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Baselworld 2018: Day 4 – Feature Watches (cont’d)

by Steven Waltzer | Mar 27, 2018

Strategy Analytics brings you daily coverage of Baselworld 2018, the largest annual watch and jewelry show during its 101st year from Basel, Switzerland.  Please see our Day 1 – Smartwatches post here, our Day 2 – Feature Watches post here, and our Day 3 – Feature Watches (cont’d) here.  Day 4 will again continue with feature watch announcements from the show floor, as smartwatch announcements were more sparse at Baselworld this year:

  • A B Art, a smaller Swiss watch brand focused on simplicity of design, has announced the Touch X hybrid watch.The Touch X uniquely offers a first-of-its-kind touch panel over top of mechanical hands. There is no screen, just touch sensitive glass over the hands, so pre-defined actions can be initiated by tapping/swiping on the glass.Some examples of actions include ringing an alarm on your smartphone when it’s lost, initiating a speed dial call on your smartphone, or pinging out your location to a loved one (through your smartphone, as the watch does not include its own standalone GPS).The device also offers step tracking, haptic notification alerts, and 8-12 month battery life. Design wise, it is extremely thin and light, though still feels sturdy on the wrist with a strong metal casing.
    • Details were not made available regarding price and release date and we question the distribution network for such a small brand to make any real dent on global feature watch market share. However, from a technology standpoint the concept of a touch panel without a screen is a unique input/control method for hybrid watches which adds functionality (especially if actions such as smart home controls can be added via software updates) without compromising as much battery life as a full color screen. We expect other hybrid watch makers may follow suit.

    A B Art Touch X:

     

  • Mondaine announced at the show the Helvetica Regular, a hybrid feature watch which most notably offers an impressive 2 year battery life, double what many current hybrid feature watches are offering. Smart functionality such as notifications, activity tracking and sleep monitoring (including sleep cycle based alarms) are included, as well as 30m water resistance and compatibility across Android or iOS. The device is expected to launch this month for $630 USD retail, at the higher end for hybrid feature watches.

 

Mondaine Helvetica Regular:

 

 

With fewer vendors, fewer smartwatch announcements, and a smaller exhibit space, this year’s Baselworld turned out to be a bit of a letdown in regard to wearable technology.  As the Swiss watch industry remains in decline, with 3 consecutive years of annual exports shrinking, it seems technology and smartwatch brands are avoiding Baselworld, looking to distance themselves from a sinking ship.

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