Although the age of the smartwatch has been well and truly upon us for the better part of a decade, the traditional Swiss watch industry’s place in this burgeoning market continues to evolve. High-volume brands across the industry have made uneven headway in the smartwatch space, but no other group has been as aggressive in this high-tech territory as LVMH. The massive luxury conglomerate has launched a surprisingly diverse suite of smartwatch products from its upper-echelon marques including Hublot and Louis Vuitton, but since 2015 TAG Heuer has been at the tip of its marketing spear. The original TAG Heuer Connected was heralded as the first established Swiss challenger to the smartwatch dominance of Silicon Valley tech giants, and over the intervening years the line has grown, been refined, and traveled in some genuinely novel stylistic directions. 2022 brings with it the fourth generation of the Connected series, with sleeker, more curvaceous cases, new guided workout routines, and a suite of new dial options delivering more useful data than ever before. The new TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 series aims to keep the Connected at the forefront of the Swiss smartwatch effort with an improved microprocessor, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and an updated OS scheduled to come online shortly after the watch’s initial release.
Available in both 45mm and a new 42mm size, the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 series introduces a smoother, more tapering look to its cases. The 45mm model cleaves closer to the established Connected formula, with options in both stainless steel and matte blasted black DLC titanium. The polished black ceramic bezel of previous generations is carried over here, featuring the same narrow profile and engraved minutes scale. For the rest of the case, however, TAG Heuer moves in a decidedly more rounded direction than the third-generation series. Although the case still bears clear callbacks to the Carrera series, such as its inward lug bevels, the overall impression is more streamlined than its predecessor. Rather than harsh angles and broad polished planes, the Connected Calibre E4 instead adds depth and complexity to its form in images with a narrower, more flowing case side chamfer and new brushed segments atop the tapering lugs. The wide wedge-like pushers are also reimagined in a smoother style, without the previous generation’s distinctive angular midpoint kink and sporting a new partial black-filled cutout to replace its predecessor’s full accent groove. TAG Heuer also claims to have tuned these pushers for a more mechanical feel when activated, which should give the Connected line a clearer tactile connection to the brand’s traditional offerings. The stainless steel case of the new 42mm offering follows most of the streamlined design cues of its larger stablemate, but here, the brand takes the base form in an even sleeker, more refined direction. The bezel is completely deleted for a high-tech, all-dial appearance in initial images, and the brand instead opts for an internal chapter ring sporting the same minutes scale. In keeping with this smoother, less aggressive philosophy, both the crown and pushers are visually simplified. For the pushers, the revised form is left without accent notches, and the black rubberized crown of the 45mm model is replaced with a fully polished pillbox crown in steel. Both case size options offer a smartwatch-adequate 50 meters of water resistance.
TAG Heuer introduces an updated OLED digital touchscreen dial to the Connected Calibre E4 series, with improved brightness and contrast aimed at improving visibility in strong sunlight. The Calibre E4 also sees several additions to the suite of digital dial design options carried over from previous generations, including the meditative Riverside dial which uses an animated flowing effect to mark the passage of time, as well as the Wellness dial which allows users to view heart rate, step count, and other fitness tracking options directly from the main dial. By far the most robust update is the expanded TAG Heuer Sports app, however, which now offers users customizable animated guided workout routines without the use of a phone or TV. Beyond tracking the progress of a workout and alerting users to switch exercises once complete, the TAG Heuer Sports app also adds updated tracking options for swimming, cycling, running, walking, and golf. TAG Heuer plans to add further dial options over the coming months. At launch, the user interface will be powered by Google Wear OS 2, but owners will be offered a no-cost update to Google Wear OS 3 once the new operating system has launched.
The TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 also adds robust improvements on the hardware side, including a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100+ smartwatch processor. The Snapdragon 4100+ offers a 30 percent longer battery life over the previous Connected’s Snapdragon 3100, allowing the 45mm model to offer a full 24 hours of power reserve on a full charge even while using five hours of power-intensive sports tracking apps. TAG Heuer claims the 42mm model stretches this battery life even further, allowing for a full day of sports app usage. The Snapdragon 4100+ also allows the Connected Calibre E4 to use Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity, which should deliver wireless data transfers at double the speed of the previous Connected generation. In addition to the familiar Connected sensor suite of an accelerometer, a heart rate monitor, a compass, a barometer, an NFC chip, a gyroscope, and a GPS module, the Calibre E4 also sports a new altimeter sensor, which enables more in-depth tracking of outdoor sports such as running or cycling. TAG Heuer also includes a new charging stand for the Connected Calibre E4, which both acts as a display for the watch during charging and activates a low-brightness time-only dial display for nighttime charging. Full charging from zero battery can be accomplished in 90 minutes.
TAG Heuer pairs the Connected Calibre E4 with a broad spectrum of strap style and color options in leather and rubber, along with an optional stainless steel H-link bracelet. To encourage existing Connected users to purchase the Calibre E4, TAG Heuer offers a trade-in recycling program for previous-generation models. Unfortunately, the trade-in values are more in line with used electronics prices than they are with luxury watch resale values, with offers ranging from 200 CHF for first-generation Connected models to 450 CHF for Connected releases from 2020 and 2021.
With a smoother streamlined look, more case sizing options, a suite of technical improvements, and more functionality than ever before, the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 series is a robust effort to keep the brand at the head of Switzerland’s smartwatch offerings. All models in the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 series will be available through authorized dealers in March 2022. MSRP for the 42mm model stands at $1,800, while prices for the 45mm model range from $2,050 for stainless steel examples with rubber straps to $2,550 for the titanium case variant, as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.