The Frederique Constant E-Strap launched

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Frederique Constant has quietly launched its smart E-Strap, a leather watch strap with fitness tracking tech built into the buckle.

While smart straps have a history of being somewhat… horrible, the Frederique Constant may have totally changed the game. Made of top quality leather with the tech built into the svelte buckle, the E-Strap has a legitimate claim to being a smart choice for those looking for a fitness tracker… More at Wareable.

Love this idea. If it works well, it could satisfy those like me who really do love proper watches.

The Movado Connect vs the Longines Heritage 1945

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The Movado Connect is an attempt by  luxury watchmaker to create a smart watch that appeals to traditional watch enthusiasts and from the look of the image above, it is original and really quite a looker.

Compare this with the Longines Heritage 1945 below and you see the full range of tastes and what the industry as a whole is having to consider. The Longines is beautiful, it really is, but it does simple tell the time and it leaves me wondering which I would rather wear. At this moment, the Longines still takes it for me.

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Android Wear heads to luxury watches

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Some of the companies expected to make waves at Baselworld include the likes of Michael Kors, Tag Heuer, Swatch, and Guess — and many of the devices released will come with Android Wear 2.0, Google’s smartwatch operating system, right out of the box.

The Connected Modular 45 was officially unveiled a week before Baselworld 2017, but we’re expecting to see the device on show at the event. Under the hood, the watch features Intel’s Atom processor. It connects via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC, and also runs Android Wear 2.0, the latest and greatest version of Google’s wearable OS. Last but not least, it has a 1.39-inch display and is water resistant… More at Digital Trends.

I wonder if Google has a way in here that did not apply to phones and tablets. Watch brands have a huge amount of history and value to some people and it is possible that a Tag smart watch will be more appealing to some than an Apple Watch.

The Thync Relax Pro

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The new Thync module attaches to the back of your neck, using disposable electrode pads, and is controlled by a smartphone app. There are two modes, Thync Deep Relax and Thync Deep Sleep. It uses low-level electrical stimulation patterns to manipulate your body into lowering stress, improving your mood, and boosting the quality of sleep… More at Digital Trends.

The claims seem ambitious, but I am somewhat intrigued by the idea.

You can’t built a bridge between technology and tradition

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I have been having some strange thoughts recently about the Apple Watch. Sorry to bang on about it, but it is annoying me despite the fact I am still wearing it every day.

I really want to wear my Seiko or Bulova every day, but cannot wear two watches because that would be silly. But I also want the activity tracking, the notifications and other minor functions that are so useful.

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It reached the point where I actually looked at the Silver Pinstripe Pocket Watch. It is a hipster’s dream product, but one that would take away a lot of the tracking accuracy and sheer convenience of lifting your wrist when a new notification comes in. It is also $199 and if I am honest completely ridiculous.

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I could wear the Apple Watch around my neck if I bought the Silver Starburst Locket. Again, ridiculous.

The fact is that there is no way to wear both and so the Apple Watch is a wear all of the time product or do not wear it at all. Watches, to me, are not like classic cars and I would not wear a nice watch just at the weekends. A decent watch deserves time on the wrist and to get knocked now and again, and perhaps most importantly to a watch lover, to remind you of times because you happened to be wearing it when something important happened. That may sound daft, but that is how watch people think.

So, I then considered a stainless steel Apple Watch, which I could get for only £80 by trading in my current Apple Watch. I wouldn’t need a Series 2 even though the battery performance is apparently much improved and the water resistance would be useful, but that sense of still wearing a quality timepiece on my wrist can only come by paying more for a non-Sport Apple Watch.

However, smart watches are temporary and a more durable case is pointless because any case will last for the amount of time people will own their Apple Watch. A stainless steel case on any watch should last for decades, but smart watches don’t live for decades. Batteries die, they get slower and they become obsolete. There is no tradition with a smart watch and so the point comes where a decision has to be made.

You cannot keep a smart watch for long and as such there is little point in buying a ceramic or even a stainless steel version. The decision has to be made to ‘give up’ real watches and to embrace the temporary nature of wearables. I can think of few areas where this has happened before; computers replaced nothing, phones replaced nothing and tablets replaced nothing. They were new products that gave us new things to do whereas a smart watch replaces something that has been with us for hundreds of years and you really can’t built a bridge between technology and tradition.

Do Smartwatches Create More Problems Than They Solve?

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While connectivity is undoubtedly the future, do smartwatches in their current state actually solve a problem? Or do they offer solutions to problems that don’t exist? You would be hard-pressed to find a function on any smartwatch that a smartphone can’t do (or in rare cases another wearable with a specific function). And you still need a phone to fully utilize the functions of a smartwatch. In this regard, the Montblanc Summit is no different than other smartwatches on the market.

I think the solution is a true combination of analog and digital features. For example, a mechanical watch with a separate and distinct digital operating system (most likely using OLED technology) that can provide digital information on the clear watch cover on command. Some have produced these products but they suffer from either limited functionality, poor battery life or poor design. The main issue seems to be battery life. Maybe a luxury watch brand could partner with Tesla for a solution to this problem. As they exist today smartphones make life more complicated rather than easier… More at Forbes.

I guess the main problem is that no-one has cracked smart watches yet. We simply do not know what they should be and how they should work.