Tag Heuer’s latest smartwatch game? Super Mario

Yes, Apple has the connected watch market sewn up right now. No one can touch them when it comes to market share. Not Samsung. Not even Google.

But while these two companies are betting big on combining their strengths with their new Wear OS (now simply Carry), in an attempt to dethrone Apple, Tag Heuer sticks firmly to its creative strategy connected watches for people who lean towards more traditional luxury watches. So far, that is.

Now, thanks in large part to the fact that the CEO of the brand, Frédéric Arnault, is an avid gamer, Tag has pimped his Bound wearable in a limited edition Super Mario smartwatch ($ 2,150, available July 14), with an animated version of the plumber integrated into various parts of its user interface.

While such a move might seem like an odd collaboration for a luxury Swiss watch brand, there are more than a few factors at play here. The first is that the average age of a player these days is 35, older than most think, and this goes hand in hand with the age ranges for luxury goods, which are traditionally also older. Second, high-end watches adorned with video game characters are nothing new. Right now, for example, if you have a spare $ 17,000, you can pick up RJ’s Moon Invader. Space invaders Pop watch.

The third and perhaps the main reason for this Tag X Nintendo smart watch game is Arnault himself. At just 26 years old, Bernard Arnault’s son, who briefly passed Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world in December 2019 as chairman of LVMH, is by far Switzerland’s youngest watch CEO. Prior to taking the leadership role at Tag, he joined the company in 2017 to oversee the development of the connected smartwatch, and it is still her baby.

Spotting a possibly savvy partnership, Arnault began talking to Nintendo about a joint project two years ago while still leading the Connected division. “It was my idea to contact Nintendo,” says Arnault. “I am a Mario fan. Playing Mario kart with my brothers? It happens. We felt it was important to build some gamification into the fitness experience on Connected, which is a product that is supposed to influence people’s behavior and lives. And instead of trying to build this gamification on our own, it made sense to find a partner for it.

In addition to a few physical design cues on the new Connected, such as the bezel graduation, push buttons and crown logo, filled with Mario’s famous red lacquer color, with an “M” engraved on it. the buckles of the bracelet and of a Super Mushroom Pipe and Super Star at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, two versions of the dial of the Heuer 02 watch have been created for this edition. One uses the iconic Super Mario red and blue, the other a more traditional watch face with subtle touches of red.

But fans will likely be drawn to the Mario watch face animations that unlock when you hit your fitness goals throughout the day. A different animation plays out when you hit 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent of your daily step count, which Tag says is inspired by Easter egg games.

Right now, this interactive Mario watch face is only preinstalled on the TAG Heuer Connected Super Mario Limited Edition, but Tag is considering making it available on other Connected editions at some point.

As to whether a Mario mashup is too much for traditional Tag customers, Arnault is confident. “I think, of course, it was a risk. But it also fits very well with what we’re trying to say with the product. The smartwatch is a digital product, and we are partnering with a digital icon, ”he says.

This story originally appeared on UK WIRED.

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