With the smartwatch arena set to explode in 2015 thanks in part to the introduction of Apple Watch, traditional watchmaking companies don’t quite know how to react. Whether skeptical of the digital machine or making moves to adapt to modern trends, the biggest names in the business are all taking much more notice of Apple and Google nowadays, and Montblanc has just announced an interesting “e-Strap” that brings smartwatch features to ordinary, analog watches.
There’s no doubt that Apple, in particular, has thrown down the gauntlet to the watch industry. The company’s lead designer Jony Ive has already suggested that Switzerland, whose economy is heavily supported by its watchmaking endeavors, is in big trouble, and with the Mac maker planning some high-end designs incorporating expensive materials like rose gold, even the more seasoned horophile may consider the jump from analog to digital.
But where Apple always tends to spark a frenzy with a new product line, Montblanc wants to ensure that fans of the intricacies and craftsmanship that goes into analog watches can dabble in digital without completely abandoning their roots. Hence, the so-called e-Strap, which can be attached to an analog watch and is capable of hooking up to your mobile device via Bluetooth as a smartwatch would.
Compatible with Android and, notably, iOS, it packs a 0.9-inch monochromatic OLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 128 x 36, and boasts an impressive five days of battery life. The display will sit beneath the wrist, essentially opposite to the analog watch face, and display information such as notifications, music playback controls, and standard perks you’d expect from any other smartwatch.
A five-day battery life is definitely impressive, but the weekly charging cycles will still take a little adjusting to, particular if you’re accustomed to wearing wind-up watches or those that last for years before a battery replacement is required.
At 250 Euros (around US$300), it’s nicely-priced, although before it sells singly for all 42 and 43mm Timewalker watches, will first be offered as an optional add-on for those picking up a selected Timewalker Urban Speed watch. However, if you think the price is a little too steep for your liking then you should also check out the Kairos T-band, which starts at half the price, and has some pretty awesome features to boot.
Watch fans, does the idea of a ‘smartwatch’ strap on an analog watch appeal to you more than, say, a rose gold Apple Watch?
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