The watch industry is awash with too much news to cover. Each week, we’ll break down everything worth knowing. This week: Swatch Group (might) be making smartwatches, Glashutte’s colorful chronographs, the watches that’ll be worn to the International Space Station and more.
Swatch Group Smartwatch?
This week it was announced Swatch Group and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) are teaming up to create an ecosystem for “connected objects.” According to CSEM, the objects will be Swiss-made, have “ultra-low battery consumption” and “counteract the planned and programmed obsolescence in the world of consumer electronics.” The project will benefit from Swatch Group’s Renata battery subsidiary, an industry leader in coin-cell batteries for quartz watches and small electronic devices. According to Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek, the ecosystem could possibly see use in Tissot, Hamilton and Swatch brands. Given the potential for “ultra-low battery consumption” and the mission to combat planned obsolescence, it’s possible these smartwatches could be hybrid in nature, though a Swatch Group spokesperson declined to confirm or deny this.
Welcome to Squaresville. Population: Glashutte
German watchmaker Glashutte Original just launched a new line of square chronographs, all with (very) colorful dials. The five watches all feature dials made by the manufacturer’s dial maker in Pforzheim, Germany, with brilliant gradient effects achieved by the repeated hand application of colored lacquers. Only 25 examples of each of the five colors — blue, green, red, orange and silver — will be made.
Back in Black Enamel
At last year’s Baselworld, Chanel released the Monsieur de Chanel, the brand’s first-ever men’s watch with an in-house movement. Now, about a year later, Chanel is debuting a special edition of the watch, which features a platinum case and a black dial made from “grand feu” enamel. Only 100 pieces will be made and will retail at a hefty $63,000.
A Seaworthy Hybrid
Alpina just announced its latest addition to its Horlogical Smartwatch lineup: the Seastrong. Internally it’s the same as other Horological Smartwatches, but the case is all diver, with a chunky 44mm diameter, rotating bezel and a 100-meter water resistance. Other diving hallmarks include lumed hands and indices as well as a perforated rubber strap.
The Final Frontier
Christian Alexanderson of Worn & Wound recently got an opportunity to ask Randy Bresnik, Paolo Nespoli and Sergey Ryazanskiy — who will be sent to the International Space Station in spring — what they’ll be wearing on their wrists. Turns out a tried-and-true Omega — though not the obvious one — will be making its way to the ISS soon.