Tag Heuer unveils luxury Android smartwatch

Teams up with Google and Intel on Android wearable to rival Apple Watch

Tag Heuer has launched an Android Wear smartwatch in conjunction with Google and Intel.

The announcement marks the high-end Swiss watchmaker's entrance into the wearables market in a bid to fight off the challenge from Apple Watch and other smartwatch makers.

According to a Reuters report, the device will be a version of its Carrera watch, but will offer smartwatch functions such as geolocation, distance walked and altitude. The display will be a digital replica of the original black Carrera, which itself retails at around 3,500. 

Biver gave no details of the price of the smartwatch or any further details of the watch itself.

"People will have the impression that they are wearing a normal watch," Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver told Reuters.

Biver appeared unconcerned by the arrival of Apple into the luxury watch market and said that Apple's appearance would "increase the cake" for the industry.

"Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch," Biver added.

With the main workings or engine of the watch being a processor manufactured outside of Switzerland, the watch itself will not be able to be marketed as "Swiss Made". Biver said that "Assembled in Switzerland" could be used instead.

The partnership marks the first time that Google has worked with a traditional watch maker. Biver told the BBC that rather than develop a smartwatch OS itself, Tag Heuer chose to work with the tech firm.

"It would be absurd, it would be arrogant to believe that we could develop our own [operating system]. It would be a catastrophe to believe such a stupid thing," he said.

"There is no doubt that we could eventually go to Apple, but why should we do a partnership with Apple, who is producing watches? On the one side they would be partners, on the other a competitor."

Analysts said the buzz around Apple Watch meant that traditional watchmakers could no longer ignore this emerging trend.

"With Apple Watch hitting the market it's no longer viable for Swiss watchmakers to bury their heads in the sand," said Ben Wood, chief of Researchat CCS Insight. "Now Tag Heuer has signalled its intention to enter the smart watch market we are certain others will follow."

The as yet to be named smartwatch should be available before Christmas.

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