Welcome to Dialed In, Esquire's weekly column bringing you horological happenings and the most essential news from the watch world since March 2020.
It's really rather surprising that no one thought of it before, but Tag Heuer just launched—and apparently sold out already—an update to its connected smart watch that is, gloriously, inspired by Super Mario. The move is a collaboration with Nintendo and touted as the first of an ongoing series with the veteran games developer. The interface of the watch has been fully redesigned in a visual language and color palette inspired by the first Super Mario Bros. game of 1985.
But rather than just create software, Tag Heuer ensured that for this collector’s edition of the third-gen Connected Watch, subtle details appear even in the hardware itself. Mario’s "M" logo is etched into the chronograph pushers and steel clasp, with straps available in black leather on red or perforated red rubber.
When Apple first unveiled its smart watch in 2015, the traditional Swiss watch industry for the most part dismissed as a gimmick. Only a handful of brands sat up and took notice. Fewer did anything about it. But Tag Heuer debuted its own smart watch, the first generation of the Connected watch, just seven months after Apple—which makes it more than likely it had been in development long before the Cupertino tech powerhouse's unveiling. Successive generations of the Connected watch have optimized the performance and enhanced the user experience, not least because of the Tag Heuer Sport app, a purpose-built platform to unite all the fitness capabilities in one place.
While there are obvious entertainment possibilities of using an iconic gaming figure like Mario on a connected watch, Tag Heuer went rather further by tying Mario directly to its fitness app. The ever-busy Mario—who has sold more than 370 million games since his debut in 1985—helps you monitor your fitness activity during the day. As the steps increase, the graphics of the watch dial become increasingly animated. Reaching milestones in your daily step total triggers a new animation on the dial, a watch-world take on the video game easter egg phenomenon. Think of it as a 1-UP, but for your real life.
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