Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has partnered with Google to create a luxury Android Wear smartwatch, the first of its kind. Since its inception last year, Android Wear has been used on multiple smartwatches, but none of them have been designed for the luxury market, an area traditionally associated with watches. Apple recently announced the Apple Watch that has variants aimed at the luxury market. Now, Google is ready to announce its plans to do the same.
Tag Heuer is one of the largest Swiss watchmakers, having formed large partnerships in areas such as Formula One racing. The company has been in talks with Google since before the launch of Android Wear, and have now decided to go ahead with creating a luxury Android Wear smartwatch.
By fusing beauty with technology, the Swiss watch has inspired generations of artists and engineers alike—including us at Google. So we’re thrilled to be working with TAG Heuer and Intel to bring a unique blend of emotion and innovation to the luxury market. Together, and using the Android Wear platform, we can imagine a better, beautiful, smarter watch.David SingletonGoogle
Few details are known about the upcoming device, but it will work with all existing apps and functions of existing Android Wear watches, which guarantees a touchscreen and microphone. It will also be the first Android Wear device to use an Intel chip inside, rather than one made by Qualcomm or TI. Nonetheless, Google says that the watch will be focused on the quality that is expected from a Swiss watchmaker like Tag Heuer. While pricing details weren’t disclosed, it would be foolish to think that this watch will fit into most people’s “Affordable” category.
There’s no word on when this luxury smartwatch will be released, but a launch in late 2015 seems likely. The real question is whether or not luxury smartwatches will have a market. Luxury watches are generally held up as a status symbol of wealth and are designed to last for many years. Smartwatches, however, have been viewed as watches for the Average Joe, and have been designed like smartphones, ready to be replaced within a year or two.
Fusing the two markets together seems logical, but it remains to be seen if those able to afford the high prices will be interested in a luxury smartwatch. The only real way to know is to sit back and watch. If they are successful, it could present an interesting shift in the market. If they aren’t successful, manufacturers can simply fall back to creating smartwatches for those of us who can’t afford a $10,000 watch.