5 Smartwatches of Luxury Watch Manufacturers

Smart Watches From Breitling, Montblanc, TAG Heuer & Co

The watch with connection to the outside: The Swiss watch industry has been working on the subject of smart watch or connected watch since Apple introduced its first watch in March 2015. While many manufacturers are still at a distance to the topic, some luxury watch manufacturers have dealt with this. While Apple Watch is less a real watch than a wrist-worn extension of the iPhone, the watch brands link original watches with smart technology to connect to the smartphone. The customer receives both: a watch and a technical device.

Smartwatch # 1: Bulgari Diagono E-Magnesium

Bulgari  introduced the Diagono E-Magnesium to the Baselworld 2015, a concept watch that came as a classic, high-quality mechanical watch. A microprocessor can be installed in it, which serves as a key for a security software. The chip identifies the bearer of the watch as the sole access person to the personal account with the smartphone app “Bulgari Vault” (for iOS and Android). With this app you can store sensitive personal data such as credit card numbers, bank data, passwords, but also entire documents. The technology is provided by WISeKey, a Swiss company specializing in security technology. If you leave the mobile phone somehow, without smart clock would be the danger that a stranger is cracking the entrance. However, the watch is used to identify the watch by holding the watch close to the smartphone. NFC is connected and the app can be started.The opening of doors is also conceivable by this technique. Bulgari does not reveal how the chip is integrated into the watch. In any case, he should have no influence on the mechanics of the clock; you can carry them just as well without using the chip.
At the Baselworld 2015 it was said that the Diagono E-Magnesium should be launched within one year. Up to now, however, it has not yet been acquired. The 41 mm housing is made of a combination of stainless steel, ceramic for the bezel as well as magnesium and the thermoplastic and temperature-resistant plastic PEEK (polyetheretherketone) for the middle section. It should cost around 5,000 euros. Currently, there is already a Diagono magnesium without built-in chip: It looks the same from the outside, comes in several color variants and costs 3,900 euros.

Smartwatch # 2: FrÉDÉRique Constant And Alpina Horological Smartwatch

A very different approach than Bulgari chose Alpina and Frédérique Constant. The factories were sold in 2016 by Aletta and Peter Stas to the Citizen Group. Previously, the entrepreneur married the Horological Smartwatch for Frédérique Constant and Alpina.Unlike the Bulgari, these smartwatches are powered by a quartz movement and serve as an interface to the smartphone. The watches synchronize themselves independently with the corresponding app for the iPhone or for an Android smartphone. However, Frédérique Constant and Alpina refrain from a digital display; the dials look like those of a normal watch. Two analogue hands at the Six show health-relevant values ​​such as the duration and depth of sleep and the number of steps taken at.2017, the two Swiss brands launched a second generation of smart watches. These offer additional functions, which also led to new dials. The activity and sleep scale is now located on a ring around the middle of the dial; press the button to call the desired function, and during the minute pointer to the appropriate symbol on the dial edge, the hour hand indicates the value reached on the scale. New are the so-called “smart notifications”: By default in the app on the smartphone, the clock informs by means of vibration and movement of both hands on the position of the ten or the two about incoming text messages and calls.

Thanks to the energy-saving connection via Bluetooth, a battery can be used instead of a rechargeable battery. This has a term of two years. The Horological Smartwatch by Frédérique Constant costs 795 euros in a 42 millimeter stainless steel case. A ladies’ model in 34 millimeters size costs about 650 euros. At Alpina is the latest version Seastrong Horological Smartwatch. This Smartwatch has a 44 mm diameter glass fiber housing that remains water tight to 10 bar. Typical for a diving watch, the smart Seastrong carries a unidirectional rotating bezel with 60-minute scaling. The black dial with the illuminated dots, dashes and hands follows the design of the Seastrong Diver Automatic. With a price of 595 euros, Alpina is only slightly above the offers of fashion brands and clearly below those of other traditional watchmakers. The ladies’ model cost 695 euros.
As a partner for the smart technology, Peter Stas won the California company Fullpower, whose platform MotionX controls the functions. Together with Fullpower, Peter Stas and his wife Aletta founded the MMT joint venture, which sells movement modules with MotionX technology to other manufacturers. Among the first buyers are the Swiss brand Mondaineand Michel Herbelin .

