watch

This $350,000 Swiss watch looks like an Apple Watch, chimes to tell the time

Posted by | Apple Watch, Gadgets, watch, watches | No Comments

H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp is back with another Apple Watch lookalike. The $350,000 Watch Concept Black is a ludicrous take on the classic minute repeater design. And on this version, the wearer can only tell the time by chiming the watch.

These sort of watches have a storied history that predate wristwatches by hundreds of years. Called minute repeaters, they allow the wearer to hit a button and the watch will respond with chimes indicating the time of the day. The movements were developed before artificial illumination made it possible for watchmakers to add glow-in-the-dark markings. But this is far from a working man’s watch. H. Moser worked with Manufactures Hautes Complications SA to develop the custom movement for this watch.

Flip the watch over, and the watch’s cost is explained in the custom movement. This minute repeater has a rectangular-shaped movement. It’s special. To chime, two small hammers strike a gong that runs around the outline of the rectangle casing. Despite the odd shape, the watch is capable of producing a chime Hodinkee calls “crisp, clear, and resonant, with none of the dampening you’d expect from a heavy precious metal case.”

To set the time, the wear chimes the watch using the slide on the side of the casing. Then the wearer adjusts the time using markers on the crown. I like it. It’s a simple and clever way to set a watch without hands.

This watchmaker started using the Apple Watch design in 2016 and now has a range of timepieces that mimic the rounded square look in its Swiss Alp Watch line.

H. Moser is known for its concept watches. Don’t expect this watch to be in your local Tourneau. It’s a publicity stunt for H. Moser’s custom watch business that lets the ultra-rich develop one-off timepieces. As for this concept, I’m a fan. The watch demonstrates everything special about the watch industry right now. After years of getting beat up from the Apple Watch, it’s finding its groove in producing both beautiful and affordable mechanical watches and wonderful unattainable timepieces. To be justified, watches do not have to have apps; they just have to delight the wearer — and this $350,000 watch does just that.

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Bellabeat’s new hybrid smartwatch tracks your stress…and goes with your outfit

Posted by | bellabeat, fitness, fitness tracker, Gadgets, Health, smartwatch, watch, Wearables, wellness, women | No Comments

Bellabeat, the company behind a variety of health and wellness wearable devices aimed at women, is now selling its first smartwatch. The device, which is simply called “Time,” was announced earlier this month right in the midst of holiday shopping season. Like other fitness trackers, the watch is capable of basic tasks like counting your steps, tracking sleep patterns and reminding you to move. But unlike traditional smartwatches — which, aesthetically, are still very much just a screen on your wrist — the Time is designed to look like jewelry.

The hybrid device looks like a watch — albeit not a very expensive one.

It’s squarely in the range of fashion jewelry, with either silver or rose gold stainless steel finishes to choose from, and a minimalist watch face that forgoes complications like the date or the moon phase, for example. It even lacks a second hand.

That said, I prefer its cleaner look-and-feel to the gaudier smartwatches put out by brands like Michael Kors and Fossil. (Plus, there’s no Android Wear/Wear OS to contend with here.)

As an analog watch, it has both its pros and cons.

It’s designed to be hypoallergenic so as not to irritate those with sensitive skin, and it has some water resistance. (ATM grade 3, meaning it can withstand a vigorous hand washing and the rain. You can’t swim, bathe or dive with it.)

You also don’t have to charge it, which makes it feel more like a “real” watch than a gadget.

However, there’s a potential downside here, too — the coin cell battery only lasts “up to” six months. You’ll then need to use the tiny tool it ships with to replace the old battery with a new one.

Of course, some will see a user-replaceable battery as a perk. I don’t, but that’s a personal preference on my part.

I much prefer just dropping my Apple Watch onto a charger rather than having to keep up with a small watch tool, which can be easy to lose or misplace in the time between repairs. I’m also not a fan of having to unscrew tiny screws and then finding some sort of small, sharp object to pop out the battery. Perhaps that’s because I have a child with a dozen or so battery-operated toys. I’m constantly unscrewing things to replace batteries, and frankly I don’t need another.

In any event, among the watch’s better aspects is the fact that it packages up fitness and wellness tracking in a device that passes as a regular — and even fairly attractive — piece of fashion jewelry. The Time will go better with some of your outfits where you just don’t think the Apple Watch works — even with one of Apple’s fancier bands.

Of course, it’s not as seamless to use Time as the Apple Watch, which has the Apple platform advantage. (Or an Android smartwatch paired with an Android phone, for that matter.)

Instead, you have to sync your activity between the watch and the third-party Bellabeat app to view things like the steps taken or hours slept. You do so by tapping a sync button in the app and double-tapping on the watch face.

