April 23, 2008 If your Swiss watch has been complaining that it doesn't want to be seen in public with your mobile phone any more, you could do worse than check out Tag Heuer's first foray into the handset market. The Meridiist will feature high-grade steel casings, unscratchable dual crystal displays and nearly a month of standby time. Naturally it looks very classy too, but at up to US$6200, without any mention of 3G connectivity, it could be more a piece of palm jewelery than a serious telephone.
Tag Heuer is famous for its chronograph innovations since 1860 - including the first wristwatch in 1914 and the first stopwatch accurate to 1/100th of a second in 1916. The Swiss company has recently announced a step into an altogether new market with the release of its Meridiist mobile phone handset.
The company is seeking to differentiate the Meridiist from the market not only by its unpronounceable title, but through top-rate Swiss engineering, beautiful materials and careful hand assembly. To that end, the case is made of corrosion resistant 316L steel, the same grade as Tag uses for its watches. The twin screens (face and top) are unscratchable sapphire crystal, and there's a choice of leather, rubber or crocodile skin coverings.
Spec-wise, the Meridiist will pack a humungous 28 days of standby battery time, or 7 hours talk time. Take your time being impressed by that, because that's about all there is to get excited about technically. The screen is 1.9" QVGA, it has Bluetooth, a 2 megapixel camera and a standard multimedia player.
And the price: €3,400 (US$5,420) to €3,900 (US$6,216) depending on options. As a communications tool, there's so much out there that's vastly superior, but as a high-end fashion accessory, it could well have the edge.