Smart watches have been all the rage for a while now, but there seems to be a growing backlash against the all-computer, all digital approach to wearable technology. Just as in the food industry we are seeing a growth in small batch, locally produced ‘artisan’ products, we are seeing a similar thing happening in some product industries. Although people love tech, they also appreciate the craftsmanship of a Swiss watch, the design, the materials and the precisions engineering that goes into it.
So, in turn the hybrid smart watch was born, which aims to bridge this gap between the digital and the analogue. They tend to be analogue design and engineering with a real face, hands and bezel, but with funky digital parts hidden within. These have been a success, but there still seems to be a gap in the market for something that pushes this a bit further, and means that you can have your faithful, beloved analogue smartwatch on a digital bracelet that incorporates these functions. In turn, this would mean that each could be its own separate entity, ending the compromise between the two opposing forces of analogue and digital all crammed within the watch itself. It would also mean that customisation and personalisation of the watches would be very easy indeed.
This is an avenue that companies have already been exploring, but hardly at all compared to the amount of research and development that has gone into the watches themselves. Some of the more forward thinking brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Fossil watches have made the greatest strides with smart straps, and smaller more innovative crowdfunded projects have also been working towards the goal, but neither with any real tangible success.
Montblanc is probably the best example of this with their ‘e-strap’, a strap with a screen and inbuilt functions that sits where the clasp is and functions as such, and can be retrofitted to other watches. In our opinion this makes the most sense, as you can keep your original watch and retrofit a piece of funky technology to it that brings it up to date – the best of both worlds.