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Android Technology

TAG Heuer Increasing Weekly Production To Meet Demand For Its Smartwatch (slashgear.com) 86

An anonymous reader writes: According to reports TAG Heuer is struggling to keep up with the high demand for its $1,500 TAG Heuer Connected Android Wear-powered smartwatch. Since its launch in November the company has sold about 100,000 units and plans to crank up production to 2,000 units per week. According to Slashgear: "Jean-Claude Biver, the CEO of Tag Heuer shares that more smartwatch models from the company will be unveiled at the end 2016 or early 2017 – with options of new materials and diamonds. Being the genius that revived brands such as Blancpain and Hublot, Biver has positioned Tag Heuer as the first luxury watchmaker that enters smartwatch business with a 'big bang' and ready to use large eco-system courtesy of Android Wear."
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TAG Heuer Increasing Weekly Production To Meet Demand For Its Smartwatch

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  • timeless pieces (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenfruitsalad ( 2008354 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @06:10AM (#51071765)

    and this is how we turn decades lasting timepieces into disposable trash.

    • Re:timeless pieces (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @07:11AM (#51071867) Journal
      Correct. I learned my lessons the hard way with the Seiko Message Watch. Not nearly as expensive those days, and for modern days probably lasted quite long. But still it turned into something less useful over just a few years (it could still tell the time so it was not completely useless).
    • and this is how we turn decades lasting timepieces into disposable trash.

      Yup you can get a nice used TAG for about the same money.

    • Indeed. Although they could follow the Zeitgeist and offer a "rebuild" function in a few years time.
      The hipsters would love that, imagine "I just 'upgraded' my watch for only $500, darling!'
      Would only cost a few bucks in parts and labour for TAG, so probably profitable.

      I hope this happens - part of the "brand promise" of Swiss watches is the fact that they can be repaired and hence last virtually indefinitely.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder about the veracity of this claim. It seems to me that the phone and jewellery business share similarities - symbols of success and conspicuous consumption. However, there are major differences too. With jewellery / watches, a high end item is still high end even years after purchase, whereas with technology, depreciation is rapid and brutal. What is the point of spending tens of thousands on a watch, adding diamonds to it to show off, when in a few months somebody else can come along, spend a lot l

    • I think you are missing their target market here: People who have $1500 to spend on a watch...

      I don't think these people will be all that annoyed to have to lay down another $1500 next year on the next "new thing"

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @06:20AM (#51071779)

    powering the Tag Heuer Connected with an Intel Atom Z34XX processor

    well i guess if you wanna be that dumb son of a bitch that dishes out $1500 for a watch that lasts "all day", you might as well enjoy the energy consumption of x86 on your wrist.

    • by szy ( 4052287 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @06:48AM (#51071813)
      It's a feature! It is a wrist warming device! Make sure you buy another one for your other wrist!
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Intel don't seem to publish specs on the low power performance of that SoC, but it does seem like an odd choice for a watch.

      Personally I prefer smart watches without a full face display. It's pointless, a simple notification LED and maybe a one line, monocrhome LCD at most is all you need and will extend battery life greatly.

      Sony is releasing a device with a normal watch that runs for 3+ years on a normal watch battery, and then a secondary smart watch part that has a separate rechargeable battery and one w

      • Intel don't seem to publish specs on the low power performance of that SoC, but it does seem like an odd choice for a watch.

        it's likely that Intel gave them an extremely discounted rate. they did the same thing to get some smartphone designers to use the chip but wouldn't ya know, two models later and they were right back to ARM chips.

  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {1relpek}> on Monday December 07, 2015 @06:56AM (#51071829)
    Funny how things go round and round.

    In the 1970s the Swiss makers found themselves under attack from the new cheaper quartz watches. (wikipedia for "quartz crisis") They could no longer plausibly claim that their handcrafted puffery resulted in more accurate timekeeping. So they had to change their marketing message from "accuracy" to "heirloom timepieces" bullshit (hence why you see messages like, "you don't just buy a Pat** Phi***, you only take care of it for the next generation." etc)

    You would think that they (like religious science-deniers) would just accept that that is their niche, and stay with it. But now they have to catch up with the smart watch too, or risk losing the next generation of watch buyers.

