WatchPro Smart Watch of the Year 2015
Much has been said about the emergence of smart watches this year but as yet the sector still belongs to a handful of brands with plenty of room for competition and innovation.
WINNER: MotionX (Frederique Constant, Alpina, Mondaine)
2015 was supposed to be the year of the smart watch. With players as big as Fossil, Tag Heuer and Swatch announcing daring plans for their own smart releases – sometimes in partnerships with technology giants like Intel and Google – the watch world has been waiting with bated breath to see which watch brand would lead the fightback against Apple’s army.
As it transpired, there were more disappointments than successes. A lot of brands huffed and puffed, but very few even came close to blowing Apple’s house down. The problem has not been a lack of intent or desire, but instead a lack of technical proficiency and a fear of the unknown.
This is where the MotionX technology platform has shone through so brightly. Where other platforms have felt forced and clunky, MotionX has proven itself to be slick, easy-to-use, and has attracted three powerhouses to extol its virtues, namely Mondaine, Frederique Constant and Alpina.
The whole point is that the face of the watches is barely any different from what you’d expect from a classic Mondaine, Frederique Constant or Alpina. Instead, the watches display information in an analogue form using a sub dial, and connect to either iPhone or Android-based smartphone apps. This crucial sub dial tracks and records your progress towards preordained targets using the MotionX app. This includes things like sleep tracking and keeping tabs on your running and walking activity. It’s like Fitbit has received a glorious Swiss makeover.
The Mondaine Helvetica No 1 Smart, the Alpina Horological Smartwatch and the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch genuinely look like lovely additions to the ranges that already exist in those brands’ portfolios. The only giveaway is that the crown is actually a Bluetooth connectivity pusher button, which is used to sync the watch to a smartphone.
The MotionX technology itself is the joint brain-child of Frederique Constant Group and Silicon Valley tech firm Fullpower Technologies, Inc under the banner Manufacture Modules Technologies Sàrl (MMT). This helps to explain why stablemates Frederique Constant and Alpina were early adopters of the revolutionary platform, but the development of Mondaine’s smart watch using the same technology is perhaps the biggest indicator of what lies ahead for the traditional watch world’s collision with smart technology.
The blueprint is already there for other watch brands to follow. MotionX is offering its platform out to other Swiss brands who want to follow the admirable examples of the three companies who were first out of the blocks. They’ve shown that a brand’s identity does not have to be forfeited and that smart technology is simply a way to attract new customers rather than deter old ones.
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