Luxury brand TAG Heuer has paid tribute to its Middle East market with the worldwide launch of its MERIDIIST II mobile phone at an exclusive event in Dubai.
In the new edition, TAG Heuer has given the iconic design a slight facelift. The contemporary version is thinner, lighter and more powerful, with a full sapphire key pad, dual SIM slots and an exclusive 24/7 worldwide personal concierge service.
The mobile is offered in 10 refined exterior options which include full stainless steel, genuine alligator leather, 5N gold accents or 0,9275 carats of diamond keys and shutter logo.
TAG Heuer, which is best known for its distinct luxury watches, takes second place as the global key player for luxury phones after the British mobile phone manufacturer and retailer Vertu.
Serge Simon, the General Manager of Modelabs , the manufacturer and distributor of TAG Heuer mobiles, said the MERIDIIST had been the most iconic phone for TAG Heuer since its launch five years ago, representing 50 percent of total mobile phone sales by Modelabs.
He said although the trend was to smartphones, TAG Heuer chose to take a different route and opt for a simpler feature phone.
“All our distributors where happy to see that it was not a smartphone, they said ‘this is the product that we expected’,” he said.
And even though TAG Heuer chose to take the basic feature route, attention to detail was their primary concern.
“In the basic, you need to be perfect with no compromise,” Simon said. “Our biggest challenge is how to merge two different worlds - the world of luxury that is timeless and mobile phones which are fast moving consumer electronics.”
The Middle East represents 15 percent of Modelabs’ business, making it the company’s third biggest market after Russia and China.
“The Middle East is well perceived for luxury consumption and luxury goods for consumer electronics with good visibility for people who are traveling,” Simon said. “What we see is our customers from Russia and China travel a lot and do their luxury shopping in Dubai.”
According to Simon, mobile phones are the fastest moving segment in the technology industry, with sales of approximately 1.9 billion units a year. By comparison, the luxury mobile industry represented a tiny fraction of that number with sales of about 150,000 units per year with a price range of about $4,000 - $5000.
“In the race of technology, you see even Nokia, the biggest player in the world for about ten years is about to disappear and be sold by Microsoft,” he said. “In this industry, every year is a new challenge. “We are not in this game, we cannot enter this game, we have never been and we will never go in this game because we cannot win.”
The MERIDIIST II has been pitched as a second phone for a customer who is not necessarily looking of the latest technology when shopping for a luxury mobile phone. It is priced at $5,460 to $19,100, depending on the chosen exterior and is distributed by Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons.