Smartwatches are every where these days. Everyone is talking about it. The watches that they normally refer to are the ones made by technology or phone companies like Apple, Pebble, Samsung, Motorola, Sony etc. But the traditional watch makers are not to be left behind, and many of them have already ventured into the arena with their own versions. They are mostly traditional looking timepieces with the added functionality of a smart watch. The jury is out on which of the camps will eventually succeed. Here we take a look at what the traditional watch makers have been up to
Tag Heuer’s launch of its first smartwatch last week has shone the light on traditional watch makers who are upping their game in the digital arena to catch up with the likes of Apple, Pebble, Samsung, Motorola, Sony etc. The jury is out on which of the camps will eventually win the battle ahead. Here’s our look at the smartwatches from the traditional watchmaking brands
TAG Heuer Connected
- Comes in a 46.2 mm titanium case with black carbide coating. The looks are inspired by the legendary TAG Heuer Carrera.
- The watch is a product of TAG Heuer’s partnership with Intel and Google.
- Comes in a choice of three Carrera type dials: chronograph, three-hand dial and GMT, each in three colour options —, pearl white, deep blue and black.
- The hands of the watch are lit at all time, even when in energy-saving mode.
- The smartwatch functions work in conjunction with a smartphone. The watch runs on Google’s Android Wear operating system, but works with both iPhone and Android phones.
- It connects with smartphones via Bluetooth. Comes with a 4GB onboard storage for media and apps. Has a 30 hour battery under normal conditions. Charging is through a USB port.
- The watch features a sapphire crystal touch screen. The touching of a counter opens up apps like Translate, Fit, voice search, maps, etc. in full screen. Some controls are lodged in the crown at 3 o’clock. A small microphone enables communications via Google voice control.
- All notifications are indicated through vibrations.
- Is currently priced at $1500.
Breitling B55 Connected
In 2014, Breitling presented Caliber B50, an electronic multifunction chronograph movement with analog and digital displays which offered pilots a vast range of innovative functions. B55 Connected, is the next generation connected chronograph that allows for much of the functions to be controlled through a smart phone. These include an electronic tachometer, a countdown/countup system enabling a sequence of countdown and `long duration’ timing (Mission Elapsed Time) operations as well as a `chrono flight’ device that is useful in recording flight times while memorizing the take-off time, landing time and date.
The two ultra-legible LCD (liquid crystal display) screens features a high-intensity backlighting system that is activated by pressing the crown – or when the user tilts his wrist at a more than 35° angle, which is particularly effective when the hand is gripping aircraft controls or a steering wheel. The new Breitling Caliber B55, a SuperQuartz movement that drives this watch is ten times more accurate than standard quartz.
Casio G-Shock GBA-400
This G-Shock which supports Bluetooth Smart connectivity offers greatly enhanced features for enjoying music when paired with G’MIX , a new music app for smartphones that can control audio settings, add live effects that simulate concert sound, and identify the names of songs from music playing nearby and then display the song title on the digital display of the watch. Song identification is triggered remotely by turning the rotary switch on the watch, without having to touch the smartphone. By operating the watch buttons, the user can trigger preset or customized tones on a paired smartphone.
Frederique Constant Smartwatch
This regular watch has an added feature that makes it a smart watch. Powered by MotionX, it is capable of bi-directional communication with iPhone and Android apps. So while it displays central hours and minutes hands, it also has a smart counter is positioned at 6 o’clock. Instead of a digital screen, the information is displayed through the laser cut hands in the counter. In conjunction with a smart phone, it can track sleep patterns as well as walking and running activity. While the shorter hand points to the current date, the longer one indicates the progress of your activity goal. If you have achieved half your daily goal of goal of walking 10,000 steps, it will point to 50, indicating that 50% of the target has been reached. The watch does not need to be recharged and maintains around 25 months autonomy with a regular watch battery cell.
This watch has been created by Guess in collaboration with Martian Watches, a well known American maker of fashionable smart watches. It incorporates a dual mode functionality that offers a voice command function via classic Bluetooth, enabling the reception of hands-free and eyes-free notifications to the wrist from thousands of popular apps and programs on Android and iOs phones. A microphone and an audio speaker connects it to the smartphone’s resident voice command app, allowing the wearer to give voice commands, talk and listen, and respond to texts and emails directly from the watch.
In addition, users can receive notifications on an Oled window in the bottom half of the dial through the iOS or Android app of their phone. Its display though is restricted to 40 characters. The wearer can also create customised vibration patterns to distinguish between various alert types including text, WhatsApp, tweet, mail etc. It also recalls the most recent notifications with just a tap of the watch glass. The analogue watch has a 2-year battery life, while the smart part of the watch has to charged separately using the inbuilt micro-usb.
This is essentially a digital device, which IWC calls an `intelligent tool’ that is embedded in the straps of the brand’s existing mechanical timepieces. It will track the wearer’s physical activities and also allow him/her to control devices connected to what the company calls `Internet of Things’. More information on this will come in due course. This is how Georges Kern, the CEO of IWC Schaffhausen explained the idea behind the device:“Seeing that many of our customers and brand ambas¬sadors are wearing connected devices alongside their IWC watches, we chose to work with a like-minded digital technology company to develop an elegant, aesthetically complementary solution that eliminates the need to have additional devices on the opposing wrist to your IWC. But, and this is essential, we do not touch our beautiful watches – an ‘IWC’ stays a mechanical handcrafted timepiece. We’ve engineered an intelligent design solution which perfectly integrates and underlines our product worlds.”
Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap
This is not a smart watch in the conventional sense. It is an integrated technology device that that is attached to a specially made wrist band of the mechanical Mont Blanc watch, which it calls an e-strap. The device has an inbuilt touch screen display through which it connects via Bluetoot to Android and iOS smart phones, through which the wearer can track activities, receive notifications and remote control the camera and music. It also incorporates a Find-me function to locate the phone within a 30 metre range. In due course three new models of the watch will be introduced, all of them equipped with mechanical automatic winding movements: a chronograph, a UTC (United Time Coordinated) with a second time zone and a three hands watch with the essential functionality of hours, minutes, seconds and date. The case will come in two sizes 42 and 43mm.
Apple Watch Hermes
This watch represents the collaboration of two icons: Apple’s unparalleled product innovation with the heritage and craftsmanship of Hermès. It is essentially an Apple watch with all its known functionalities: receive and respond to notifications from the wearer’s iPhone, track daily physical activities like walking, jogging etc, control music through voice command, etc. But what has raised the bar with the Hermes collaboration is its stunning leather strap, that has French luxury giant’s mark all over. The handcrafted leather band comes in three options: single tour, double tour and cuff. The steel case of the watch comes in two sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm. The case features an etching of the Hermès signature and includes a customizable face with three exclusive dial designs inspired by Clipper, Cape Cod and Espace Hermès watches.