TAG Heuer will introduce the second generation of its Connect smartwatch in May, with the new edition expected to drive sales up to 150,000 units in 2017.
Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and head of the the LVMH Watch Division, says sales of 56,000 in the 14 months since it first launched its Intel-based Connect smartwatch, had exceeded expectations.
“We are very satisfied with it. We sold much more than the 20,000 we originally expected,” Mr Biver told Swiss broadsheet Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).
TAG Heuer has established a development office within the campus of its technology partner Intel in California. The team is there to ensure the watch brand is constantly breathing the same air as Silicon Valley whiz kids. “Technology does not stop. We need to be close and know what is going on,” says Mr Biver.
The next generation of Connect will not be a radical leap forward; but will keep pace with rivals like Apple Watch. It will include contactless payment, a more accurate GPS, longer battery life and a better screen.
There will be a smaller model, which Mr Biver expects to appeal to customers in Asia and women.
LVMH’s Watch Division has a busy 2017 ahead of it, with Mr Biver taking the reigns at Zenith after Aldo Magada was sacked.
The decision to take over was taken due to Mr Biver’s frustration that two of LVMH’s brands – TAG Heuer and Hublot – grew last year, while Zenith was in retreat. “I am responsible for three brands. TAG Heuer had its best year since 1860; Hublot had a historic year. Why did Zenith not do this?” he questions.