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Baselworld 2017: Day 1: Smartwatches & Hybrids

by Steven Waltzer | 3月 23, 2017

Baselworld 2017, the largest annual wristwatch tradeshow kicks off today in Basel, Switzerland.  The event will last through March 30th and will be covered daily by Strategy Analytics' WDE (Wearables) service

Yesterday’s Press Day coverage, on several key smartwatch launches is available here.

In addition to the numerous Android Wear and proprietary OS smartwatch launches announced at the show, hybrid smartwatches - with traditional mechanical movements and coin cell batteries, but also adding activity tracking and notification capabilities - are gaining momentum and are expected to expand significantly in 2017 due to a rush of new models announced at Baselworld and slated to flood the market during the year. 

Below are a few of our top picks on both hybrid and touchscreen smartwatch announcements from Day 1:

  • Fossil Group has finally revealed further details of a ton of Android Wear 2.0 and hybrid watches slated for 2017 under their own name (Fossil Q Venture and Q Explorer), as well as from sub-brands such as Michael Kors (Access Sofie and Access Grayson), Emporio Armani (Connected collection), Kate Spade (Holland), DKNY (MINUTE), Diesel and others.  The new models are just the beginning of some 300 new wearables expected from Fossil Group and it’s sub-brands in 2017 alone.  The new devices come from brands already offering connected options, as well as from several brands now entering the connected wristwear space for the first time, including DKNY, Marc Jacobs, MICHELE, Relic and Tory Burch.  All touchscreen models run Android Wear 2.0, sporting Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processors, customizable watch faces, and the ability to download and run standalone apps from the Goggle Play Store.  We expect to see strong traction from Fossil this year, likely gaining some smartwatch share points from the tech giants, especially in H2 2017.
  • Luxury goods group Montblanc has recently announced their first smartwatch play with the Montblanc Summit.  Also running Android Wear 2.0 and packing a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, the watch takes design inspiration from their 1858 watch collection and is offered in a variety of materials, styles, and straps.  Boasting IP68 water resistance, the round, 1.39 inch screen is covered by curved sapphire glass, a first for the smartwatch space.  With availability from May 2017, the US$890 retail price for the Montblanc Summit makes it one of the most expensive (and potentially overpriced) smartwatches in the world, meaning volumes for this model are likely to be tiny.

Exhibit 1: Montblanc Summit

  • The Swiss smartwatch maker MyKronoz is exhibiting their ZeTime smartwatch at the show, featuring traditional mechanical hands over-top of a color touchscreen, a unique take and the first offering of its kind. The watch is water resistant, includes a heart rate monitor, gorilla glass, and steel casing, and is expected to ship in Sept 2017 starting from US$199 retail.  A Kickstarter campaign launched today has already surpassed it’s US$50,000 funding goal. The ZeTime will run a proprietary OS, and as such the reach and usability will be limited versus the open platform of 3rd party developers and apps available from Android Wear and Apple Watch OS models.

Exhibit 2: MyKronoz ZeTime

It is becoming easier than ever for the average consumer to buy a smart or semi-smart watch as fashion brands and watchmakers finally begin to embrace connected wristwear and place it front and center in their prime retail real estate.  Rather than being considered a techy gadget, the ‘smarts’ of smartwatches are now essentially being offered as an add-on option when purchasing a fashionable timepiece, a paradigm shift in smartwatch sales channels.

You can tune into our Day 2 update tomorrow and can find our first blog about our expectations for Baselworld 2017 here.

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