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HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be

HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

A few months ago I get a message from Jorg Hysek Jr. – son of the famous Jorg Hysek – who now runs Hysek’s brand HD3. In excitement, he expressed to me how much I need to see the brand’s new watch collection called “Slyde.” Nothing more, just that. It turns out I was right about the excitement. HD3 was quietly developing Slyde for 2 years before telling anyone, and it must have been hard to keep the awesome concept a secret. The final products won’t be available until about September 2011, but I have an exclusive hands-on introduction of Slyde to share with you.

target=”_blank”>Slyde is essentially what everyone wanted the fifth generation iPod Nano to be. You know the little square one that everyone turned into a watch due to the clock dial face it has. I wrote about it is here and explained what it needed to do to satisfy the loads of people buying straps for it. The real problem with the Apple iPod Nano is that it wasn’t really meant to be a watch. Battery life sucked and it had just two watch dials. People started to say that Apple would make a fortune if they would just create an app store to make it so that people could upload new watch dials to the Nano – that isn’t likely to happen.

HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

But it will happen with the Slyde watch – which started development before that Nano came out. Slyde is a high-end Swiss watch with a digital LCD touch screen (might be OLED variant screen in the future), topped with a curved sapphire crystal. I am not too sure about the dimensions yet, but it is large – though not unwearably large. By the way, the watch isn’t out yet and technical details haven’t been finalized. So wait a few months to answer all those questions forming in your mind.

HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

The watches here are in titanium, one in black PVD (which looks killer). The watch will come in a few materials, with gold options as well, and various finishes. You can see models here with leather and rubber straps (double straps in typical HD3 fashion). They are not wild in design like some ultra high-end HD3 watches, nor are they too basic looking. The style is very Swiss, very polished, and beautifully modern. The use of materials and design ensure that when the Chinese eventually try to copy the concept, their watches simply won’t look or feel as good as the Slyde. Oh, and the cases are water resistant to 30 meters, with the final versions having “HD3” on the front of the watch and “Slyde” on the back.

HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

There are no buttons on the watch, just three battery indicator lights on the side and a light sensor to automatically adapt the brightness of the screen. Everything will be controlled with taps or slides on the touchscreen. Of course, the name “Slyde” comes from the idea that you slide your fingers over the dial. HD3 tells me that when using the watch 30 or so times a day, you should have about a week of battery life. Also, you can send your watch back in to upgrade the hardware in the future.


HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

To charge the watch, you’ll need to put it in a charging dock that it slides into (more sliding). The dock charges it and also has a USB connection for hooking it up to your computer and the Internet. This is where the magic happens. You can purchase special watch dials to put in the watch. HD3 will release just a few a year. They want to make sure each is good, and not over-load people with crap dials. But the dials won’t be cheap. Some of them will even be artificial limited editions – where HD3 will only sell a certain amount. Standard prices for dials will be $50-100 maybe, and more for the special ones. Hysek himself will design many (and he is proven to be amazing at this), and they will also have all sorts of guest designers from a pool of some of the best guys in the watch industry. I am really excited about this part.

HD3 Slyde Watch Hands-On: What Everyone Wanted The iPod Nano To Be Hands-On

Slyde comes loaded with a series of watch dial screens. There are also screens for other functions such as a chronograph, calendar, moon phase indicator, etc… The system also lets you upload your own images and have them be watch dials as well. HD3 is working with a software developer, so everything will be specially made for them. The model here in the video is a prototype. It will be faster and more smooth when things are done for the production models.

The concept is an instant smile maker. The watch is super cool, and you probably already want one – I know I do. One of the things that is really exciting, is that Hysek and other watch designers who will participate in making the dials can now offer things that mechanical watch’s don’t allow. This opens up a whole worlds of fascinating concepts that are really only limited by the imagination. Prices for the Slyde watches will start at about $5000. Not cheap , but not crazy expensive either. HD3 will sell a lot, and rightly so. I can’t wait to see the final product this fall.

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  • IS3515

    Nice concept. I really like this. Maybe this is the future for digital watches. A solar recharger would be nice too.

  • Tiger

    Everyone wanted a $5,000 iPod Nano, huh? This price points sounds right in Apple and the average consumers sweet spot…LOL

  • kris c

    Very cool. I definitely want one. The WR rating is odd though; if it doesn’t have any real buttons or crown, why can’t it be sealed up and made for 20+ ATM? Make a dive computer dial for it and you’d tap into a very watch-crazy community.

  • JPVann

    This manufacturer has already left the doors wide open for a copycat to do him better. Smaller, brighter, cheaper and most importantly cheaper software faces. $50+ for a postage stamp clock face? Launch a small SDK, make it a hackers dream and stand back.

  • Vadim

    5000 $ ?!?! No way. This must be the culmination of watches jumping prices like crazy in the last 15-20 years: 5000$ for a digital watch (Regardless of material, which is not worth as much). I can give you thousands of small screen devices that can display what this watch displays AND much more at less than 50 $ (screen and circuit only).

