TAG Heuer Super Mario. It’s-a Me!

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TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario

“[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:

TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario standing proud

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.

TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario getting bigger

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.

TAG Heuer Connected x Super Mario flag

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? 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.

TAG box

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?

20 COMMENTS

  1. Am I the only one annoyed by him having a complete five fingered hand? Doesn’t everybody know that cartoons only get four? Aren’t video game characters essentially cartoons?

    “…the gamification concept for fitness-oriented smartwatches…” is a pretty good phrase. I’m not sure if it’s being copied or not.

    My assumption is that the watch vibrates or beeps to alert the wearer to see the silly scene? This seems a lot like car touchscreen startup animations. You can’t help but stare for the first week or so, then quickly forget all about it and don’t even look anymore.

  2. Was this project run by the CEO? I would assume so, since he is of the age group closest to this genre… Some storied franchises being transferred into the hands of the next generation… inheritances like this scare me for the future of luxury watchmaking.

  3. I understand we want things from childhood as a way to remember the past, but I don’t understand the perpetual child syndrome in which you use things that children enjoy in your daily life or presented to others in public.

    I’d like to get the Snoopy Speedmaster as a reminder of my beagle that just passed, but at the same times, it’s a cartoon and silly. I dunno, just a thought.

    • I can’t entirely claim that when I became a man, I put away childish things. But I didn’t really continue pursuing them, and certainly not at premium prices.

      • I get whimsy. I’ve bought two different “Rick and Morty” watches. Whimsy as a flex works better when the watch costs $20, not $2k.

  4. The Audemars Piguet Black Panther Marvel is an art watch that elevates the Audemars Piguet brand.

    The TAG Heuer Connected is the Vertu of smart watches. Or maybe its sister watch, the Hublot Big Bang e, is the Vertu of smart watches, and the TAG Heuer Connected is a poor man’s Vertu.

    Either way it is a disposable electronic appliance less capable than the mass market versions.

    As for Mario? A quick Google search tells me there are plenty of Mario watch faces are available for the Apple watch, along with full on Nintendo emulators and an official Pokemon game.

        • Not everything can be measured by commercial success. The Aztec sold well but damaged the brand (and hurt my eyes).

          • If there ever was a fugly car. The Aztec was it. In the car world, “Aztec” became synonymous with “fugly car.”

          • There is an analog to the Aztec in the AP lineup, and it’s the 11.59. GM boldly predicted the large crossover future with the Aztec, but completely screwed up the overall design. Just like some aspects of the 11.59 *may* predict the luxury watch future, but AP completely screwed up the overall design.

            The AP Black Panther is tough to match to a car. I’ll have to think of a luxury car that sold out and resold at three times MSRP+, was driven by famous aspirational people (maybe bought, maybe got at no cost but still decided to drive frequently despite already having large car collections – no famous people drove an Aztec just because they got one for free), and was sniped at on car sites, often by people that are outside of the market for the brand.

          • famous aspirational people

            They might be aspirational (for their own benefit). But, they’re hardly inspirational.

            Those morons…. I mean folks… just add to the reasons NOT to buy or wear anything associated with them. Seriously.

            Celebrities sold a lot of Toyota Priuses. Prii?
            And Teslas.

  5. I think asking a 6 year old to save $2,150 for this watch is a big ask. Anyway by the time the kid saves up enough, he’ll be old enough to appreciate a Swatch Flik Flak Spider Man instead.

  6. Regarding the top photo: I actually like the idea of a subdial where some toon is pointing with his hands a la Mickey Mouse, if that’s what they are doing. However the digital representation of the exposed date wheel that nobody wants to see is despicable.

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