Watch these Smart Apple Eaters

Since 1917, connoisseurs of an ancient tradition congregate in Basel, Switzerland. They are all obsessed with the gadget that shows that time. For centuries they have seen the watch go from pockets to wrists. From mechanical to digital. In 2015, they are preparing for the next evolution: to take on smartwatches. This is some of the artillery they are going to use to fight the Apple Watch.

Published: 29th March 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2015 01:50 AM   |  A+A-

Frederique Constant

Frederique Constant is taking a very cautious step into the smartwatch wars with the Horological Smartwatch. The watch is not a full fledged smartwatch; it is a glorified activity tracker that is smart enough to sync with your iPhone by using a secondary dial, which complements the classic analogue watch face. Using the dial you can track activity, monitor your sleep and get active alerts. Since the watch also syncs with Android and iOS phones, you can get a comprehensive summary beautifully laid out on your phones. Since it does not have a bright screen that has to light up every few minutes, you also get two hours of battery life. The 42mm sized watch with a stainless steel case and an alligator strap will be available from June for 950 Euros.

Gucci Puls

Former Black Eyed Peas band member came to Baselworld with many new embarrassments. One: to show that after a number of cringe inducing ‘tech products’ apparently designed by him, is ready to embarrass himself again this year with a new wearable. Two: Gucci’s embarrassing attempt to stay relevant, and the name of the product itself called A follow up to the star’s stab at wearables from last year, this ‘smartwatch’ is supposed to come with built-in 3G connectivity that sets it apart from all other watches as it does not need a phone to operate. If you pair it up with a smartphone, it can work as a fitness tracker, a music controller and as a front camera along with showing you notifications from your phone. Asked about it’s availability and pricing, had one answer. ‘I.don’t.know’.

Vector Watch

wat 2.JPGThe smartwatch from Vector was the boldest smartwatch at Baselworld because it is a full fledged smartwatch that is made by a new startup headed by the former CEO of Timex. It will come in two shapes: the round Luna and the rectangular Meridian. Unlike the Apple Watch that doesn’t work with Android phones and the Android watch that doesn’t work with the iPhone, the Vector watch will be compatible and work with iOS and Android phones and even Windows phone devices. It will use clever tweaks like not lighting up for notifications unless you move your wrist. You can pre-order the Meridian versions starting from $199 and the Luna versions from $349.

 Kairos Smartwatch

watch1.jpgS outh Korean startup Kairos is making a fully mechanical watch with Japanese and Swiss movements. But it is also smart because it has a display on top of the mechanical movement. So you can do everything that you would do with a typical smartwatch like answering calls, getting notifications etc. while still retaining a beautiful mechanical watch. And if you are not happy with having an OLED display on top of your watch movement, you can opt for the T-Band edition which leaves the watch face alone to put the digital modern features in the wrist band. Typically costing $1200, the Kairos watches are obviously expensive and the company is promising to start shipping orders in May so sceptics can put it through the paces.

Tag Heuer

Luxury watch maker Tag Heuer did not come to Baselworld with a smartwatch but nevertheless hogged all the headlines because of the announcement that it is partnering with tech giants Google and Intel to come up with a luxury smartwatch that can supposedly take on the $17,000 gold edition Apple Watch. Rumoured to be a replica of the famous black Carrera, the watch is supposed to still retain the design of a classic watch with the hardware and software coming from Silicon Valley and ‘the case, the dial, the design, the idea, the crown’ coming from the Swiss.

Bulgari Diagono Magnesium

The famous Italian luxury brand Bvlgari came to Baselworld not with an actual watch but with a concept for a very smart watch. Made from magnesium and ceramic, the Diagono Magnesium is said to be available before the end of the year and is supposed act as a digital safe for your data albeit on your wrist while telling you the time. The Swiss made, mechanical, self-winding watch will continue the great tradition of Bvlgari while adding a new twist. An NFC enabled secure chip which provides users with an electronic protected passport called the Luxury Wrist Vault. This is supposed to enable the watch to do everything from keeping your data safe, making payments and logging in securely to a digital community to even opening doors and starting your luxury car engine using that NFC chip. If and when it is made, Bvlgari says it will be produced in collaboration with an already established Swiss digital security company called WISeKey, so buyers need not worry about an Italian luxury brands ability to keep their digital lives safe.


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