What it is: Tag Heuer is a Swiss company that markets watches and other fashion accessories.
To compete against the Apple Watch, Tag Heuer recently announced a $1,500 smart watch running Android. While this might seem like a smart idea to tap into the luxury market, you have to wonder how successful this product can be.
First of all, Tag Heuer has been selling luxury watches for years, but their luxury watches, like most luxury watches these days, are simply jewelry that happens to tell time. There’s little reason for an expensive watch these days since most people can get by checking the time on a much less expensive wristwatch or smartphone. The whole point of luxury watches is to make the buyer feel exclusive.
That’s the problem right there. Even though Apple sells expensive versions of the Apple Watch that cost up to $10,000 or more, the functionality is identical to the low-end Apple Watch models that sell for $400. The only people buying luxury Apple Watches are those who simply want to show off the amount of money they can spend on a luxury item.
Android watches are often as cheap as $200, so to buy a $1,500 Tag Heuer watch might mean something to some people, but seems as wasteful as buying a $10,000 Apple Watch. People who want to waste money buying a $1,500 Tag Heuer smartwatch can do so, but will the Tag Heuer name really justify the cost?
The biggest problem Tag Heuer faces is that they’re essentially selling a commodity. With the Apple Watch, you have to buy from Apple whether you want to spend $10,000 or $400. With an Android smartwatch, you can buy a $1,500 one from Tag Heuer or just a $200 from Samsung or someone else. Looking at the above Tag Heuer watches doesn’t necessarily call attention to themselves like a Rolex watch might do. The Tag Heuer watches look nice, but not nice enough to feel like you’re getting $1,500 worth of fashion to show off in public.
Then again people who buy luxury brands don’t care about cost so much as they care about showing off. If you feel that a $1,500 Tag Heuer Android watch will make you feel more exclusive, then go ahead and buy one or more. If you feel a $10,000 Apple Watch makes you feel exclusive, then buy several. Ultimately it’s fine to offer luxury brands at premium prices, but you also need to offer something useful in return.
Watches are already luxury items that are completely unnecessary, but smart watches are something different because they’re basically wearable computers. Luxury watches are simply jewelry, so if you feel $1,500 is worth the price to flash your Tag Heuer Android watch around, then have fun. Rolex is a luxury brand. Apple is becoming a luxury brand as well. Tag Heuer is trying to convert their luxury brand from ordinary mechanical watches to Android watches.
Will it work? Maybe, but don’t expect Tag Heuer to suddenly become a desirable Android watch brand with people mimicking Tag Heuer designs. Instead, expect this to be the last dying gasp of the mechanical watch industry trying to find a way to stay relevant and profitable in the wake of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is sucking away money from the luxury mechanical watch market and this will never stop until the mechanical watch making industry is as obsolete as Blackberry and Nokia in the smartphone industries.
Mechanical watches are obsolete and Tag Heuer’s Android watch is simple a desperate attempt to stay relevant a little while longer. Good luck with that. When you can slap a higher price tag on something not known for luxury (Android), you’re going to face an uphill battle selling them. Remember Tag Heuer because that name will likely be something you own’t remember otherwise.