I I really admire the stylish and handsome TAG Carrera watch, but I’m more a Rolex guy myself having bought one 15 years ago when the dotcom boom was in full swing.  It now looks likely that TAG Heuer is going to pack smartwatch functionality into its popular and sport Carrera model.  The brand is planning to launch next autumn a smartwatch version of the Carrera that will offer many of the same functions as the Apple watch such as geolocation, distance walked and altitude.

The effort is being jointly undertaken by TAG Heuer and Intel (up +2 points at 94), probably using Intel’s new Curie module – a complete, coin-sized computer built around a 32-bit Quark SoC (system-on-a-chip).  Underlying OS is likely to be Android (No Change at 96 points).

From a media perspective, the introduction of a smartwatch by TAG Heuer was way overdue.  The luxury watch category has been watching (haha) the evolving smartwatch trend for at least a year now with no indication that a top brand was going to join party.  TAG is one of the first, and it can only help its declining media performance that showed some real turnaround promise in 2014, but no significant storyline that would lift its position within the luxury brand sector.  That is, until the smartwatch and Intel announcement took center stage at Baselworld, the annual gathering in the watch industry.  The announcement lifted TAG Heuer’s media position +7 points or 10 percent to 68.  While still under its 4-year high of 74, the March media numbers generated the best media showing for TAG in nearly 2 years.

We’ve been tracking the broader wearable technology (up +4 points or 5 percent at 79) market for years and the smartwatch topic in particular. It’s no surprise that the category received a huge media boost from Apple’s entry.  Whether you love or hate these tech entries, they are attracting a lot of media attention.

The smartwatch trend is still rocketing as media coverage continues to build behind the trend.  It is up +2 points to a new high at 88   The smartwatch storyline is still riding a recent momentum trigger from January.  With the latest media coverage, TAG Heuer is closing the gap with its primary rival, Rolex, which is up +1 point at 79 in March.

I’ll close out this post with some additional media commentary from Baselworld.  The media reported the Swatch Group, which includes Swatch, Tissot and Omega watches, plans to integrate NFC into their watches.  An effort to make a smarter watch without making a smartwatch.  It should be an intriguing year as technology brands like Apple, Samsung, LG and Sony march straight into the market with brand-new, all-digital watches.  Meanwhile, you have TAG Heuer, Swatch and others traditional watch suppliers adding smart capabilities to their time-tested time pieces (no pun intended).

Paul