IN a class above the offerings of Apple and Samsung, luxury brands such as Tag Heuer and Montblanc are combining classic styling and modern technology to create a new breed of smartwatch
A far cry from their thick and unwieldy cousins, these elegant timepieces will make the transition from casual events to formal functions with sophisticated ease.
Specialised and with an array of customisable options, these high-tech watches are not only stylish but perfect for keeping on top of everything from social media alerts to tide reports.
These are some of the manufacturers putting the art into smartwatches.
BREITLING – EXOSPACE B55
Designed with the professional pilot in mind, the sleek Breitling Exospace B55 is the perfect option for those looking for a smartwatch with traditional features such as physical hands and external buttons. Behind the scenes, the Exospace B55 is a high tech device that relies on the well-designed Breitling app, which allows for in-depth recording and analysis of aeronautical statistics. With a contemporary design featuring a titanium case and rubber strap, the watch has a thermo-compensated quartz electronic, analogue and LCD digital display with backlighting. It is able to indicate two time zones, record flight times and departure and arrival times, as well as airport codes. Connecting to a smartphone allows the watch to receive email and social media alerts as well as display upcoming appointments. RRP from $9900
TISSOT – T-TOUCH CLASSIC
The T-Touch Classic by Tissot is a low-tech smartwatch, perfect for the buyer looking for features without sacrificing the traditional watch aesthetic. With 11 tactile functions, a compass, chronograph and an LCD screen as well as an analogue dial, the T-Touch Classic has plenty of satisfying features. Without requiring a connection to a smart device, the watch still manages to keep detailed records of tides, time zones, log books, alarms and provide a full calendar. Unlike the bulkier, more advanced smartwatches, the T-Touch Classic is sleek and clean, with multiple colours and strap materials available. POA
KAIROS – DOT MATRIX HYBRID
In a market where designers are aiming to rid the smartwatch of mechanical features, the Dot Matrix Hybrid is a unique piece which lives up to its hybrid name. Seamlessly combining a traditional watch with physical hands, and an LCD screen which is transparent when inactive, Kairos have produced a high-tech device that subtly masquerades as classic watch. This design allows the Dot Matrix Hybrid to be free of one main issue which plagues most, if not all, smartwatches – the inability to tell the time once the battery has emptied. It also allows for a better conservation of battery power, with the LCD screen consuming power only when it is actively in use. As with most modern smartwatches, Kairos’ Dot Matrix Hybrid is iOS, Windows Phone OS and Android compatible, allowing for fitness data collection and email/social media alerts. As well as having multi-language support, the Dot Matrix Hybrid comes with a myriad extra functions, such as a gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth connectivity. POA
MONTBLANC – SUMMIT
Inspired by the company’s 1858 collection, the Montblanc Summit places cutting-edge technology within a classical framework familiar to lovers of the Montblanc aesthetic. With a high resolution AMOLED touch display, this smartwatch has been designed in collaboration with Google and runs the Android Wear 2.0 operating system, allowing voice communication with Google Assistant. Along with pre-loaded travel apps, the Summit can download thousands of apps via direct Wi-Fi access or with Bluetooth-enabled wireless streaming, which is perfect for music lovers. Water-resistant and only 12.5mm thick, the smartwatch has a curved glass display, which is unique to Montblanc and provides a depth of field to the digital screen to mimic a mechanical watch face. As well as offering a heart-rate monitor, barometer and microphone for voice control, the Summit comes in multiple colours and finishes with an easy-change band. RRP from $1511
TAG HEUER – CONNECTED MODULAR 45
Taking the lead in the smartwatch industry, Tag Heuer has released the fully digital Connected Modular 45. With cutting-edge technology and luxury Swiss styling, it provides the very best of what smartwatches can offer in 2017. Available in more than 4000 different colour and material configurations, the smartwatch has built-in GPS and Wi-Fi thanks to a partnership with Intel and Google. Syncing to mobile phones via the custom-designed Tag Heuer app, every aspect of the watch can be controlled. With fully customisable watch faces and the ability to download apps directly to the device, this watch is a personalised computer for your wrist. Along with the expected notification options, Google Play’s music library and playlists can be accessed directly and the timepiece responds to voice commands and Google Assistant. Perfect for frequent travellers, the watch also works with Google Translate and the built-in GPS will ensure you never fight to fold a map again. The Connected Modular 45 is compatible with both Android and iOS, however, as a registered piece of Android Wear tech, it truly comes alive when partnered with other Android devices. RRP from $2100