    Considering SEIKO has a new 1300 $ DIGITAL INK (WAAAAY better than LCD for the purpose) watch that has a lot of functions (more than this one) AND is SOLAR CHARGED and has a RADIO RECEIVER for automatically setting the time, plus it’s made out of coated stainless steel AND has a sapphire glass, this watch we have here as a whole is simply mind numbing. Makes no sense.

    But it will sell, cos there are a lot of very rich people out there who don’t know that a ipod nano w/o apps and mp3 playback, strapped on a titanium/stainless steel and leather case with a sapphire glass is worth 5 fucking k $ !!!

    • andrew

      What doesn’t make sense is your misunderstanding of the luxury goods market. Just don’t buy one!

  • andrew

    I like it a lot… but must admit that I did a double take at the price. No doubt that if I owned one, it would never see 1 meter of water. Awesome concept though, would be interested to see a Japanese version like the Seiko e-ink.

  • Ulysses

    Oh Vadim, don’t you know that it’s Swiss? The price is justified for that reason alone! It may have poor viewing angles and power-hungry electronics, but it’s Swiss! Seriously though, it looks very much like something a fashionable teenager would want, except that it’s not at the price a fashionable teenager could afford unless he/she lived in Beverly Hills.

    I find the comment about Chinese manufacturing a little grating. Most Chinese companies are hired by Western ones to produce products cheaply to a low-budget. In this case, it’s those Western companies who want a big profit that ask them to produce items as cheaply as possible, in which case lapses in quality are inevitable. You might like to know that many high-quality items are produced in China too, like Apple products (i’m not fan of Apple, but it seems like a good example). They cost more, and not surprisingly, tend to have a better fit and finish than many other products. I’m sure China already has products similar to this one in the works if not available already, and for something that looks like a prop out of “Stargate”, I wouldn’t have to pay even close to $5000 for it. At the end of the day if the Chinese can send men into space then they can clone a watch, but to assume they couldn’t replicate an imaginary Swiss notion of “quality” is very presumptuous.

    “Made in China” is a marketing liability at the moment in the same way that “Made in Japan” used to be. Well, we all know how ignorant that latter phrase turned out to be. Could China produce a quality watch for sale at $5000? I have little doubt. Could they sell it, considering where it was made? Of course not. I wonder how long it will take for age old prejudices to disappear; it can’t happen soon enough.

    • Mauro

      Mmm 5000 thounsand dlls i dont think so even if is swiss made is only cause HD3 is manufacturing the case and strap wich is good but look this, you can buy an Omega watch and mechanical or a Breitling for less than 5k this is why is not a good price on this im ok with the idea is so cool but 5k??? no way if you buy an Ipod how much it cost? so like other people says HD3 is leaving the doors wide open those other gonna make more money than HD3 cause Swatch can produce this and also Mac why not??? so cool idea but no right price!!!

  • I liked much, I want these

  • weatherman

    A luxury digital watch is doomed to fail for a number of reasons, but primarily because of its inevitable obsolescence. Within a year or two of this watch being released there will be better screen technology, better batteries, and more “features” like RF, GPS, 4G, etc. And while this watch may be “upgradable” I don’t think most people who spend that kind of money on watches want to keep paying to have them upgraded. Techies are used to upgrading constantly, but as a result they view tech as a disposable commodity. Those who spend this kind of money on a watch tend to have an appreciation of the history of watchmaking, and look at watches as art, not as a commodity. While watch lovers may appreciate “complications” it’s not the same desire as someone who needs to upgrade their phone every 6 months. 

    The appeal of mechanical watches is that they are removed from the constant rush of technological progress, and thats what has led to a resurgence in the luxury watch market, I think. We dont need watches to tell time any more (we have phones for that) but we need a watch to remind us of the passage of time, and that time is an analog, fluid, flexible, distortable undercurrent. Mechanical watches are popular, therefore, in part because of their imprecision and need of attention in winding and servicing. That’s what reminds us that we are beings in time.

    This watch may appeal to a few, and ultimately may be collectible like some early digital watches are (or like any limited production piece from a good watchmaker is, even the mistakes) but it won’t be popular or sell well, either to techies or to the intended target market of true horophiles.

  • billg

    According to what’s been written, the watch requires a battery recharge every 7-10 days based on a duty cycle of being used 30 times each day. A safe assumption would be that the watch display is active or turned on for 60 seconds per use; totaling 30 minutes per day in aggregate.

    I’m curious what you and others think about this watch (& other ‘tech watches’ in general) in specific reference to this display characteristic (the display will be blank for most of the day). Is this a potential issue? Do you think consumers will tire of this; or is the value provided by such a bright, colorful display – even though it doesn’t come on very often – sufficient enough to overcome the negatives?


    • It is a simple battery life trade off. I forgot to mention something important. According to HD3, you can program the watch to be “on” for longer periods of time. Say you want the display to be on for a few hours – you an do that, but you’ll not get more than a day or two of battery out of it.

