When smartwatches really started to take off in the mid-2010s, the watch industry must have been having flashbacks to the quartz crisis of the 70s. Smartwatches posed yet another existential threat: not only are they infinitely more capable than a mechanical watch, but they quickly also became desirable; they became status symbols.
Of course, the rise of the smartwatch hasn’t doomed the luxury watch – far from it. Indeed, there’s never been a more exciting time to be into traditional watches. But the savviest watch brands have realised they can have their cake and eat it too – or, rather, that they can’t ignore smartwatches. And that’s what TAG Heuer has done better than just about any watchmaker in the game.
The 162-year-old Swiss firm got into the high-end smartwatch game early back in 2016 with their innovative Connected watch: an elegantly-executed design that has quickly become one of the brand’s best-selling products. TAG has actively improved and iterated on the Connected over the years, introducing new in-house apps as well as making it a doddle to customise, from different digital watch faces to a wide range of straps.
Now, in 2022, they’ve unveiled perhaps the biggest update to the Connected yet, titled the Connected Calibre E4: one that brings a brand-new case size to the table, as well as a whole suite of new features that make the watch even more robust and capable.
The big news is that the Connected is now available in a 42mm case size – clearly a move to make the watch more accessible to a wider audience. The 42mm model (ref. SBR8010) is immediately visually distinct from the existing 45mm model, featuring a wafer-thin bezel (with the bezel scale hidden underneath the crystal); a slightly rounder, thinner case and a different range of strap options.
The 45mm variant (ref. SBR8A10) has also received a visual update, too. Its crown is now larger and rubberised, meaning you can adjust it using just a fingertip, TAG say. They also say that the watch’s pushers have been redesigned to have a more mechanical feel, and are also more flush to the case, sloping slightly inward.
Under the hood, the 42mm and 45mm both offer identical performance: the 42’s battery is slightly smaller, but then the watch is smaller too. Both boast enough charge to run one full day on a full charge (a 30% improvement over the outgoing 45mm model).
Other technical improvements the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 brings to the table include Bluetooth 5.0, an faster Snapdragon 4100 processor, and a built-in altimeter, which will help users track more accurately outdoor activities such as running or cycling, complementing existing sensors like the watch’s accelerometer, heart rate monitor, compass and GPS.
Another new feature that health fanatics will love is TAG’s new guided workout feature, which is built into the watch and doesn’t require a smartphone. Accessed through the Connected’s sports app, this feature prompts users through pre-set workouts using 3D guides, and when users finish their exercise, the watch vibrates to indicate that it is time to move on to the next one.
For users who already have their own routine (or their own fitness coach), it’s also easy to customise: you just punch in your own routine and it’ll guide you through, too. The Connected has always been respected for its particular focus on health and fitness, and this new feature will no doubt reinforce that reputation.
Of course, the Connected Calibre E4 isn’t just about workouts. Like previous models, the sports app can keep track of running (indoor and outdoor), cycling, swimming and even your golf game, the latter of which is particularly impressive.
The Calibre E4 also has a new, rather special charger which is designed to be used as a nightstand – which is kind of old-school, but pretty cool. Elegant and unobtrusive, it’s perfect if you also use your smartwatch as an alarm.
All in all, the Connected Calibre E4 is a substantial and exciting update for the popular smartwatch, which reaffirms TAG’s position at the top of the heap when it comes to high-end smartwatches. The Connected’s value proposition keeps getting better and better without sacrificing the luxury and refinement that TAG has always been known for.
Prices start at AU$2,600 and AU$2,950 for the 42mm and 45mm models respectively (paired with a rubber strap), with different strap options and case finishes commanding higher premiums.
Discover the new TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 collection at TAG Heuer’s online boutique here.