In 2015 it really seemed as though the world of quality luxury watches was about to be overtaken with new, exciting smart technology. The Apple Watch was expected to dominate the market and destroy the Swiss watch industry once and for all. In fact, certain Apple executives were so sure that was going to be the case that they were caught bragging about it!
During this worrying time for quality luxury watch manufacturers, Montblonc decided to put together something incredibly clever. A 2015 announcement of a Montblonc hybrid accessory linking together mechanical and smart technology was an interesting response from the luxury watch industry. In many ways it was the way of the industry saying “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
Looking back now, it seems strange to think that the top Swiss manufacturers might lose their sales to Apple. Would someone who could afford it really trade in a £50,000 Rolex for a £399 Apple watch? It seems very unlikely but at the time, the fear was really there that this could be a game changer for the watch industry. As things turned out, Apple didn’t take over the quality luxury watch industry – but smart technology has certainly left its mark on it!
Traditional Manufacturers, Smart Watches
Many top Swiss and Japanese watch manufacturers have taken the time to see how they could fit smart technology into their offering. TAG Hauer were one of the first manufacturers to take that step – most likely because their sports watches were most likely to be hurt by smart technology. They announced their link-up with Android Wear at Baselworld 2015, demonstrating that they were ready to take on the mighty behemoth that is Apple.
The Swiss Horological Smartwatches were the next to take the fight to the smartwatches with their announcements the same year. Mondaine, Frederique Constant and Alpina all announced that they would be releasing traditional styles with smart features under the hood. Other manufacturers joined suit, with Nico Gerard actually putting together a traditional watch which allowed you to attach an Apple Watch as a “double-sided watch”.
But no top of the range luxury watch manufacturer had decided to take the plunge into smart technology until Montblanc decided to do so. Montblanc decided to bring a solution to the problem for those who wanted to own quality luxury watches whilst retaining the ability to use the latest smart technology. The E-Strap appeared to be the perfect solution for that problem, adding smart technology to the buckle of your luxury watch. This would let you enjoy all of the features of the top quality smartwatches without having to move away from beautiful mechanical watches.
Unfortunately, this announcement was followed by two pieces of disappointment. Firstly, it was only going to work with Montblanc watches – limiting the number of people who would be able to use it. Secondly, things went quiet soon after the announcement, leading many to think that it was never going to become anything more than a cool idea which doesn’t work in practice. But this year this exciting accessory is back on the market and it could revolutionise quality luxury watches!
The Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap
Any luxury watch lover should be excited to hear about this announcement because it really could change the way you view quality luxury watches. The TWIN Smart Strap is able to convert “any mechanical timepiece into a connected companion.” Which means that you don’t have to ditch any of the mechanical watches in your collection to enjoy the latest smart features.
The Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap is made up of a rubber composite strap with a stainless steel and OLED screen attached to it. The screen is used to display notifications and the strap also vibrates to let you know about any messages. As you might expect, the water resistant TWIN Smart Strap can link to your phone to receive messages via either Bluetooth or NFC. But this isn’t just a basic smart strap with basic smartwatch features, this is a smart strap which really does rival the top smartwatches on the market.
You get a wide range of fitness tracking options, which is a clever move because this has been one of the main reasons why people have stuck with smartwatches. Apple focused on fitness tracking features to increase their sales after the fairly disappointing sales of the first iteration of the Apple Watch. The watch also synchronises with your smartphone to copy over calendar events as well as linking these events with photos and videos taken.
Most impressively, it comes with Montblanc Pay, which allows you to make payments using the device itself. The Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap allows you connect up to 5 cards into the device itself and to pay with them using NFC. Montblanc Pay also uses state of the art encryption technology to ensure that there is little risk of the data being hacked.
Almost four short years ago Apple announced the first Apple Watch and things looked bleak for quality luxury watches. As it turned out, the luxury watch industry managed to survive very well indeed but this new technology has certainly proven desirable for watch owners. The Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap is a step towards smart technology for mechanical watch lovers. This new technology is a real demonstration that smartwatches have not killed off quality luxury watches but that they may have just changed the watch industry forever.