It’s time: innovation helps fashion brands get smart about watches
TAG Heuer and Louis Vuitton among luxury goods makers keen to emulate success of Apple Watch as maturing technology embraces change
A casual, unofficial poll carried out in the office has revealed that smartwatch wearers are still very much in the minority.
The high-energy Apple Watch commercials, complete with bass-heavy uber-music, emphasise the sporty aspects of the product. Indeed, not only does it measure your workout performance, but also gives you a “nudge” to get you to the finishing line.
You can also check to see whether your friends have been breaking into sweat while exercising.
When connected to your iPhone, you can read and send messages and get Siri to manage a whole host of tasks, such as searching for things online, setting the alarm, and activating a number of other apps.
Apple emphasises that all of its Series 3 smartwatches are “swim-proof”, which means they are not only waterproof but also suitable for swimming.
The allow you to track your water sport performances, although we don’t think Siri will be able to hear your commands very well underwater.
Still, in this increasingly texting-obsessed world, it might be important for some people to be able to read messages while they are swimming, or in the shower.
Smartwatches make a great companion when you are on the road, but they are also increasingly connectable with home appliances through Google’s Nest and Apple’s Homekit.
The problem with the Apple Watch – along with many other smartwatches – is that, apart than its exclusive compatibility with iOS, it also looks decidedly sporty and it may not go that well when worn with your dressier outfits.
Happily, more players are joining the smartwatch market using the Android platform, which offer the fashion-conscious wearers a wider range of styles from which to choose.
For a sense of depth and adherence to the tradition of the brand, TAG Heuer insisted on using sapphire crystal for the watch face of the smartwatch, which gives it the scratch-proof quality.
Along with a host of expected smart functions, such as voice recognition and access to Android apps, the watch can – with a swipe of your finger – transform itself to give the appearance of an analogue watch.
You can choose from a selection of different watch dials, and change its look within seconds.
The modularity expressed in the watch model’s name also includes other components.
You can mix and match straps, modules and lugs, and even fit on a COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute)-certified chronograph with tourbillon when you want something “real”.
Options range from a modest combination of a rubber strap and steel bezel to a more extravagant calfskin strap with diamond bezel pairing.
Louis Vuitton is giving smart watchmakers a run for their money, with its new connectable creation, the Tambour Horizon, endorsed by a host of celebrities, including actresses Jennifer Connelly, Catherine Deneuve and Doona Bae, actors Jaden Smith, Ebizo and Gong Yoo, American footballer Victor Cruz and supermodel Mirande Kerr.
Its 42mm smartwatch, which operates on Android Wear and is powered by Qualcomm, mimics the curves and shape of the brand’s Tambour watch collection.
The watch also features a city guide app, which highlights key points of interest in cities, including New York and London.
Other fashion brands, such as Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs, are also releasing their own smartwatches.