    So let's see how their message of "preserving an heirloom timepiece" stands up against the reality of a battery that lasts for 24 hours, and consumer electronics that get thrown out after 2 years... When the guts of your watch are indistinguishable from a $75 piece of crap, who's going to believe the marketing hype?
    • by Tim99 ( 984437 )
      Mechanical watches can indeed be heirloom timepieces. I still wear my father's Longines Professional most days. He bought it when he was aircrew in the RAF in Cairo in 1941. It cost him £5 (or 1-2 weeks wages). I know he had it cleaned twice, and I've had it cleaned twice. It would have had >10 straps, and is now probably still worth 1-2 weeks wages in modern money. My other wind-up watch I won as a prize >50 years ago, and I still wear it when a gold wrist watch is appropriate.

      The quartz Ome
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I have a self-winding Tag I got for my 40th birthday. What I like about is never having to worry about replacing a battery. But on the other hand, I have a Seiko solar chronograph that doesn't need a battery replacement, either, or at least likely not in my lifetime.

        Not sure it will be an heirloom, but when I was at a Tag dealer to get the bracelet replaced I noticed that none of the displayed Tags had my movement -- day and date chronograph, so maybe it will be marginally more valuable due to a less comm

        • I have a Casio. It's currently about two years old but I was in Walmart last night and checked. They still have it for $27. It's one of the few hybrids of it's type, with a mechanical quartz analog dial and a tiny LCD display on the bottom for calendar and stopwatch/alarm function. In my opinion it uses the right technology for the right functions like few other watches.

      • Mechanical watches can indeed be heirloom timepieces. I still wear my father's Longines Professional most days. He bought it when he was aircrew in the RAF in Cairo in 1941

        Sounds not too dissimilar to my the watch I wear every day. It was my uncle's watch he got while in the US Air Force in Vietnam. It was an inexpensive watch at the time ($17.50 or $22.50 at the px I forget which) made by Benrus for the US military. The watch is over 50 years old and keeps great time for a mechanical watch (runs about 3 seconds +-1 second fast a day). Also unlike so many modern men's watches it has a really clean look with a black face, crisp white numbers, parkerized stainless steel case.

        • by Tim99 ( 984437 )

          ...My only complaint is that the self illumination no longer functions as the tritium in the hands and hour markers has gone through over 3 half lives.

          Mine still glows faintly in a dark room. The radium in the paint has a half life of 1600 years, but the zinc sulfide fluorescent media has degraded.

    • Well, advertising is full of bulshit, we already know that.

      Still, as an engineer, I have a fondness for those little, mechanical thingies. I have several mechanical watches, but I don't wear a watch. Not that they are particularly expensive, but it is a joy to look at those tiny wheels and things and think of the amount of cleverness that goes into making it work so well. Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic.

    • In 2 years, you can trade in your Tag Heuer smartwatch for a $1500 discount on a 'real watch'.

    • So let's see how their message of "preserving an heirloom timepiece" stands up against the reality of a battery that lasts for 24 hours,

      Why are you talking as if the choice is one or the other. It's not like this watch is absurdly expensive. This battle is quite different from the early days of quartz where their biggest selling point was high quality = accurate time. That had to be refaced. The watch is now a fashion accessory and the introduction of a smart watch doesn't change this: case in point Apple's first release in the market included that gold piece of idiocy.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Being the genius that revived brands such as Blancpain and Hublot, Biver has positioned Tag Heuer as the first luxury watchmaker that enters smartwatch business with a 'big bang' and ready to use large eco-system courtesy of Android Wear.

    What a visionary! Who would've ever thought to do exactly the same thing that everybody else is doing and offer a wearable device leveraging the android operating system. Truly a luminary in his field.

  • by dremon ( 735466 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @06:58AM (#51071833)
    Comparing it to Apple Watch for $10000.
    • Comparing it to Apple Watch for $10000.

