Now that's how you do a fashionable smartwatch

by Thomas Brady in ,


About two years ago [already? sheesh], I tried to build my own smartwatch. I wasn't so arrogant as to think I was going to figure out what the other market entrants hadn't; it was really just for fun. But I would be telling lies if I didn't admit that I thoguht I had an original angle. My thought was, a smartwatch is a losing proposition. Watches are jewelry. I don't wear any more jewelry on my fingers than my wedding band, and no more on my wrists or even my whole body than a watch, but even I have a handful of watches I swap out to fit my mood/clothing choices. Trying to replace that set of watches with a set of smart watches would be cost prohibitive, and trying to design a smartwatch that was configurable to the extent that it could adapt to my mood/wardrobe seems about as easy as designing a cold fusion device.

So my approach was to build a smart other accessory: an armband. Yes, I "innovated" by splitting hairs between an armband and a watch. But seriously, the idea was that you could wear this further up your arm, closer to your elbow, and keep it tucked away beneath your long-sleeved shirt. My hope was that a small LED matrix could be just bright enough that you could read your watch through your shirt, like some sort of spy.

Send your pre-order checks to... No? Okay. Well, it was a fun project. Couldn't get an LED matrix small enough, and the OLED screen I settled for wasn't bright enough to get through most shirts. Also, it was a dumb idea.

The fine folks at Montblanc, though, were a few thousands steps ahead of me (if a few years behind me—ouch), and figured out a much more elegant solution—potentially. They have come up with the smartwatch-band.

Oddly enough, there's no mention of this anywhere on montblanc.com, as of yet. This announcement apparently came at a tradeshow, covered by A Blog to Watch (get it?), which notes that this isn't the first design of this type on the market, actually.

A strap like this, that could be mated with your existing collection of watch faces, seems like a much more compelling design to actual watch-owners. I do have concerns, though, namely

  1. Where is the battery? Can't possibly be big enough to last a reasonable amount of time.
  2. That's the part of the watch that, for me at least, gets the most damage. How do you build something that's going to be robust, yet light, scratch-resistant, yet interactive (Apple's digital crown comes to mind)?

via MacRumors