Jean-Claude Biver’s press conference to announce the second generation TAG Heuer Modular Connected wristwatch was designed to impress the amassed media.
But journalists can be a cynical bunch, so a sun-soaked drinks reception on the shores of an Alpine lake was not guaranteed to get them onside.
The reality is that the Modular Connected, details of which had leaked well in advance, over-delivered on its intelligent combination of Swiss luxury and Silicon Valley technology.
TAG Heuer retailers will be particularly excited at the potential to bring owners of the Modular Connect back into their stores repeatedly to buy extra components. It is easy to see how people will start collecting straps, bezels, mechanical or touchscreen master watch modules or even lugs – all of which are offered in different colours, styles and materials.
This could be the Pandora bracelet of the luxury watch world, and there can be no more exciting prospect than that for jewellers.
If TAG Heuer executes this well with its retailers, I can see Modular Connected shop-in-shops within high street jewellers. The initial launch has 56 different combinations, but the concept is limitless in the extra components that can be added in the future. There should be a new collection of straps and lugs with every change of fashion season.
This has the potential to challenge Rolex for pride of place positions within stores. Right now, Rolex requests and is granted the very best corner plots of every authorised retailer in the UK with which it works.
No retailer objects because the brand pulls punters into stores and they spend.
TAG Heuer could do even better – making a Modular Connected customer come into a store every pay day.
Like Pandora’s charms, components could become gifting items, encouraging more women to spend time at the TAG Heuer shop-in-shop where they might be tempted to look at a Ladies Aquaracer (or, hopefully a ladies’ version of the Modular Connected).
The icing on this particular cake is that the watch will appeal to a younger customer than Rolex or Patek Philippe. £1400 to get started with a Modular Connected is a lot of money, but not beyond a successful twenty-something with a bonus cheque burning a hole in his pocket.
As soon as he becomes a customer he is hooked.
Pandora’s president consistently told me that he would never worry about business drying up for charms as long as sales of the base bracelet continued.
This is the same for the Modular Connect. Once a customer has the base watch, they could spend thousands of pounds over several years keeping it updated.
Let me know what you think. Post your comments below.