      A company can only get as stupid about prices as their customers demand. I guess Tag isn't quite as popular with rappers who can't seem to spend enough money on a wristwatch, or tech geeks who just loooove rose gold finishes.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tag Heuer Android watch:
    2,000/week x 52 weeks = 104,000 units per year

    Apple Watch:
    3.9 million units last quarter according to IDC.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @08:31AM (#51072051)
    Don't you realise that these smart watches are hand made? Each CPU is painstakingly built by hand master craftsman one transistor at a time. The CPU is a soldered to a precision circuit board etched in gold and engraved with the individual maker's name. Horologists test the timing functionality of the device, placing miniature weights on quartz crystal to achieve the perfect clock frequency. The screen is painstakingly hand painted one pixel at a time with fine horse hair brushes. The metal case is formed by savants with the power of mind over matter. And finally the strap is hand-stitched and made from the hide of the last white rhino.

    So if you cynically thought Tag Heuer were just shoving some mass produced part from an Intel factory in Malaysia into a chunky metal case and pocketing the enormous markup then think again.

  • ...but I'm actually surprised there's >100.000 people in world ready to buy a 1.500$ smartwatch. Which, in all likelihood, is something that will stop working after a few years and will be "current" for a couple of them at most.
    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      Seems like a big number off the cuff, but by definition there are roughly 72 million 1%-ers in the world. This 100k equates to 0.14% of the 1%, or 0.000014% of the world's population. If you put it in those terms, it's pretty easy to believe there are that many suckers with money to burn in the world.
      • by afidel ( 530433 )

        Yeah, and if you make more than $35k/year you're included in that global 1%, doesn't mean you've got the loose $ to buy a $1,500 watch.

        • by asylumx ( 881307 )
          Why not? People making less than that find ways to buy $1,500 TVs and other devices all the time. Why not a watch? Besides, what I said is that it's easy to believe that 100k of that 72,000,000 people are willing to throw that kind of money out on a watch, not that all 72,000,000 would be doing it.
      • Seems like a big number off the cuff, but by definition there are roughly 72 million 1%-ers in the world.

        Err...you don't have to be a 1%-er to have enough disposable income to drop a mere $1500 on a watch. I mean, no, a middle class person doesn't buy on every day, maybe once every couple years...at most.

        What is your definition of 1%-er? To me, that the folks raking in billions a year. Not a middle to upper middle class guy making around the $200-$250K a year mark.

        That type salary can easily afford thi

        • by asylumx ( 881307 )
          When I said "by definition" I meant it -- 1% of approx. 7.2 billion is approx. 72 million. Obviously that varies based on what you use as estimated world population, but the point is still the same. Anyway, you're right, you don't have to be a 1%er to be able to afford this. You just have to have your priorities set in such a way that this is what you'd want to spend your money on. Even working class people here in the US could "afford" this watch, at least as well as they can afford the crazy TVs, cars
  • So they've been making 1200/week and so far they've sold 100,000 in a month? That means they've been manufacturing them and stockpiling them for the last 83 months (nearly 7 years) prior to launching them.

    I smell some made up numbers put into a press release and then blindly copied by the meeja.

    • by johnw ( 3725 )

      I should of course have said 83 weeks, not months. The number still smell though.

    • They haven't sold a single one to an actual customer, as far as I know.
      These are all orders from retailers/distributors.

  • TAG Heuer lost an opportunity to set themselves apart from the "childish" smartwatches from tech companies. They could have added, on top of the LCD (but below the touch-sensitive glass), proper clock hands driven by a precision step motor. This way it could vary the functions by changing the background labels and dynamically positioning the clock hands accordingly. So in clock mode it would look like a proper "adult" clock instead of a "child toy" like the other smartwatches.

    • What about when your desired function is reading messages, and you've got two big, useless hands in the way.

  • He seems to have sorely underestimated how much the insecure rich bastards would be willing to pay to reassure themselves that they are successful and they stand apart from the unwashed masses.
  • According to a report on Bloomberg, the watchmaker has received orders over 100,000 pieces of the Connected watch from retailers and dealers - while it is not a direct end-user orders, it is a good indicator of demand in the market.

    The only place I have heard about this thing is on Slashdot. The "articles" linked to are on SlashGear. That's a Slashvertisement inside a Slashvertisement, folks!
    And a big EL OH EL at the idea of retailer/distributor orders being a good indicator of market demand, ESPECIALLY in a new market with a new player with a high price tag.

  • Next year the Reb Bull F1 team will drive with Renault engines rebadged as TAG Heuer ( https://www.formula1.com/conte... [formula1.com] ). Perhaps they are already ramping up production to meet demand.

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