This Meridiist, it makes phone calls too?

This is the Tag Heuer Meridiist Diamonds. It has a lousy 2-megapixel camera, only 2GB of storage, and only GPRS data (no EDGE, no 3G). So in that respect it’s exactly like a $300 Nokia.

But the Meridiist starts from somewhere around $10,000 and goes upward from there. Here’s why:

(Those things that look like a cheese grater are diamonds: 1,232 of them.)

And this is the press release, courtesy of WorldTempus.com. Brace yourself for a torrent of total rubbish:

Already considered the imperial regalia of mobile communication instruments, [ed note: uh, no, that’d be Vertu, but carry on] TAG Heuer is taking its elegantly designed and intelligently engineered Meridiist to new levels of luxe with the introduction of two, ultra-glamorous models adorned in pavĂ© diamonds and precious gems stones.

Translation: We glued diamonds to our phone.

All Meridiist communication instruments are furnished with a non-scratch 60.5-carat sapphire crystal display, a hypoallergenic stainless steel body and bespoke digital engineering.

What’s “bespoke digital engineering” when it’s at home? (And, side note, wouldn’t a stainless steel body wreak havoc with the internal antenna?)

The Meridiist contains over 430 mechanical components, many of which are derived from the legendary Tag Heuer chronographs.

It has hour and minute hands?

The entire instrument is assembled by the hands of one specialist overseeing its construction from start to finish. An overall perfect coordination of technical, aesthetic and mechanical attainment makes the Meridiist a pioneer in many fields.

Presumably this one specialist etches the circuit boards and solders the chips and everything. If so, that’d explain why it took five years to build (see below).

The Meridiist Diamonds is presented in a glossy wooden “jewelry” box in which to preserve and store your investment for future generations.

I’ve seen some pretty liberal uses of the word “investment” in my time, but this one takes the cake.

But to be fair to WorldTempus, they’re not the only ones who have drunk deeply from Tag Heuer’s vat of kool-aid. More respectable sites like CNet Asia have printed some complete rubbish as well:

So what does it take to own this luxury handset that has been “conceived to ride the meridians”?

Uh, what?

According to the company, it took more than five years to bring the Meridiist from concept to final product. So the lack of features is a conscious effort on the timepiece maker’s part to include only the essentials.

Spinning a lack of features into a selling point is the sort of backward pitch you only ever hear in the “luxury” goods market. (It doesn’t even have a proper web browser, only a WAP browser.)

Our verdict after spending a few quality minutes with the Meridiist? Barring the fact that only very limited units will be available, which immediately propels you to the upper echelons of rich and exclusive, it also earns you instant elite social status.

Firstly, tautology. Secondly, if you’re hanging around with the sort of crowd where “elite social status” can be conferred by your phone, you need to take a long hard look at yourself. (Unless the year is 2007 and the phone is an unlocked iPhone. That’s different.)

At least the commenters at Engadget have the right idea.

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