Smartwatch # 3: Breitling Exospace B55

Breitling  defines the term Connected Watch differently as one usually understands it. TheExospace B55, which was presented at the Baselworld 2015 (still as a concept watchunder the name B55 Connected), is not intended to be the extension of the mobile phone, as is the case with a Smartwatch, but the two devices should support each other. You can adjust the functions of the watch more easily with your mobile phone. The starting point for the Exospace B55 was the 2014 multi-function clock cockpit B-50 with analog and digital display. For example, the Exospace B55 offers a chronograph function, a countdown with long-time meter, two alarms, a second zone time and a speed display; for pilots the clock calculates start, landing and flight time. Conversely, the measurement results, such as the flight time, can be downloaded from the clock to the smartphone to store and send it there.The Exospace B55 also shows when e-mails or messages arrive or when appointments are pending. For the connection to the mobile phone, Breitling has installed a ceramic antenna and a chip and uses low-energy Bluetooth. Once fully charged, the smart clock will work for more than a month. The housing of the watch is made of black titanium, remains waterproof up to 100 meters and measures 46 millimeters in diameter. The Exospace B55 is delivered, for example, on a rubber band for € 8,060.

Smartwatch # 4: TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 And Montblanc Summit

TAG Heuer was the first Swiss luxury watch manufacturer to offer a smart watch in the strict sense. The Connected was launched in 2015, followed by the Connected Modular 45 in 2017. And Montblanc has also recently joined the Smartwatch market.Shortly before Baselworld 2017, the Swiss company introduced its Summit. Technically speaking, both Montblanc and TAG Heuer offer something similar to Apple and Co, as they both work with the Android Wear 2.0 operating system. There are differences in the preinstalled apps on the smart watches, which adapt themselves to the respective brand profile. For example, the Chronograph specialist TAG Heuer offers a variety of time-measuring options such as a stopwatch, timer or alarm. The Montblanc Summit scores with its own Worldtimer app with day-night display as well as the already installed Foursquare City Guide. With its Summit, Montblanc is thus mainly addressing businessmen who are also traveling a lot. The watch also looks less sporty and more classic-elegant with a certain retro touch. The case design follows the mechanical watch collection in 1858. The push-button has the shape of a classic elevator crown and also the preinstalled “watchfaces” (digital dials) with the skeletal pear hands and the logo inspired by the company history are inspired by the 1858 collection. The Summit comes with a polished stainless steel case (from 890 euros), titanium (from 980 euros) or black coated stainless steel (from 890 euros).

The TAG Heuer Connected and the Connected Modular 45 are significantly more expensive with a price starting at 1,400 euros. The Modular 45 carries its size already in the model name, the Connected is one millimeter larger. The decisive difference between the two smart watches lies in the flexible change-over system of the Modular 45. The customer can change tapes, closures and belt impacts to the titanium housing body. TAG Heuer offers a wide range of materials. Various optics are also available for the bezel and the housing center part. The real highlight of the Modular 45 is, however, that the customer can switch the housing body with the Connected module also against a body with a mechanical module. TAG Heuer wants to strike a special bridge between technology and traditional watchmaking. The Swiss brand can also cost a little: the modular 45 costs between 1,400 euros and 5,300 euros – without additional mechanical module. This costs as a three-digit version again 1,600 euros on top. The Connected in 46 millimeters offers a titanium case with coated bezel, combining a colored rubber band (1,400 euros) or a titanium band for 1,600 euros. The most expensive version for 9,300 euros is coated with rose gold and is worn on a leather band.

Smartwatch # 5: Montblanc And FrÉDÉRique Constant E-Strap

Before Montblanc launched a Smartwatch in 2017, the Swiss manufacturer pursued a completely different approach: no watch, but a special accessory for the bracelet produced a Bluetooth connection to an (Android or iOS) smartphone. The  band, named E-Strap, was presented in January 2015. For the time being, it could only be bought in combination with a Montblanc watch, now there is the E-Strap also individually for 295 euro. It has an electronic module as well as a display, from which short messages such as SMS or the preview of an incoming e-mail can be read off. Through vibration, the Activity Tracker reminds the wearer of moving more, and the touch-sensitive display allows, for example, to control the camera function of the smartphone.

Also Frédérique Constant has launched an e-Strap on the market 2017th This module is much smaller and more discreet than Montblanc because it sits just below the wristband and disappears when the strap is closed. However, the range of functions is also limited for this purpose. Like a fitness bracelet, it records activities by day and night and regularly reminds the user to move around. Frédérique Constant has integrated the smart module into a leather strap with a 20 mm band width – depending on the band and closing material the price is between 229 and 249 euros.
IWC announced in 2015 a smart bracelet called IWC Connect. This can connect with the smartphone and should be able to control the network of connected devices. So far, the Connect band is not yet available. IWC is currently working on a new version.


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