The app can also serve as way to keep up with other aspects of your health and wellness, including your hydration goals, stress, meditation time and your period.

The stress metrics are calculated for you, based on factors like activity levels, sleep quality, reproductive health and meditation over the past week. But hydration and menstruation have to be logged manually (*unless you’re using Bellabeat Spring — see below.)

The mediation tracking only calculates your progress through the app’s own selection of more than 30 included exercises. While it’s nice to have access to those resources included in the app, many people are already using popular meditation apps like Calm or Headspace. An “import” option for externally logged “mindful minutes” would have been nice here.

One of Time’s better features are its silent alarms and inactivity alerts. Instead of pings and loud noises, the watch more calmly reminds you of things with vibrations you configure. There are also included alarms for waking up, taking your vitamins, taking your contraception pill and another general alarm setting, each with their own toggle switches and settings.

There is something to be said for a quieter smartwatch, especially if stress levels are a concern. (There’s also something to be said for a device that’s built by a woman with the needs of women in mind. Remember how long it took for Apple to realize period tracking was a thing?)

That said, it’s unfortunately becoming harder for smaller device makers to compete with the Apple Watch, which has now moved into advanced areas with its Series 4 line, with sports, life-saving ECG and fall detection features, along with smarter workout detection (and yes, you can still swim with it), plus its ability to work with the broader iOS app ecosystem in a more native way.

But the Apple Watch is pricier at $399 and up for current models. Bellabeat’s Time, by comparison, is $179.

The Bellabeat mobile app will work with other Bellabeat products, including its wellness tracker Leaf (which can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, clip, etc.), and $59 smart water bottle, Spring.

Combined, the Spring and Time could be a good entry point into the world of fitness and wellness trackers for those who never felt that wearables and trackers were right for them. Bellabeat’s line is more of a lifestyle choice based just as much on looks as on tech, if not more so.

The question now is whether or not Bellabeat can carve out a big enough slice of the smartwatch market, which continues to be dominated by Apple, to sustain itself in the years ahead.

Bellabeat was a Y Combinator 2014 grad founded by female entrepreneur Urska Srsen, and has raised ~$19 million to date, according to Crunchbase. It previously sold products for expectant mothers, as well, but those have been phased out. Bellabeat declined to share any user metrics or revenue figures, when asked.

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Casio unveils an all-metal G-Shock for those who need real steel

Posted by | Bluetooth, Casio, Clothing, consumer electronics, g-shock, Gadgets, metal, TC, watch | No Comments

The G-Shock is so nerdy that it has become cool, and this latest model, the GMWB5000GD-9, is no exception. Based on the original G-Shock models, this decidedly unsmart (but not dumb) watch features solar charging, atomic timekeeping and a simple Bluetooth connection to your phone. Plus, now it comes in gold or silver-toned metal, a decided departure for the decades-old brand.

This wild redesign takes cues from a solid-gold prototype designed by Casio’s Ibe Kikuo. That blinged-out watch, which could hit the market but will be as expensive as an entire Casio display case, is a bit much. However, these two steel models are quite exciting and very luxe.

“Inspired by the first G-SHOCK model, DW5000C, this upgraded original boasts a modern, lustrous, color way while maintaining a vintage aesthetic,” writes Casio. “The watch also incorporates one of the first and most iconic G-SHOCK case designs, featuring a vintage, square shape case, and bezel with a brick pattern on the face and gorgeous gold color accent.”

At $550 this is a bit pricey for an entry-level quartz watch, but rest assured it will find a foothold in the fashion world as “dorky” becomes even more synonymous with “catwalk-ready.”

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Timex builds its first automatic watch in decades

Posted by | computing, Gadgets, smartwatch, TC, timex, watch | No Comments

Leave your smartwatch on the counter because Timex is back with its first automatic watch in decades. Called the Marlin, this 21-jewel timepiece that hearkens back to the days of “Takes a licking, keeps on ticking.”

The Marlins cost $249 and come in multiple styles. This particular model, in a rich burgundy, looks like something that you’d wear to a Madison Avenue cocktail party after work. Timex has also released manual wind watches for $199 featuring a truly retro design and numerals.

Timex has long been a drug store brand – a brand sold in those cases at big drug stores and aimed at impulse shoppers who needed a watch… any kind of watch. While their Indiglo line of bright, light-up quartz watches was a long-time hit, they really didn’t do much beyond making a few very basic pieces for a non-discerning audience.

Now, however, the company clearly looked at its history and liked what it saw. Timex was one of the first American watch brands to expand on a mass scale and they suffered greatly during the 1980 quartz crisis, a moment when the watch industry went from mechanical movements to electronic. Many watchmakers never recovered or are now a husk of their former glory – Hamilton, for example – but Timex kept at it.

