Tick tock tech4 min read . Updated: 27 Feb 2015, 05:55 PM IST
A look at some of the finest “gadgety” wristwatches in the market today
Wearable technology. It is all the rage. Gadgets around our wrists and necks and in our ears that buzz and rattle and pop. But the truth is that we’ve all been using wearable technology for years and years. Right on our wrists.
Irrespective of the type of watch you wear—dirt cheap quartz or uber high-end mechanical—the thing ticking away on your wrist is a marvel of technology, miniature engineering, and state-of-the art manufacturing. A pity that this is not always obvious, or celebrated. But in recent years, some watch brands have been trying to buck this trend.
With a number of audacious wristwatches they have tried to amp up the technology and complexity in their products. And create pieces that are little gadgets in themselves. We feature some of the finest “gadgety" wristwatches in the market today.
Brand: Harry Winston
Their pitch: “Opus XIII once again defies the conventional rules of watchmaking. Fifty-nine pivoting minutes hands, eleven rotating triangles for the hours, and a sliding trapdoor perform a magic show where minutes and hours appear or vanish instantly—and, of course, tell the time."
Our view: As with every single Opus piece that Harry Winston has ever made, it makes little sense to describe the watch in words. You have to see it—on YouTube—to believe it. The entire point of the Opus line is to find every more fantastic interpretations of traditional watchmaking techniques. All in order to show the time in an unintuitive way. The Opus XIII uses a system of pivoting levers and triangles. Okay listen, see the video. It is very cool.
Name: RM 36-01 Tourbillon G-Sensor Sébastien Loeb
Brand: Richard Mille
Their pitch: “The new RM 36-01 Tourbillon G-Sensor Sébastien Loeb represents a further extension and development of the mechanical G-force sensor movement…by allowing the sensor to be rotated as desired to different angles for measurement."
Our view: This is a fabulously complicated watch that requires at least a Master’s degree in engineering to fully appreciate. Richard Mille’s complications call in the “Marmite" category of watches—some people adore them, others don’t get them at all. But this is perhaps our favourite high-tech Richard Mille. Complex, pleasing round shape, all coming together in a very modern end-product.
Their pitch: “A newly developed movement and an enhanced Satellite Timekeeping System enable the watch to achieve the world’s fastest* signal reception speed as little as three seconds."
Our view: Citizen and Seiko are fighting a war to win the GPS watch market. And consumers are laughing all the way to the nearest watch retailer. Both brands have come up with great models. But what the F100 has going for it is its sleek, sexy design that hides some face-melting technology.
Their pitch: “The very first wristwatch with a built-in personal locator beacon (PLB). The Emergency is a high-tech gem equipped with a dual frequency transmitter compliant with the specifications of the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite alert system and serving both to issue alerts and to guide search and rescue missions."
Our view: A tech innovation that works well with the brand’s action lifestyle proposition. Be warned though, the locator beacon is not a toy. Only, ONLY, for emergencies. Chunky wrists preferred.
Brand: TAG Heuer
Their pitch: “The Monaco V4 is the world’s first watch with belt drives, linear mass and ball bearings. Industrialized and entirely hand manufactured in TAG Heuer workshops."
Our view: The Monaco is one of the most iconic TAG Heuer products. So you fiddle with it at great peril. The belt-driven V4 concept was a smart way of bringing some state-of-the-art tinkering to an established icon. Painfully sexy in real life.
Their pitch: “The TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap, combines a highly functional e-Strap with contemporary TimeWalker timepieces. The e-Strap is an interchangeable strap, with an integrated technology device that offers an activity tracker, smart notifications, remote controls and Find-Me functions. It connects, via Bluetooth Low Energy, to selected Android and iOS smartphones. For the first time, an owner will be able to wear a mechanical timepiece with highly useful digital functionality."
Our view: A really smart idea with huge potential to bridge the somewhat incongruent worlds of mechanical watches and smart notifications. Can’t wait for Montblanc to sell the strap as a stand-alone product.
Their pitch: “An encounter between Fine Watchmaking and fluid mechanics…"
Our view: The H1 blew people’s minds when it was first unveiled. Not just because it was so cool, but also because the underlying principle seems so simple: using a system of bellows and fluid in a capillary tube to show the time. The realization of this simple idea, however, incorporates several disciplines of engineering. Since the original H1, the team at HYT has come up with newer interpretations including a skull. But the H1 will always remain an unforgettable moment in watch tech.