It wasn’t very long after Apple’s Keynote where they announced the arrival of their Apple Watch that Tag Heuer has announced a forthcoming luxury smart watch. Is it in retaliation for Apple poaching a key Tag executive? Does Tag Heuer want to follow Breitling’s lead and produce a smart watch that is based on a model in their current lineup? Why do we need $550 to $17,000 smart watches? These are fair questions to ask I think.
Let’s start with what we know, the smart watch market has been heating up big time within the last year and as that happened so did the popularity of higher-end wearables. There have been several major announcements by the likes of Apple, Breitling, Withings, Tag Heuer and even a rumored partnership between Will.i.am and Gucci. It’s obvious these companies want to cash in on the popularity of wearables and laugh all the way to the bank. While I can’t answer all of the previous questions, it’s obvious that luxury smart watches are here to stay.
These companies are targeting a burgeoning market that has the expendable income to purchase $5000 Breitling’s. The problem I see with some of these luxury watches is that the so called “smart” features they offer are little more than a gimmick. Withings watches offer an analogue way of showing steps taken via a third hand on the dial. Breitling’s B55 Connected will connect to your phone through Bluetooth so that you can change your time zone through your phone. Can’t you just change your time zone on a traditional mechanical watch with the twist of a bezel or push of a button just as easy? Color me not impressed so far but some of these watches aren’t smart at all.
So where do I stand you ask? The vast majority of the individuals that buy these devices are buying them because they are status symbols. Which, for the record, I don’t have a problem with. But for those of us with more modest incomes, a $500 Apple Watch in Stainless steel is quite the luxury and we’re looking for value. Apple is putting the luxury smart watch market on notice by offering such a broad range of options and prices. Options while nice, do not make a smart watch, features including app integration and apps on the device itself do!
I can change my own time zone, I don’t need an app for that. I want to feel like I’m living in the future not some dystopian version of it and I want some bang for my buck. Apple will absolutely dominate this market because they are offering real value on the Sport and regular versions. Do we need luxury smart watches, in short, no. I can get more features in a $350 Apple Sport than a Breitling B55 at fraction of the price.