Tag Heuer, tech companies unveil $1,500 luxury smartwatch

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CEO of TAG Heuer Jean-Claude Biver, left, appears with newly named brand ambassador, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. | AP file photo

NEW YORK — A leading Swiss watchmaker and two technology titans have combined forces to produce a computerized wristwatch billed as the “world’s smartest luxury watch.”

Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said his company has been building mechanical watches for 155 years but knew little about building an Internet-connected device that younger buyers would want. So it partnered with Intel and Google in what he calls the “marriage of Watch Valley and Silicon Valley.”

Various manufacturers have made watches using Google’s Android Wear system but they typically look more like mini computers on the wrist rather than a traditional watch.

Luxury comes with a price: Tag Heuer Connected starts selling in the U.S. on Monday for $1,500. By contrast, the cheapest Android Wear watch costs $129. Sales in Japan begin next week and in other countries in Europe and Asia by the end of November. Apple Watch has a luxury edition, with a case made of gold, for $10,000 to $17,000. The regular Apple Watch starts at $349.

The Tag Heuer Connected adopted the company’s Carrera Calibre mechanical design and uses premium materials, including titanium lugs and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen. Straps come in a choice of seven colors.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Tag Heuer showed his engineers the design elements desired and worked with Google to tweak the Android Wear software for it.

“Our teams have brought what they are uniquely good at and have fused together something that is bigger than the sum of its parts,” said David Singleton, a vice president of engineering at Google.

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