The Apple Watch Series 6 when released in 2020 was the best smartwatch for many prospective buyers. If you have an iPhone and the cash to spend on a smartwatch, it makes perfect sense.
But what if your budget is considerably larger, you’ve always liked the idea of owning a Swiss timepiece (or perhaps have a collection already) and are intrigued by the idea of a luxury smartwatch? Then allow us to introduce you to the TAG Heuer Connected.
Launched back in 2015, the Connected, which works with iPhone and Android, is considered the first Swiss smartwatch, and after several updates over the years it remains the country’s most prominent wearable.
But Swiss watches do not come cheap, and at £1,495 the latest TAG Heuer Connected is no exception. The question is, with the Apple Watch Series 6 priced from £379 to a TAG-rivalling £1,449, can it be considered a luxury watch in its own right?
It's worth noting that both of these models have now been replaced, the TAG Heuer with the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 and the Apple Watch with the Apple Watch Series 7, which is now the best Apple Watch you can buy.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs TAG Heuer Connected: Design
The Apple Watch is the more tech-based of the two smartwatches. It has a screen that is rectangular instead of circular, uses a proprietary strap system, and a rotating Digital Crown that is used for scrolling through content instead of adjusting the time.
It is available in two sizes, with case footprints of 40mm by 34mm and 44mm by 38mm; both models are 10.7mm thick and weight varies from 30.5g to 47.1g Both feel more compact on the wrist than most other smartwatches, and both can be fitted to a huge range of straps made by Apple and a great many third parties.
The Watch Series 6, as with all Apple watches before it, is controlled by tapping and swiping at the touchscreen display, as well as pressing the side button, and pressing and rotating the Digital Crown. There’s also Siri for voice control, should you want it.
The standard Apple Watch has an anodised aluminium case and comes with a rubber sports strap; case colour options here are silver, space grey, gold, blue and red via the (Product) Red charity. If you want a more luxurious look, Apple also sells a polished stainless steel model in silver, graphite and gold, and the range is topped by titanium cases in natural titanium and space black.
A key difference is how the TAG Heuer is protected by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, whereas the Apple Watch has to make do with glass on the front, but at least gets sapphire on the back.
All models of the Series 6 are water-resistant to 50 metres.
As for the latest 2020 version of the TAG Heuer Connected, this is a larger smartwatch with its sole 45mm case option, chunky lugs and heavy-duty rubber strap, plus optional steel bracelet and a black, all-titanium model sits at the top of the tree with a £1,950 price tag.
The TAG features a fixed ceramic bezel around its touchscreen display with second indicators at five-second intervals. Taking inspiration from TAG’s Carrera chronograph watches, the Connected has a pair of push buttons at the two and four o’clock positions, sandwiching a crown that is rotated to scroll through content and acts as the power button.
Although not as varied as the Apple Watch range, the TAG Heuer Connected is available with a classic steel case with black ceramic bezel, or with a blue ceramic bezel and matching ‘racing-grade’ blue rubber strap. Industry-standard lugs mean almost any strap can be fitted to the Tag, should you want to give it a different look.
Including its strap, the TAG weighs between 86g and 179g, and the case on all variants is 13.5mm thick. All models have a 5 ATM water resistance.
Both the Apple and TAG have always-on displays, where the time is constantly shown throughout the day and ready to see at a glance. Rotate your write or tap the screen and both wake up to reveal more information.
On that note, both have a range of face options to customise, with the TAG sticking more to traditional dials resembling other TAG models, while the Apple Watch lets you add a wide range of digital complications showing your calendar events, daily exercise, the weather and more.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs TAG Heuer Connected: Hardware
Like comparing iPhones with Android, it is tricky to put the Apple Watch up against the TAG Heuer Connected, as they use different processors and run different software. In the former’s case, that is Apple’s watchOS system running on the company’s own S6 64-bit, dual-core processor, which is joined by Apple’s W3 wireless chip and U1 ultra wideband chip.
The TAG Heuer Connected is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100, which is specifically designed to run Google’s Wear OS software. The TAG has 8GB of storage, mostly for holding music to listen to via Bluetooth-connected earphones, while the Apple Watch has a far more expansive 32GB.
Both watches have a heart rate monitor on the back of their case for health and fitness tracking. They also have integrated GPS for accurate outdoor run tracking, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Apple Watch can be bought with an optional LTE/4G connection, meaning it can stream music and handle calls and messages without being connected to an iPhone; the TAG Heuer misses out on this.
Battery life is up to 18 hours for the Apple Watch, while TAG Heuer says the Connected can manage “a full day” that includes one hour of exercise.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs TAG Heuer Connected: Features
Both watches place a keen focus on health and fitness tracking. The 2020 version of the TAG Heuer Connected is the first to be fitted with a heart rate monitor, elevating its fitness-tracking credentials. Together with GPS, plus a compass, accelerometer and gyroscope, the Swiss smartwatch can track walking, running, hiking, cycling and a range of other sports and activities.
A dedicated golf app tracks your progress around the course, showing a map of each hole and estimating your distance to the hole, while also keeping score for your round. It might not be a fully-fledged fitness watch like those offered by Garmin, but the TAG Heuer Connected (especially with the rubber strap option) does a solid job of offering enough health and fitness functions to be more than just a stylish timepiece.
The Apple Watch Series 6 does much of this too (minus the dedicated golf app, although third-party options are available). There is also sleep tracking, automatic exercise detection, a guided breathing app, an app for taking an ECG, and new for the Series 6 is the option to monitor your blood oxygenation level.
The Watch also alerts you if an unusually high or low heart rate is detected, and if you take a heavy fall and don’t get up the Watch asks if you are okay. If you don’t respond, it will automatically call for help.
Away from health and fitness, both do all of the usual smartwatch tasks, like handling calls, messages and notifications via your Bluetooth-connected smartphone.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs TAG Heuer Connected: Price
On the face of it, the TAG Heuer Connected is considerably more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 6. The former starts at £1,495 for the model with a rubber strap, rising to £1,650 when paired with a steel strap, before topping out at £1,950 for the all-titanium model.
This is expensive for a smartwatch, but is perfectly fitting for a timepiece from TAG Heuer and the sporty end of the Swiss market generally.
The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at just £379 for the 40mm model with aluminium case and rubber or canvas Sport Loop strap. At the more premium end of the range, Apple sells the stainless steel Watch Series 6 with a Milanese Loop steel strap from £699, and the Hermès range, complete with luxury leather straps and unique digital dials, starts at £1,199, bringing it closer to the TAG Heuer.
These Hermès models extend up to £1,449, putting it just £50 before the TAG Heuer.
Find the best prices for the two smartwatches below:
Apple Watch Series 6 vs TAG Heuer Connected: Conclusion
It may seem strange to compare these two watches, but as we have demonstrated above their prices are almost identical when the top-end Hermès Apple Watch is compared to the most affordable TAG Heuer Connected.
Both work with iPhones, but only the TAG works with Android phones too, and both offer a good range of health and fitness tracking features. The Apple Watch ultimately wins that contest, but if you are looking for a luxury smartwatch that is considerably rarer and attached to the history of a 161-year-old Swiss firm, the TAG Heuer Connected presents a compelling high-end alternative.