Can TAG Heuer, Intel, Google collaborate and create a smart enough watch?

The partnership between TAG Heuer, Intel and Google aims to meld artistry, luxury and technology. What remains to be seen if this trio can avoid bogging down the end product with too many features.

TAG Heuer, Google and Intel are collaborating on a smart watch that'll look like the already fashionable Swiss watches floating around today. The big question is whether this trio can collaborate and ultimately produce a just smart enough watch that has balance.

The news, which was delivered at the watch powwow Baselworld 2015, was made official at a press conference. The money quote in the release from Jean-Claude Biver, president of the watch division at LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer, said:

Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility.

And that's where things get interesting. To date, smart watches as a category have been plagued with the following:

  • It's unclear why they're necessary when they draft off a smart phone to function.
  • Smart watch makers have no fashion sense. Apple is trying to bring a little fashion to the smart watch, but Apple Watch and the Android gear from Samsung still try to do too much.
  • You may not need a watch to be all that smart. What matters? Perhaps it's just step tracking. Withings and its subtle smart watch approach could be the real winner. The Apple Watch may just indicate that Apple has lost its simplicity touch.

tag-heuer.jpg
Does the future smart watch look like this?

samsung-gear.jpg
Or this?

With all that said, perhaps Intel, Google and TAG can come up with something that's unique yet not. When you boil down the release and strip out terms like "win-win," "fusing beauty with technology" and "collective approach" it's evident that Google, Intel and TAG may be onto something. The flip side is that the collaboration could be a train wreck.

See CNET's Wearable Tech rankings

The wild card is whether Silicon Valley and Swiss watchmakers can really collaborate. Traditional watchmakers will focus on artistry and Intel and Google will aim to throw a kitchen sink of technology at you. The goal here should be simplicity.

Why? The answer isn't a smart watch. The win is likely to be a just smart enough watch with a bit of luxury.

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