Now that they’ve given automatics and manual winds a try I’m excited to see where they go next. Many watchmakers have noticed that men and women are buying more and more retro watches to offset the creeping smartwatch flood. I’m glad to see the team at Timex is ready to take on this fascinating new world.

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Casio adds modern tech to the classic G-Shock watch

Posted by | Bluetooth, Casio, Clothing, g-shock, Gadgets, smartphone, smartwatches, technology, watch, wearable devices | No Comments

Casio released the first G-Shock watch in 1983. The original set the bar for tough watches with incredible shock resistance to protect the quartz module. It’s a classic and still available for purchase in several forms in 2018.

Recently, Casio released an all-metal version of the watch that features the iconic design but with modern technology like Bluetooth connectivity. This isn’t a smartwatch, but simply a watch that’s a bit smarter than most.

The Bluetooth function is simple and worth a look. It gives owners an easy way to access settings. Instead of navigating through the menus on the watch, owners can use a smartphone app to sync the watch to the phone’s time, adjust settings and set alarms and reminders. It takes just one button press on the watch and for the owner to launch the app. The watch does not have to be connected through the phone’s Bluetooth menu; the app takes care of it all.

I found the experience a refreshing update. I don’t need a smartwatch all the time but there are advantages to connecting a watch to a phone. If this is a glimpse at the future of timekeeping, I’m all in. I enjoy a complicated complication as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s overwhelming to set the primary timezone let alone the alarm. I don’t mind when an app can do it for me.

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The Casio Rangeman GPR-B1000 is a big watch for big adventures

Posted by | Casio, Clothing, consumer electronics, Europe, g-shock, Gadgets, gps, Nevada, New York, TC, travel companion, utah, watch, wireless charger | No Comments

The Casio Rangeman GPR-B1000 is comically large. That’s the first thing you notice about it. Based on the G-Shock design, this massive watch is 20.2mm thick and about 60mm in diameter, a true dinner plate of a watch. Inside the heavy case is a dense collection of features that will make your next outdoor adventure great.

GPR-B1000, which I took for an extended trip through Utah and Nevada, is an outdoor marvel. It has all of the standard hiking watch features including compass, barometer, altimeter, and solar charging, but the watch also has built-in GPS mapping, logging, and backtracking. This means you can set a destination and the watch will lead you and you can later use your GPS data to recreate your trek or even backtrack out of a sticky situation.

This is not a sports watch. It won’t track your runs or remind you to go to your yoga class. Instead it’s aimed at the backwoods hiker or off piste skier who wants to get from Point A to Point B without getting lost. The watch connects to a specialized app that lets you set the destinations, map your routes, and even change timezones when the phone wakes up after a flight. These odd features make this a traveler’s dream.

The watch design is also unique for Casio. Instead of a replaceable battery the device charges via sunlight or with an included wireless charger. It has a ceramic caseback – a first for Casio – and the charger fits on like a plastic parasite. It charges via micro USB.

It has a crown on the side that controls scrolling through various on-screen menus and the rest of the functions are accessed easily from dedicated buttons around the bezel. The watch is mud- and water-proof to 200 meters and it can survive in minus 20 degrees Celsius temperatures. It is also shock resistant.

The $800 GPR-B1000 is a beefy watch. It’s not for the faint of wrist and definitely requires a bit of dedication to wear. I loved it while hiking up and down canyons and mountains and it was an excellent travel companion. One of the coolest features is quite simply being able to trust that the timezone is correct as soon as you land in Europe from New York.

That said you should remember that this watch is for “Adventure Survival” as Casio puts it. It’s not a running watch and it’s not a fashion piece. At $800 it’s one of Casio’s most expensive G-Shocks and it’s also the most complex. If you’re an avid hiker, however, the endless battery, GPS, and trekking features make it a truly valuable asset.

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The Pansar Augmented watch hides it smarts behind an analog face

Posted by | computing, CRM, Gadgets, instagram, smartwatch, TC, ubiquitous computing, watch, wearable devices | No Comments

The Pansar Augmented is a Swedish smart watch that looks like a standard three-handed wristwatch. However, with the tap of a button, you can view multiple data points including weather, notifications, and even sales data from your CRM.

Pansar is a Swedish watch company that uses Swiss movements and hand assembled components to add a dash of luxury to your standard workhorse watch.

The watch is fully funded on Kickstarter. It costs $645 for early birds.

The watch mostly displays the time but when the data system is activated the hands move to show any data you’d like.

The world is full of interesting data: be it the quest for information on the perfect wave, keeping track on your stock value, or the number of followers you’ve acquired since yesterday. Pansar Augmented collects the data that matters to you and streams it conveniently to the hands of your watch. This is made possible because of the unique dual directional Swiss movement combined with the Pansar Augmented app.

