Those are the three words that sum up Baselworld 2016. The first day of the Baselworld fair was super, and the event isn’t is half way through. For an entire week, 17th to 24th of March, the world of watches is sharing their 2016 breakthroughs. With many new forms of technology, watches are on the horizon of extreme evolution.
Let’s go far away from the actual location of Baselworld, Switzerland to arrive in Japan. The company Veldt has nicely put together a sleek smartwatch. The Serendipity is a watch that you can customize from the Veldt life assist app. Two of your most frequented functions can be assigned to the two buttons on the watch for quicker actions. The embedded sensors can track your daily activity level and sleep patterns. Stepping beyond the boundary of basic, the LEDs on the analog face and a small screen will light up in different colors depending on to whom you assigned the colors to. You are allowed up to 5 contacts that will make your watch bling. You can also check the whether to know at what time of the day you will need to use an umbrella! A collaboration with Kyoto Denim (brand with kimono dyeing history) will make your smart piece truly unique and customizable!
Tissot is also joining the Smartwatch game by adding some special features. The Tissot Smart Touch is….Solar powered! And you couldn’t believe there is a smartwatch that doesn’t ever need to be plugged-in. The Tissot watch is made for the adventurous folks out there. If you ever need, it acts as a compass, as a weather forecaster, as a “mother” telling you where your belonging are(find-it function) , altimeter, GPS and tell you about the air quality. The watch is not out yet and it is expected to be available in 2017. Still a long wait before we see a watch that works only with solar energy and is capable of doing all of the functions mentioned above.
Samsung was present at Baselworld by the hand of de Grisogono, their partner in “crime.” Samsung puts the tech inside while the Swiss brand experiment with extra bling. The Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono is a limited edition watch with a gold bezel and push buttons, 56 white diamonds on the turning bezel, 28 black diamonds on the top bezel and 43 black diamonds on the sides. No jokes about the extra bling bling I was talking about at the beginning.
Guess was also at Baselworld with their Guess Connect watch in collaboration with Martian watches. Guess Connect is not new to the market, however they will launch new spring colors this April. For ladies a 41mm case will be available in a combination with a silver and sky blue. The top ring is adorned with light blue crystals and sits on top of a silver case with a textured genuine leather sky blue band. For men the 45mm case will be available in a sophisticated, yet sporty black and silver silhouette with a silicone strap and pop of color with a red second hand. The features of the watch go from making and receiving calls, interact with Siri, receiving notifications, saying goodbye to selfie sticks with its camera control and find your phone. The watch is both IOS & Android compatible.
Mondaine upgraded its game with the combination of the smartwatch+smart payment. The new Mondaine’s PayChip smartwatch puts the chip in the strap of the watch in a “hidden pocket” on the back of the Helvetica watch. In partnership with Cembra Money Bank of Switzerland they will soon start shipping. For people outside Switzerland we will still need to wait until further partnerships are made. To refresh the memory of those who can’t remember what the Helvetica watch does, it tracks your activity, your sleep and gets active alerts.
Let’s forget about the bling and the Swiss style to focus a little bit on useful smartwatches for adventurous people. Casio made a strong, unbreakable and lite watch. For fishing, cycling or trekking. Yes I said fishing. The Casio Smart Outdoor Watch works with Android wear and with its dual-layer display structure (monochrome LCD and color LCD) you can have a neat view of your watch even with bright light. It is water resistant and tested by the U.S Department of Defense. Download as many apps as you want like google maps and have a live GPS on your watch. The Tool button gives access to changes in phenomenon, speed, distance, elapsed time and changes in atmospheric pressure. The moment Setter are reminders of important information based on preset conditions during activities (like the best fishing time).
Nixon secretly kept its new watch The Mission a surprise until yesterday! Android wear, up to 10 ATM water resistant and also with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor built specifically for wearables. You can wear The Mission while snowboarding or surfing – following the Nixon lifestyle philosophy it is as well a very hard and resistant watch. It comes with 2 apps. The Mission app to see real-time surf and snow conditions, and the Trace app featuring built-in sensors and GPS for pro-level surf and snow activity tracking. We say let’s catch some waves and hit the slopes to Nixon!
More secrecy is hidden from the public by Swedish company Anima. The young company says that now is the right moment to enter the smartwatch market. We will need to wait until the second half of 2016 to see what it is what they have cookin’.
Fossil was not at Baselworld, why be there when you can have your own event in your own store? The launching of the new wearable line from Fossil attracted many looks and many people. Nice designs and a lot of watches, which build in a host of smart features like fitness tracking with goal progress displayed on a second dial on the watch face. You are notified about calls and messages from specific contacts on the watch, a similar feature like the Serendipity watch from Veldt. There are four ‘ranges’ : the Fossil Q Mate, Fossil Q Crewmaster, Fossil Q Gazer and the Fossil Q Tailor.
Victorinox was also at Baselworld, while we thought we could have a sneak peek of their smartwatch in partnership with Acer we were told that plans have been postponed due to the need of improvement of the watch.
Tag Heuer was once again attracting all the looks with their big and modern booth with a Redbull formula1 car hanging and the connected watch. In a press conference Jean-Claude Biver (CEO of Tag Heuer) stated that from the 20.000 smart pieces they ordered since they launched the smartwatch all of them are gone now. 60.000 pieces is the next goal which will start shipping in April. This means that the Tag Heuer Connected watch is a total success for the company.
Frederique Constant also had a press conference on the 17th in front of their booth. Peter Stas the CEO of the company explained and showcased the Horological Smartwatch powered by MotionX and introducing an updated version of its innovative timepiece for Baselworld. Indeed, in addition to its activity and sleep monitoring functions, the brand is adding a worldtimer function to its Horological Smartwatch.
Movado was another brand which was a bit disappointing since they didn’t have their Movado Bold Motion smartwatch (in collaboration with HP) on-sight. It is said that the American watchmaker is planning to give a host of its brands a smart makeover which includes Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Juicy Couture and Scuderia Ferrari teaming up again with HP for the software and tech part.
Swarovski added an extra bling as well at the fair. Its round booth and its exclusive pieces mixed up with the Misfit Shine collaboration with Swarovski. The activity tracker was as well there.
Michael Kors as part of the Fossil Group and its promise of launching wearables for 8 of its brands in 2016, also launched a smartwatch! The Michael Kors Access Android Wear smartwatch line has just been detailed. One’s a gold affair with jewels on the straps and one’s a black rubber affair with a more defined bezel and larger lugs.
2015 was the start of a new era at Baselworld, marking collision of fashion and tech. Followed by 2016 where we can see that many brands have joined the smartwatch race. For the rest of the companies when you ask them about smartwatches their answer is clear: 2017. So we will need more days at Baselworld and to wait to see what 2017 will bring in terms of bling, tech and watches.