TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap: Montblanc in the e-business era
From January 1st, 2015, Montblanc is offering mechanical watches to join the futuristic universe of connected timepieces… all this via their strap. A buzz is most certainly guaranteed.
Is there a direct link between finding embedded electronics in a mechanical watch and a company’s CEO? In absolute terms, we would be tempted to say yes because Jérôme Lambert revealed, on January 1st, a new feature that proves his talent in the art of advertising effects. For those who do not know or who may have forgotten, this is typical Lambert. Indeed, when he was CEO at Jaeger-LeCoultre, he dared to integrate an electronic system to open the doors of an Aston Martin into the Amvox. The product caused quite a stir because, apart from the now famous Seiko Spring Drive, no mechanical watch had ever integrated electronics until then.
The Art of being a step ahead
When everyone was somewhat impatiently awaiting – in some cases with concern – Apple’s connected strap piece, Lambert decided to use his well-known ability to bounce back. Indeed, he has pipped everyone at the post with his TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap chronograph.
Just to clarify, the TimeWalker is in no way a kind of a hybrid watch. It is simply a mechanical self-winding chronometer whose Extreme Leather strap has been developed at the Montblanc workshops in Florence. The strap incorporates an electronic system coupled to an LCD touch screen where the clasp usually is, and in it is a processor that can be paired up to the owner’s smartphone. The fact that the system pairs up an electronic element and a phone reminds us of the UTC electronics that can be installed in Breitling watches’ straps – from an adaptive point of view and proportionally speaking. However, Montblanc’s system offers a number of innovative features and is remarkably more useful to city folk who wish to stay connected.
Blending useful and pleasurable
This offer is for Montblanc watches owners, but not exclusively. Indeed, the technology of the TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap watch and other "original equipment" variations are optional features. As it is, the wristlet can even, if necessary, be worn without the watch. But it would be less exciting as it is the association of mechanics and electronics rather than the electronic product per se that is really interesting.
Still, the discreet and hardly-invasive steel element provides a range of amazing features as advanced electronics has, of course, a lot of resources. Thus, the tiny device, with about five-days autonomy, has a touch screen that allows access to a host of functionalities.
The e-Strap and its functions
If the complete list is longer, here are three of the features offered by the smart strap. Firstly, it relays information about telephone communications by vibrating and displaying useful information such as text messages. Further, it both informs and reminds the wearer of any appointments.
Secondly, it proves a formidable personal coach since it can monitor the owner’s physical activity. It counts the number of steps, measures distances and provides the number of calories burned during exercise. With an application that can be installed on the associated smartphone, the device can measure the progress made over various days. If desired so by the user, it may also be more intrusive and vibrate to encourage them to do more physical activity (though the results are not guaranteed!)
Last but not least, the device has a final area of activity (it almost feels like it has unlimited functionalities!). Indeed, it allows the user to take pictures with the phone’s camera – though the device might have an embedded camera in the future. It also allows them to control the smartphone’s music player, making it unnecessary to delve into our pockets to find. And because almost everything is possible, the e-Strap has a "Find-Me" function. This is an ideal feature for the absent minded who do not know where they put the mobile phone or the watch associated to their "e-Strap" only to find out they have them in their hand.
A buzz is in the air…
In short, the piece is innovating and is one of the early-year allures. Don’t fail to give it a look, because this very geeky new tool will allow you to be up to date without having to renounce neither your watch nor the happy feeling of being different in a world with a small inclination to standardization... Did you say Orwell?