Staying Connected: Smartwatches From Traditional Watch Brands – A Complete Look

  • April 1, 2015
  • Roberta Naas

Easily one of the hottest topics at this year’s BaselWorld was the absence of Apple as an exhibitor, and the influence of Smart technology on time. Many watch world pundits say that the Smart Watch has triggered an “us vs. them” effect: Smart Watches Vs. Real Watches. What’s more, some naysayers in the watch world believe that the Smart Watch may even be the doom of the traditional watch.

Positive thinkers and visionaries beg to differ. In fact, much like quartz technology forever changed the watch industry in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Smart watches may also revolutionize traditional watch making, but it won’t destroy it.

Decades ago, Swiss brands (who developed quartz technology then passed on integrating it into their watches in the misled belief that the planet would not accept a non-mechanical timepiece) missed the proverbial boat in a big way when they did not immediately embrace quartz technology. In fact, the unveiling of the first quartz watches from Seiko and, soon after, from other Japanese brands almost decimated the Swiss watch industry. As the world sought the ease of battery powered quartz watches, many Swiss watch brands were forced to close their doors. It would be years before the Swiss could regain their foothold in the watch world via their own quartz technology.

Since then, the country has grown by leaps and bounds when it comes to innovation, technological advancement and visionary thinking as to how watches are made. Certainly the country, and the brands that comprise the billion-dollar watch exports thereof, learned a lesson and are ready to act sooner rather than later when it comes to the Smart watch. Now, they are bridging the gap between traditional watchmaking and smart watches.

On the opening day of BaselWorld 2015 at the press conference that launched the fair, Sylvie Ritter, managing director of BaselWorld, clarified the watch industry and the smart watch industry for attendees. “Swiss timepieces and Smart watches are two fundamentally different worlds. One is about expertise, emotion and enduring appeal. The other focuses on the technological aspects … two very different worlds, then, but also two approaches that can co-habit.”

Over in the fashion arena, GUESS used BaselWorld 2015 to launch its new GUESS Connect Smart watch, as well. The GUESS Connect watch could be considered a hybrid – a blend of the worlds of technology-driven smart watches and traditionally made fashion watches. To create the collection of functional fashion GUESS Connect Watches, GUESS partnered with Martian Watches, a California company that has developed and delivered fashionable smart watches.

The GUESS Connect line is more fashion forward and more in keeping with the brand’s overall look. It is powered by Martian technology that is both updateable and replaceable, and offers hands-free notifications from phone to wrist via Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE. The new watch even has a microphone and speaker to enable the wearer to connect to the phone’s voice command app and talk, listen and create voice texts and emails. The technology on this watch even lets wearers tap the watch crystal to recall the most recent notifications – all very sci-fi.


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