  • Bjorn

    I love it. But at that price, I’ll wait for the affordable alternative from Seiko / Citizen and the like. For that kind of cash, you could pick up a really classy Rolex Sub or Breitling Navitimer, and spend the remainder on an iPhone that does the rest 🙂

  • jc.yin

    This watch costs 5,000$ and can’t even make calls?? What a useless piece of gadget. I have a 2,000$ LG GD910 Watch Phone which looks just as stylish AND can make calls…. Look it up guys. The expensive watch phone is the future, not expensive watches with no other functions apart from telling the time

  • Jim

    Who needs a watch anyway? Just click the home button on your iPhone or favorite smartphone. So you get stuck on an island and your smartphone battery dies. Who cares about a watch then anyway…. let’s count the seconds until no one picks you up.

  • Geoff

    I can accept paying a premium for a premium product but looking at this watch, there seems to be a lot of badge and some nice materials being used to justify its premium status. Given it’s a digital watch, I would expect to see the designer use some new technology, which other companies couldn’t get away with on their budget. Given that I find this pretty disappointing, it’s using an LCD screen which will be blank most of the time. It’s a flat screen behind a curved glass, which looks to me a bit like “we couldn’t get a curved screen, this is the next best thing”.
    This looks like a Tokyo Flash watch, same drawbacks, you have to push a button to view the time and they need recharging regularly. Only thing is this is going to cost 20-30 times more, and then charge extra for the watch faces.
    Out of the new breed of digital watches, ePhosphor and Seiko’s eInk watches are truly exciting. Their displays fit the function much better and the delivery is far more innovative and, frankly, better executed. I don’t think any amount of titanium is going to hide the fact that this is fairly poorly designed.

  • Jack

    I like the concept and understand that they’re using pricing to position the product.
    The interesting thing is that at $5K it doesn’t have to sell in Seiko quantities to make sense, that’s the beauty of it. In addition, by pricing it at the point then can use high quality case materials and make a very nice luxury product.

    That said, I’m not sure the position will hold very long as someome like Casio or Seiko can probably make a technologically better product for much less, but again it won’t have the same cachet.

    I would like to see an entire product category of tech watches like this, both high and low end. The ability to hack and customize the watches might be what really makes this amazing in the long run. I’m sure there are people who could do awesome stuff with a little time and ingenuity.

    • Seiko or Casio might theoretically be able to duplicate this, but they would not. They aren’t in the market of selling too many limited production high-end digital goods. They like things which have larger markets, and undoubtedly would make such devices with a different ethos than would a boutique Swiss firm used to making high-end watches for very discerning clients.

  • Ivan Y

    Thanks for bringing us this scoop, Ariel! This is the only video of the working model, right?

    Anyway, I commented on this watch on Meehna’s blog (she even asked some follow-up questions for me) —

    Bottom line, this watch would’ve been interesting if it combined watch capabilities, music player (with Bluetooth module to connect to headphones), and some sort of phone-augmenting functionality (to view caller ID or incoming text messages). Five grand would’ve been a stretch, but at least, it’d been very, very useful. I’m a huge geek, but I just can’t see even a semblance of value. If you want to own something that much out there, just get Devon Tread 1.

  • jeff

    Where can I buy it?

  • I am laughing so hard at the people who think this is an ‘astronomical price’ for a wristwatch. If I had the dough, I’d drop it on this in a second and buy another 10 faces at $100 ea.

    If you really want to be shocked at wristwatch prices, do some research on Slyde’s HD3, anything ever made by Urwerk or of the De Grisigono Meccanico!

    • The Slyde is really gonna be cool when we see the final version.

  • Fariborz Abedi

    Please tell me that , How can I get it in Iran
    Send an answer trought my e-mail

  • Fariborz Abedi

    How can I get one of that ( HD3 Slyde Watch ) ?
    I live in Iran .
    So Please answer me trought my e-mail .

  • hello

    Sell some uranium and before you know it you’ll know what time it is

  • james adam

    i wood like to purchase a time peace from your company please e-mail me back

  • 123456

    Thanks for bringing us this scoop, Ariel! This is the only video of the working model.

  • Rena Graham

    Is this a James Bond watch he wears during a mission. hahaha. ‘coz it looks like it. advance technology and gorgeous design.

  • dustin

    Ill just wait for some hacker to come along and recook the software in this watch and port it over to most other lcd screen watches…

    5000 dollar watch
    for less then 100
    problem solved.

    and if you dont think its possible.. you seriously need to take a look at what they are doing over at xdadevelopers and ppc geeks. i ran iphone software on my HTC TP2
    hell these guys are so good they could probably install Linux on a toaster

  • Hi im Ivan from Singapore Watch Marketing Company . My company is marketing new watch brand in to Asia Market eg. singapore , malaysia , Thailand , Indonasia ext. we will like to market this HD3 watch in to Asia and can i know who the person that i can contact with ? Please send me a email on your person contact . Thank You and Have a Good day ! Tel Hp : (65) 9233789 Email :

  • Hi im Ivan from Singapore Watch Marketing Company . My company is marketing new watch brand in to Asia Market eg. singapore , malaysia , Thailand , Indonasia ext. we will like to market this HD3 watch in to Asia and can i know who the person that i can contact with ? Please send me a email on your person contact . Thank You and Have a Good day !    Email :

  • phone services

    There’s news that Apple is planning to release an iWatch in the future. Does anybody know if this is true or just a rumor?