Luxury Watch-Makers Join the Smart Watch Game

Innovation in luxury smartwatches comes in part with connectivity that isn’t Wi-Fi, according to CNN. Breitling’s Exospace B55 Connected smartwatch, which leverages Bluetooth connectivity instead of Wi-Fi, falls into this category. The combination of Bluetooth connectivity and improved quartz movement (the latter, for timekeeping precision) is intended to appeal to those who want the functionality of a smart watch without sacrificing the look and feel of a traditional timepiece, Breitling USA President Thierry Prissert told CNN. Various functions of the watch can be adjusted using a smartphone, including setting the time zone or an alarm, measuring blocks of time, and programming alerts to signal the receipt of text messages, calendar notifications, phone calls and emails.

At least one luxury watchmaker has embraced the Android Wear platform for functionality’s sake. That player is Tag Heuer, whose Tag Heuer Connected timepiece, designed in partnership with Google, is pegged by technewstoday.com as the first luxury smart watch to run on the Android Wear platform.This means users have access to Android Wear apps, including voice search, Maps, Translate, and Fit. Purchasing the Tag Heuer Connected also yields free access to four proprietary Tag Heuer apps—Insiders, RaceChrono Pro, Viewrangers, and Golfshot Pro.

Design-wise,“the Tag Heuer Connected hosts a gorgeous round design, which has been the standard for most Tag Heuer watches,” and features the same chronograph dials as the manufacturer’s Carrera models, which give it a traditional mechanical appearance, according to technewstoday.com.

Similarly, Swiss watchmaker Fredrique Constant recently rolled out the Horological Smart, a good fit, technewstoday.com reported, for those who want a watch that “doesn’t give away your classic look, yet provides most features one would expect from a smart watch today.” The watch’s time can be changed on an app that is available for Android and iOS; the app also enables reminder- and alarm-setting. A MotionX module that handles fitness-tracking is built in and not obvious, contributing—along with diamond-cut hands, a fully analogic display, and  a saddle leather strap—to its classic look.

In what CNN.com is calling a “smart watch alternative” because of its non-techie façade, Massimo Dutti has collaborated with Sony on a model that features ambient light sensors and a compass. The “smart watch alternative” also offers a gyroscopic system, GPS, voice control, touch control, and writing-with-gestures capability.

Finally, in a news release issued prior to the opening of Baselworld, Movado Group announced that it will incorporate smart watch technology into its entire brand portfolio this year in collaboration with HP. The Movado brand launched one of its first connected timepieces, Movado BOLD Motion, with HP Inc. in 2015.

Julie Ritzer Ross
Julie Ritzer Ross has been covering all facets of business in a variety of vertical markets, including manufacturing, for the past 35 years and the use of technology in business for the past 25 years. A two-time winner of a Jesse H. Neal Award for business-to-business journalism, her work has appeared in such publications as MICROSOFT EXECUTIVE CIRCLE, CONSUMER GOODS TECHNOLOGY (formerly CONSUMER GOODS MANUFACTURER), VERTICAL SYSTEMS RESELLER, RESELLER MANAGEMENT, RIS NEWS, and INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS.

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