The watch comes in three models: the Ocean Edition that shows “relevant data on weather, wind, and swell amongst others,” the Accelerator Edition that shows website visits or Instagram views, and the Quantifier Edition for the “analytical mind” that wants to track sales numbers.

It’s definitely a clever twist on the traditional smart watch vision and, thanks to some nice styling, these could be some nice pieces for folks who don’t want the distractions of a normal Apple Watch or Android Wear device.

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Leak reveals a new Apple Watch Series 4 with an edge-to-edge display

Posted by | Apple, Apple Watch, Gadgets, TC, watch | No Comments

In addition to a leak showing off photos of the new iPhone XS models, 9to5Mac also got a hold of a photo of the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4. The new Watch, which now sports an edge-to-edge display, is expected to be revealed on September 12, at the just-announced Apple press conference, along with the iPhone XS.

The photos of the forthcoming Apple Watch (which 9to5Mac notes are “not a render”) show off a watch that’s clearly different from the existing editions. The display now stretches to the edge of the watch face, confirming earlier rumors that said Apple was planning to give the Apple Watch its first big redesign since its launch in 2015.

Analysts have been predicting the new watch would sport a 15% larger display, offer extended battery life, and include upgraded health monitoring features.

Image credit: 9to5Mac

Apple is apparently taking advantage of the bigger screen area with a new watch face that packs in a lot more complications.

In the image 9to5Mac published (see above), there’s an analog face that’s practically cluttered with extra complications, including the temperature, stopwatch, weather, activity rings, date, music, calendar updates, and even a UVI index. These are both spread around the outside of the clock itself, and inside the clock, underneath the hands.

Arguably, it’s a bit much. But the image is likely showing off all the possible complications that could be added to a customizable face at the user’s discretion, rather than a suggestion that one should – well – add them all at once.

Of course, we’ve already begun debating the look, with some more enthusiastically in favor of the new face and all its accompanying accoutrement, and others – let’s say, more cautiously optimistic.

The photo also shows a new hole underneath the Digital Crown, which seems like an extra mic, the report notes.

Other changes, including whatever hardware upgrades and watchOS software features may arrive, aren’t yet known.

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This three-axis tourbillon movement is a 3D printed marvel

Posted by | breguet, Clocks, economy, Gadgets, luxury brands, TC, time, tourbillon, watch | No Comments

The three-axis tourbillon is one of the most complex watch complications in the world. Originally based on a design by watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, this type of tourbillon – literally “whirlwind” – rotates the balance wheel of a watch in order to ensure that gravity doesn’t adversely affect any part of the watch. It’s a clever, complex, and essentially useless complication in an era of atomic clocks and nano materials but darn if it isn’t cool-looking.

Based on this original, simpler model, this new three-axis tourbillon is available for download here. It consists of 70 potentially fiddly parts and runs using a basic motor.

As you can see, the main component is the balance wheel which flips back and forth to drive the watch. The balance wheel is contained inside a sort of spike-shaped cage that rotates on multiple axes. The balance wheel controls the speed of the spin and often these devices are used as second hands on more complex – and more expensive – tourbillon watches. Tourbillons were originally intended to increase watch accuracy when they were riding in a vest pocket, the thinking being that gravity would pull down a watch’s balance wheel differently when it was vertical as compared to being horizontal. In this case, the wheel takes into account all possible positions leading to a delightful bit of horological overkill.

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Bell & Ross creates a transparent tourbillon

Posted by | bell & ross, breguet, Clocks, Culture, economy, Gadgets, honda, luxury brands, TC, time, tourbillon, watch | No Comments

It’s spring and that means it’s time for Basel, the definitive international watch show. Around this time every year all of your favorite brands – and brands you’ve never heard of – launch unique timepieces that cost more than a few dozen Honda Accords and look like something made by Doctor Manhattan during one of his less melancholy moments.

Today’s wild timepiece comes to use from Bell & Ross, makers of big square watches that look like aircraft dials. This new piece, called the BR-X1-Skeleton-Tourbillon-Sapphire, maintains the traditional B&R shape but is almost completely clear with a case made of sapphire and held together by pins and screws. The movement, which comes in three colors, is a complete hand-wound tourbillon system and is beautifully visible from all angles.

A tourbillon, for the uninitiated, is a system for rotating the watch’s balance wheel 360 degrees. This system, originally created by Breguet, ensured that a watch didn’t slow down when subjected to odd gravitational forces. Now, however, it’s a wildly expensive conversation starter.

This is a beautiful update to B&R’s original see-through watch and, while the vast majority of us will never own something like this, it’s nice to know that someone still cares about horological complexity paired with wild design. How much does it cost to own the watch equivalent of Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet? About $500,000. The piece, for those interested in picking one up, will be available online.

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