As a brand that has been making watches for 160 years, TAG Heuer is well accustomed to adapting to changing tastes and evolving technology. Whether it was creating new pocket watch designs in the 1880s, or developing automatic chronographs for timing motorsports in the 1960s, they have always had the right watch for the right era. In 2015, a few months after the launch of the Apple Watch, TAG Heuer became the first major Swiss watchmaker to enter the smartwatch market with the Connected.
Much like competing models from the big tech companies, the Connected was designed as a wearable extension of a smartphone, with fitness tracking, text notifications and other connectivity features. Unlike the other major launches in the field, however, it was also designed to look and feel like a high-end Swiss watch. Five years later, the newly updated Connected, powered by Google Wear OS, presents an equally enticing combination of wearable tech and Swiss luxury, with a sporty look that is unmistakably TAG Heuer.
When you take the Connected out of its presentation box (a box not unlike the one your new Carrera or Monaco might come in) one of the first things you notice is the watch’s weight. While TAG Heuer unveiled a new titanium case for the Connected earlier this year, our test model came equipped with the steel case and ceramic bezel, which gives it a substantial feel in hand, much like a conventional steel sports watch. Similarly, the feel of the winding crown and pushers have the same satisfying weightiness and precision as those on a mechanical chronograph.
This is the kind of attention to finishing you’d expect from a Swiss watch brand, and it helps to connect the Connected to the long heritage of mechanical sports watches that inspired its design. Similarly, the steel bifold clasp buckle closes with a satisfying snap, and the perforated rubber strap (one of about a dozen options, including a traditional steel bracelet and an alligator-texture rubber strap with contrast stitching) feels comfortable and secure on the wrist.
At 45mm across the dial (1mm wider than the new line of Carrera chronographs released this fall) the Connected is on the larger end of the spectrum. While such a big dial took some getting used to, with so much information available on the Connected’s crisp OLED screen, it proved its worth quickly. In keeping with TAG Heuer’s heritage as a top-tier sports watch brand, the Connected’s features are focused on activity tracking across a wide range of sports, including golf, cycling and running. Vital stats are monitored via onboard GPS, compass, accelerometer and heart-rate sensor, allowing you to track your route and your performance in real time. While we didn’t have the chance to experience the Connected’s performance on the golf course, with 39,000 courses and an integrated score card available through the TAG Heuer Golf app, there’s a lot to discover there.
Despite its abilities as a fitness tracker, the TAG Heuer Connected is designed to be worn every day, and as such it’s easy to reconfigure its look according to mood or occasion. In addition to the interchangeable strap and bracelet options, the TAG Heuer Connected app allows you to browse through dozens of watch face configurations or create your own, meaning you can have a classic Carrera-style analog display or a futuristic digital one. This versatility is a big part of the new Connected’s appeal. Instead of looking like a screen on your wrist, the Connected has all of the functionality of a smartwatch, with the wearability, classic looks and build quality of a TAG Heuer mechanical watch. This combination of Swiss design and modern tech has always been at the heart of the Connected, and it remains just as appealing in 2020 as it did in 2015.
Case: 45mm steel with ceramic bezel, water resistant to 50m
Battery: 430 mAh; charges to 100% in 90 mins
Display: 1.39″ OLED with 454×454 pixels (326ppi) resolution