But while the two companies are betting big on combining power with their new Wear OS (now simple Wear it), in an attempt to overthrow Apple, Tag Heuer firmly adhered to his strategy of creation smart watches for people who lean towards more traditional luxury watches. So far it is.
Thanks in large part to the brand’s CEO Frédéric Arnault who is a passionate player, Tag has cheated his Connected wearable in Super Mario limited edition smartwatch (2,150 USD, available on July 14), along with an animated version of a plumber built into various parts of the user interface.
While such a maneuver may seem like an unusual collaboration of a luxury Swiss watch brand, there are more than a few factors at play here. The first is that the average age of players today 35, older than most would assume, and this marries the age range for luxury goods that are also traditionally older. Second, high-end watches decorated with characters from computer games are nothing new. Currently, for example, if you have a spare $ 17,000, you can grab RJ’s Moon Invader Space Invaders Pop clock.
The third and perhaps key reason for this Tag X Nintendo smartwatch game is Arnault itself. At just 26, the son of Bernard Arnault, who briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos and became the richest person in the world in December 2019 as president of LVMH, is by some margins the youngest CEO of watches in Switzerland. Before taking over the top job at Tag, he joined the company in 2017 to oversee the development of the Connected smartwatch and it’s still his baby.
Noticing perhaps a smart partnership, Arnault began talking to Nintendo about a joint project two years ago while still heading the Connected division. “It was my idea to contact Nintendo,” says Arnault. “I am Mario. Playing Mario Kart with my brothers? It’s happening. We felt it was important to integrate a little gaming into the fitness experience at Connected, which is a product that should have an impact on people’s behavior and lives. And instead of trying to build this gamification ourselves, it made sense to find a partner for it. “
Like some physical design clues on the new Connected, such as the gradation of the frame, buttons and crown logo, which are filled with Mario’s famous red lacquered red cap, ‘M’ engraved on belt buckles and Super Mushroom, Pipe and Super Star in positions 3, 6 and At 9 a.m., two versions of the Heuer 02 face were created for this release. One uses the Super Mario red and blue icon, and the other a more traditional face with subtle touches of red.
But fans are likely to be drawn to Mario’s numerical animations that unlock when you reach your fitness goals throughout the day. A different animation is played when you reach 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent of the daily number of steps, which Tag says is inspired by playing Easter eggs.
Currently, this interactive face of Mario is only pre-installed on the TAG Heuer Connected Super Mario Limited Edition, but Tag is considering making it available on other editions of Connected at some stages.
As for whether Mario mashup is a step too far for traditional Tag customers, Arnault is confident. “I believe it was certainly a risk. But it also fits in with what we’re trying to say with the product. “A connected watch is a digital product, and we are a partner of the digital icon,” he says.
This story originally appeared WIRED UK.
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