24th July 2017
The £1200 bargain – Latest developments in the wearables market
Tech & Emerging
7th July 2017
This fascinating market continues to evolve at a rate of knots. It’s been a while but what has prompted me to write this piece are my reflections on the launch of the second generation TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45… all £1,200 of it (and that’s just the starting price).
What a pricetag! But it also stands out from usual incremental innovation from most wearable brands. I think I’ve lost count of the number of Garmin ‘vívo’ permutations available. I have no idea what the most recent release offers that’s new and different. The majority of the market seems to resemble the men’s razer market at the moment, the ‘if in doubt, add an extra blade’ mentality clearly lives on!
I was trying to think about how I could justify purchasing the Connected Modular 45 as on the surface it doesn’t seem to come with any differentiating technology, indeed heart rate monitoring is conspicuous in its absence. It certainly looks nice which is a big tick for me, and it’s also completely customisable. However…the lovely solid and weighty feel that comes with a high end timepiece isn’t so practical during physical activity. This leaves me in a muddle (ignoring the price for now!). I can’t work out which of my smartwatch needs the TAG Heuer satisfies.
At first glance, TAG’s launch of a smartwatch could look like a case of the deadly FOMO I warned of in my last post a year ago. However, on further inspection I think that their entirely customisable watch could in fact be a penetrating view of the obvious; that neither brands nor consumers really know where the true value of wearables lies, and where it will lie in just a few years (or even months!) time. A product that can easily adapt to the evolution of the market might just be a stroke of genius; maybe TAG Heuer haven’t got FOMO at all, maybe they know exactly how consumers like me tick (sorry…).
Let me demonstrate what I mean using another category as an example; Handbags. Normally, when I’m pondering an insanely expensive handbag I find myself trying, and mostly failing, to convince myself of its functional benefits to make my emotionally-driven inner handbag addict feel less guilty. Where I tend to land is citing ‘cost per wear’ to myself, a failsafe rationale which makes an exorbitant pricetag seem almost cheap when you tally up the years and years that said handbag will serve. Clearly I’m delusional when it comes to handbags but I can easily extrapolate this thinking to the Connected Modular 45. Its customisable nature means that my fears around longevity are immediately allayed and its cost-per-wear credentials skyrocket.
TAG Heuer have discovered exactly where the value in the wearables category lies; it’s in uncertainty. This leaves me feeling convinced that the TAG’s £1,200 chameleon-esque smartwatch is not just good value, it’s a bargain!
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