Apple is asking for up to $17,000 for its most premium smartwatch, and Tag Heuer is coming into the market at about a tenth of that cost. The company announced its own premium smartwatch, which will run Android Wear and launch on Nov. 9 for $1,800. While less expensive than Apple's high-end wrist pieces, the upcoming wearable costs $800 more than the cheapest analog Tag Heuer watch and about 6 times as much as other premium Android Wear watches.
Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver told CNBC that the company was at first concerned about the price, but, "Now we are quite reassured because Apple is telling us we can sell at $1,500 or even more." Announced earlier this year, Tag Heuer's device would be the result of a collaboration with Google and Intel, with the latter providing a processor for the wearable.
Although it is a luxury watch brand that makes high-end timepieces, Tag Heuer will face competition not only from Apple, but from the bevy of Android Wear devices already available in the market. Motorola, LG and Huawei already make premium, good-looking Android Wear devices for $300 to $350 - that's less than a fifth of what Tag Heuer is asking. The base version of the Apple Watch also costs $350, and the mid-level version tops out at $1,099.
On top of that, Tag Heuer has to contend with other luxury brands, such as Gucci, which is teaming up with musician Will.I.Am to make a fashionable Android-based smart cuff. Other popular smartwatches on the market, such as the $250 Pebble Time Round and Samsung's $300 Galaxy Gear S2, are also solid, more affordable alternatives for shoppers.
If Tag Heuer wants to stand out, it should focus on extending battery life, which is currently a major source of frustration for smartwatch wearers. Having an Intel processor does set the upcoming wearable apart, but most people won't need blazing fast performance on their smartwatches.
Of course, as an established company, Tag Heuer has a large base of fans who might shell out because of the brand's recognition. We'll have to wait and see how the new device will do.