent two weeks living with the latest Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch to find out.
I’ll be brutally honest. To date, smart watches have not interested me in the slightest. I like proper watches. Watches that have been crafted over tens of decades into the mechanical works of art that they are. Having a digital version on my wrist has never been something that I’ve yearned for. Not helped by the fact that most smart watches look cheap or unwatch-like. Maybe that’s where the TAG Heuer Connected comes in. It might not have those beautifully crafted mechanical internals but it does look like a watch and it certainly doesn’t look cheap. Which is good, because it isn’t.
The version we tested features a steel case and rubber strap and is the most ‘affordable’ version at £1495. Other case materials and straps are available at an extra cost but I’d personally stick with this one and find another strap you like for more formal occasions. The rubber strap is ideal for more active days but maybe not great when paired with a three-piece suit.
In the box you’ll find the watch and strap, charging dock, USB-C cable (very pleased they used this option), mains plug, a travel case and all the usual documentation. It is very easy to set up even if you’re an iPhone user like myself. Just install the relevant app and it guides you through the process. iPhone users will need other companion apps to work with the various health features of Google’s WearOS.
That brings me onto the OS. The TAG Heuer Connected does have some unique features over and above the base WearOS but fundamentally it is the same as many far cheaper watches on the market. This does taint the experience slightly as I found the OS to be a little clunky at times. It certainly is still far behind Apple’s WatchOS for pure ease of use. The added TAG specific features do add some gloss to the day-to-day use. The various watch faces are great and are easily the closest I’ve felt to wearing a real watch. I like the fact that I can opt for a basic watch face for normal use and switch to a more digital option when specific timing is required.
Overall the OS features everything you really need in a smart watch. The exercise options are comprehensive, the phone integration is seamless and most of the time it’ll do what you need it to do. Although I did get frustrated at times when I’d catch a button and something would appear that I didn’t need and the act of swiping it away was in a direction that wasn’t natural. More than once I found myself frantically swiping in the wrong direction but maybe that’s just me!
The watch itself is typical TAG. Built solidly and with a premium finish. At just under £1500 it’s expensive for a smart watch but almost cheap for a TAG. The finish of the case feels solid and expensive. I often found myself just looking at the watch and its design, rather than using the features. It’s still far from the tactile pleasure you get from a fine mechanical watch but it is as close as I have experienced with a digital alternative. Just hold it side-by-side with a Samsung watch to see what I mean.
The TAG Heuer Connected is an average smartwatch in an above average housing. If you’ve been craving the connectivity of a smart watch but can’t bear the cheaper nature of most of them then this might be for you. They also offer a version for golfers but as I don’t know one end of a golf bat from another, I can’t comment on whether it’ll improve your game. All-in-all the Connected is a lovely bit of kit as long as you can swallow that hefty price tag. Personally, it’s just a little to rich for my blood but it has made me want a smart watch in my life.