The term ‘smart watch’ was originally coined way back in the 1990s, but only in the past few years with technology catching up have they really come to the forefront, and started to fulfil their potential. Some may argue that they haven’t yet been a huge success like the smartphone, but year on year sales have increased for over a decade, and the range of designs and types has increased along with that. It’s just one of the vast new markets that have been made possible with modern technology.
However, in the past few years especially, we have seen somewhat of a backlash against the smart watch as we knew it. It turns out that a lot of people miss the craftsmanship and precisions of a finely engineered, possibly Swiss, timepiece on their wrist, and have turned away from technology and back to this traditional analogue device. In turn, manufacturers have noticed this and the ‘hybrid’ smartwatch was born, combining the best of both digital and analogue. While these have certainly been a success, the compromise in digital technology brought about by keeping the design traditional, with a dial, hands and bezel, means that not everyone sees the point.
But, could it be that manufacturers have overlooked a more obvious place within the watch to add technology, the strap? The ‘smart strap’ is not a totally unheard-of idea, with both larger brands like Montblanc mounting a screen on the bottom of the strap where the clasp usually is and smaller crowdfunded ideas like fitting a step counter inside the strap, but it is certainly a lesser investigated path.
More and more brands are looking towards this virtually unexplored avenue to pep up their smart watches, with rumours of brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Fossil watches both investigating the possibility. With the renewed appreciation of craftsmanship and engineering becoming ever more present, perhaps it’s time that watch manufacturers left the traditional ‘spring and gear’ part of the watch alone, and started to get more inventive with their digital ideas.