One month before Baselworld, WatchPro exclusively revealed to the world that former Timex president Joe Santana had been secretly working on the launch of a smartwatch that would be ready in time for the annual Swiss exhibition.
True to his word, Santana sat down with WatchPro a day before the launch of the Vector smartwatch to demonstrate the timepiece’s design and features and to explain why he believes his experience in the traditional watch world has given him an edge over techie upstarts.
“We looked at what the competition was doing. We saw that a lot of competitors were focused on a rectangular form factor for whatever reasons. From the start I felt this needed to be a round piece because over 80 percent of watches sold in the world are round. If you are going to ask people to not only embrace a new technology but replace whatever is on their wrists, you need to get as close to their hearts as possible, so round was absolutely critical to us,” he explained to WatchPro’s editor, James Buttery.
The second critical decision was on battery life. Again, Santana comes from a world where people expect watches to keep running for years, not just a single day as Apple and other smartwatch makers are suggesting. “We seem to be the only ones that are going to provide this long battery life [the first models will last 30 days between charges]. Our philosophy has always been watch first, smart second,” he said.
Two models were launched at Baselworld: Luna and Meridian. Neither is yet available to buy, although the company’s web site has revealed a price of £169 for the first consignment of Meridian and £299 for the Luna and is accepting pre-orders without promising a delivery date.
Vector’s range is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Smartphones and has customisable analogue and digital watch face designs that give smart notifications on their high contract, always on monochrome displays.
Both models are water resistant to 30 metres, and promise 30 days of battery life.
The round-face Luna is a relatively modest 43.5mm in diameter but a hefty 11mm deep.
The rectangular Meridian is 40.5 x 35mm, and is a little slimmer at 10.5mm deep.
A key technical innovation is the delivery of alerts from connected smart phones, which will be filtered using intelligent technology so that over time, the watch and phone learn which messages are most important to the user.
“It will help you filter out a lot of the noise. It will reduce the number of times you have to reach for your smartphone. I experienced that. After two weeks with the Vector prototype I couldn’t put it down. I became addicted to it because it helped me,” Santana recalled.