Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 combines Silicon Valley tech with Swiss mechanicals

Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has unveiled the second generation of its connected watch in which the central electronic module can be swapped out for a traditional ticking movement.

This connected dial references a Carrera model.

The new Android-based device, designated the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, takes the form of a regular watch but one whose lugs, case, strap, and buckle are interchangeable. Uniquely, though, it can accommodate a mechanical movement if the buyer chooses.

Yes, that includes the brand's COSC-certified 02-T tourbillon if that's your fancy.

The mechanical movement

Tag predicts it will sell about 150,000 of the new units, priced in Australia at $2300. It had hoped to sell 20,000 of the launch model but reported sales had reached triple that – about 56,000 – at the end of last year.

The Connected 45 is a distinct step up from the original Tag Connected. Made from satin or polished titanium with additional finishes in gold or ceramic, it comes in 56 different versions, 11 standard models offered instore, 45 others on request.

Modular construction

Jean-Claude Biver, chief executive and president of the watch division of Tag's parent company LVMH, described the watch as "at the forefront of the latest technologies available in Silicon Valley and, at the same time, a genuine Swiss watch, bearing the Swiss Made label."

Whether or not it's the best of both worlds, few watches – if any – are as customisable. The exterior of the watch can be configured to taste as can the dials and displays, while 18 varieties of straps are available, in rubber, natural or grey leather, titanium or ceramic.

Regarding the AMOLED dials, despite being mere displays, some dip convincingly into traditional watch territory referencing historical Heuer designs such as the panda-dialed Carrera, all interchangeable with a single swipe of the finger.

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Colourful configuratons

Not satisfied with that? You can proceed to play across the colour spectrum, changing the look of the metals on the indices down to the tips of the hands – even use a Tag Heuer Studio configurator to co-ordinate your watch to match whatever you're wearing.

That of course is in addition to the usual smart-watch multi-function displays accessible via a new Android app with a fresh version coming too for Apple's IOS. That said, Android Wear is the watch's natural environment.

As to connectivity, there's Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC, and the module is water-resistant to 50 metres. There's 4 GB of storage memory and latest-generation lithium battery technology provides more than 29 hours of power.

For all that Silicon Valley input, the motherboard, the brain and body of the watch are produced in Switzerland, with assembly at Tag's La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture. Hence, unlike it's predecessor, it qualifies for the prized "Swiss Made" certification.

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Bani McSpedden is watch editor of The Australian Financial Review and of watch-next.com.