The watch never really went away, but in recent years since the dawn of the cell phone era, it’s taken a back seat, waiting for technology to evolve enough for it to step back into the limelight. That time is now, with the dawn of the smart analog watch.
I did a bit of casual market research the other day, just milling around Blackheath and Greenwich Park counting how many people wear watches. I was surprised that about 1 in 4 people were wearing one. I didn’t get too many closeups, but I’m reckoning that the majority of them were traditional watches, not smartwatches.
With the age of wearable technology bringing smartphone type features to our wrists, that “1 in 4” number will surely increase.
The Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, LG Watch Urbane and the likes have elevated the popularity of smartwatches and bought them into the mainstream. Traditional Swiss watch makers, who have always ruled the industry seem to have been observing from the background, waiting until the right time to enter and re-conquer.
We’ve already heard Swiss watch makers, such as Tag Heuer and Swatch announce their plans to release a smartwatch in the near future, but they’ve been left in the wake of their compatriot, Mondaine, who started taking pre-orders for their new smartwatch yesterday.
Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart
The Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart was announced back in February and then unveiled at the Baselworld event in March. Now, a scratch over four months later and customers can hand over cash for the Swiss made smartwatch.
To commemorate the Helvetica font which was born in 1957 and then became one of the most popular typefaces of the 20th century, a limited amount of 1,957 smartwatches will be made. Each of these limited edition smartwatches comes with a unique engraving on the side indicating its number in the production line of 1,957.
Pre-orders for the limited edition 1957 close September 6, 2015. According to Mondaine, non-limited versions of the Helvetica 1 Smart will follow shortly after.
The screen on the Mondaine Helvetica Smart 1957 has an antireflective coating and is made from sapphire crystal. The case that holds everything in place is crafted out of brushed stainless steel, and the strap that holds it on your wrist from soft premium leather.
MMT Horological Smartwatch Open Platform
Activity tracking and sleep monitoring are the hottest trends in wearables at the moment, and they have certainly inspired the forthcoming generation of Swiss smartwatches.
MMT is a joint venture company formed by Silicon Valley’s Fullpower Technologies and Geneva based Union Horlogère Holdings. The result is the Horological Smartwatch Open Platform, which uses MotionX-365 technology.
MotionX, by Silicon Valley firm, Fullpower, is a patented sleep and activity monitoring ecosystem that includes circuit design, sensor-fusion firmware, communications stacks, smartphone apps, and cloud infrastructure. It’s found in some of the world’s most popular fitness wearables, such as Jawbone and Fitbit. So, it’s not just a case of Swiss watch makers suddenly becoming an experts in motion detection!!
Mondaine, is one of the initial licensees of Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT) along with Frederique Constant and Alpina who have also recently been making their plans known about their Horological smartwatches.
With MotionX behind the scenes you can expect some great activity tracking features. The Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart also provides light and deep sleep analysis. Within the iOS and Android compatible app is a digital coach that can adapt to the user’s activities. Also expect Quartz movement, always-on time and date, smart sleep alarms, get active alerts, a push button crown, a water-resistant rating of 3ATM, and around two years of battery life.
At the moment the price for the Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart 1957 is $850, but that’s expected to rise to $950 in September.
If you want to take advantage of the special pre-order price and be one of the 1,957 limited edition owners, then head over to mondaine.com