“[The] collaboration between a Swiss luxury watchmaker and the world’s most famous fictional plumber might seem totally irrational at first glance,” ablogtowatch.com opines. That’s Sean Lorentzen’s way of saying the TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario is dumb. A brand defiling joke that makes the Audemars Piguet Black Panther Marvel watch seem positively demure. At second glance . . .
The new TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario Limited Edition deftly expands and reinforces the gamification concept for fitness-oriented smartwatches while offering a potential bellwether for the changing face of luxury. Beyond this, the new design injects a sense of vibrancy and childlike fun into this generally more youth-oriented segment of TAG Heuer’s line.
I reckon the $2150 TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario isn’t a bellwether for anything – other than the 161-year-old brand‘s ongoing and desperate attempt to flog a Chinese-made Snapdragon-powered smartwatch that can’t begin to compete with the Apple Watch.
No app store? Two grand? Geddowdaheah. But in and of itself, yes, Super Mario’s animated entry into the world of horology is fun! Sean tells the tale:
Once a daily step tracking goal is set, Mario greets the wearer each day as the watch is strapped on with an animated doffing of his hat before the dial transitions to standard display.
Once 25 percent of the step goal is reached, another dial animation plays with Mario receiving a Super Mushroom that makes him
hallucinate grow. At 50 percent, the wearer unlocks another animated sequence with Mario descending into an iconic green Warp Pipe, and another plays at 75 percent completion with Mario picking up a Super Star that makes him invincible with a flashing rainbow glow for a short period.
Lastly, when the wearer fully completes their daily step goal, Mario emerges for one final animation to climb the Goal Pole that famously ends each level of Super Mario Bros.
So, Mario steps up to make not sitting at your desk fun! What else? Nothing. Mario doesn’t embark on fast-paced adventures. Mario doesn’t race carts. Mario doesn’t play golf. Mario doesn’t do origami. Mario doesn’t even say “It’s a-me, Mario!”
Why isn’t the 45mm TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario a proper game watch with sound and blow-your-socks-off graphics? Again, blame the Snapdragon chip’s processing power and battery life. Activate GPS tracking, music and/or heart rate monitoring and TAG’s timepiece gives up the ghost after just six hours.
There’s also the fact that TAG Heuer doesn’t make game platforms. As far as I remember, they’re in the business of making (mostly) Swiss luxury watches. You could say that the TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch upon which Mario cavorts is a luxury watch like a Kia Rio is a luxury car, but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Except to say this: I understand that TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault – the 26-year-old son of the LMVH Group CEO Bernard Arnault – wants to put his stamp on the brand. He’s trying to steer TAG towards younger folks, who don’t know Steve McQueen from Millard Fillmore.
But Fred should pay close attention to the industry insider who told forbes.com that TAG should “come alive in strong, consistent and authentic ways.” That would be Mr. Arnault himself, of course. What was that about being your own worst enemy?