The Kingsman film franchise helmed by Director Matthew Vaughn was first put on the map in 2014 with the film “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Matthew’s unique take on the spy genre garnered rave reviews and quickly established the Kingsman franchise.
For me, the central charm to these films is their beautifully directed non-stop action coupled with a comic wit that only the Brits could pull off. For the newest film (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), director Matthew Vaughn sought to outfit the characters with watches that all Kingsman agents could wear. These watches would have to be able to engage in fight scenes, underwater shots, and various stunts. For the male agents, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular seemed to fit the bill. TAG Heuer also went the extra mile to produce a special edition Kingsman piece for the female characters in the film, the Monaco Lady Kingsman.
When spies need to be on time
One would imagine that spies maintain a hectic schedule coupled with fits of danger and intrigue. Sort of like the old quote: “moments of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.” As such, Tag Heuer kept all the original functionality of the Connected Modular and added small touches of elegance. The new Kingsman dials and pink gold lugs allow the film’s characters to blend into situations ranging from cocktail galas to high-speed chases down the River Thames.
While James Bond may have worn a vintage Rolex and later an Omega, this may be the first spy film franchise that utilizes an electronic smart watch that you can buy. Specifically, one that has all the features we wished we had as kids watching spy films. From my recollection, I haven’t seen another film with a high-tech watch that wasn’t some creation from the prop department. The accessibility of the very watch you see in the film is certainly a plus.
Unboxing and syncing
Shortly before the film’s premier, I was given the Kingsman Connected Modular for an extended review. When the watch arrived, I opened the nearly air tight packaging which housed a textured box-within-a-box which opened to unveil the Kingsman watch. The watch rests comfortably on a felt pillow inside of an octagonal slot. The charging cable/pad, power brick, and instruction packet are each neatly packaged with icons that help identify each component.
While the watches are pre-charged before leaving the factory, the brand recommends fully charging the lithium battery before using. I found it took approx. two hours to obtain a full charge. Once charged, it was time to sync to my phone. Now that Tag Heuer is using Android Wear 2.0, you can sync to iOS or Android devices using Bluetooth, which allows the watch to connect to approx. 95% of smart phones. I downloaded the Android Wear app on my iPhone and the watch seamlessly synced to my phone and after a quick software update began ingesting my contacts, pictures, calendar appointments, etc. It was quite painless
Unlike previous Connected Modulars, the Kingsman edition comes with a brown leather strap which has a rubber backing that helps to repel sweat. The watch also comes with an orange velvet strap. After making a quick-set adjustment, I found the strap to be quite comfortable. If you’re not a leather strap person, the watch still maintains its modularity allowing you to change the strap and lugs to a color or material of your choosing.
If you’ve seen a Kingsman film, you’ll understand why Tag Heuer went with pink gold lugs for this piece. In each of the movies, the actors wear bespoke suits, fitted hats, gloves, and even tailor-made weaponry. It’s only natural that they have a watch that can match their suit and accessories in a very elegant way.
At 45mm, the watch is standard sized for a smartwatch that uses the Intel Atom Z34XX platform. The piece had a bold presence on my 7.5” wrists. Which isn’t to say it’s large or oversized, it’s just totally representative of the current size of the technology utilized.
I’ve previously written about the Connected Modular but having only handled pre-production models before, this was a good chance to see how the technology has evolved. I found the graphical interface of the Android Wear 2.0 to be far snappier and responsive than the previous version. Additionally, the icons are more refined and less cartoonish. Tag Heuer continues to make improvements to the screen brightness which helps to allow the watch to be read in the sunlight.
The key component of the Kingsman Connected Modulars are the included special edition dials. Wearers can choose from a midnight blue or gray dial each emblemized with the Kingsman logo at 9 o’clock. One particularly fun feature is when the time strikes 10:10, the watch will vibrate and a Kingsman logo appears on the dial.
Regarding battery life, I found that when fully charged, I could generally get a full day’s use out of the watch. Moreover, if you use your phone as much as I do (Instagram, Email, Messaging, WhatsApp, etc) you may see drain similar to your phone which could result in having to do a mid-day charge. However, if you use the watch as it’s intended, for the occasional message reply, Instagram like, calendar alert, or dictation you’ll be just fine.
This is TAG Heuer’s first appearance in a Kingsman film, the producers used a Bremont Kingsman Special Edition in the first film. Since the Golden Circle script called for a smart watch, and since Bremont only makes mechanical watches, Tag Heuer’s Connected pieces seemed like a good fit.
In the press release, Matthew Vaughn added: "For Kingsman: The Golden Circle, we needed a connected watch for our agents. We looked at the different options available, but none of them were elegant enough for a Kingsman. Then I saw an interview on Bloomberg TV with Jean-Claude Biver about his connected watch, and it became immediately obvious; the Kingsman agents would wear the TAG Heuer Connected."
The additional functionality over a mechanical watch and the inclusion of a dedicated Kingsman face, allowed director Matthew Vaughn to have his actors utilize a face or app that corresponds to the scene they’re filming. Without giving away too much, there are multiple scenes in the film where the characters utilize their Connected Modulars. We’ve included a few photos here for your enjoyment.
We were also sent the TAG Heuer Monaco Ladies Kingsman. As women are often afterthoughts in the realm of watch product placements in film, this piece was a refreshing surprise. The 37mm Quartz Monaco comes with a brown “sunray” dial with thirteen diamonds (0.10 ct each) on the indices. Once broken in, the matte brown leather strap is as silky and comfortable as you would expect from Tag Heuer. Since my collecting tastes tend to skew smaller, I even found myself tempted to wear the piece.
My girlfriend assumed reviewing duties for this piece. She found the watch to be extremely wearable for almost any occasion. The diamonds added an understated charm that embodied the role of a female Kingsman. I can attest that it looked quite nice on her.
Both the men’s and ladies Kingsman watches come across as well executed timekeepers with nods to the film’s essence. In the future, I’d like to see Connected campaigns that enable producers and brands to simultaneously display film content or special engagements right on the wearers wrist (with their permission of course). I think there is a lot of potential in the Android Wear 2.0 platform and we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of functionality.
While I may not have the physical dexterity to be a Kingsman, I certainly felt far smarter than I am whilst wearing the Connected Modular Kingsman. My friends couldn’t help but notice that I wasn’t wearing a mechanical watch, but when I explained the concept of the Modular and the film tie-in, their curiosity was piqued.
No bad guys were injured in the making of this review.
As of press time, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular Kingsman is 3,650 USD, and the TAG Heuer Monaco Ladies Kingsman retails for 2,350 USD