September 5, 2014
by David Bredan
The vast potential of the smartwatch market is apparently now bringing some complete outsiders to this 21st century branch of watchmaking. One of these early adopters is Gilt.com, a major, US-based online shopping site that just announced it is teaming up with designer Michael Bastian and tech-giant Hewlett-Packard to design and engineer what will officially – and somewhat weirdly – be called the Michael Bastian Smartwatch.
As most of the news about smartwatches does at this point, the Michael Bastian Smartwatch promises us the world and some more – but whether or not it will deliver is something we will only see at the end of the year. Gilt opted to announce their first watch with just two rather secretive images, which makes believing their high hopes all the more difficult. Before getting to the rather optimistic list of features and promises of Gilt’s first smartwatch, however, let’s take a step back to see what are the reasons for us to remain highly realistic when it comes to new smartwatch concepts.
Our team has for long been intrigued by the idea of the smartwatch and so we have always been excited to bring you the latest, greatest – and sometimes arguably weird – concepts. The smartwatch is a product with immense potential, even if for the most part we have been seeing more optimistic promises than actual deliveries from the countless minor and major brands who have tried to reinvent the “wearable technology.”
What is clear at this point is that, at the very least, the greater watch-lover community expects the ideal smartwatch to offer uncompromised wearing comfort paired with an aesthetically pleasing design that does not sacrifice legibility and user-friendliness for the sake of more gimmicky features. So far we have seen some reassuring steps towards meeting this basic and yet challenging requirement (with the Motorola Moto360 and the Withings Activité first springing to mind), so now, let’s see what the Michael Bastian smartwatch has to offer – other than a silly name, that is.
What is for certain is that it will be housed in a 44mm wide stainless steel case which, based on the concept drawings that show an integrated strap and a rounded bezel secured by six screws, seems to have “inherited” several design cues from the Ingenieur by IWC. It will feature inlaid button controls and will come with three interchangeable straps in black rubber, perforated brown leather and olive green nylon. These details altogether imply that there is a slight chance the Michael Bastian smartwatch will be among the more wearably-sized and, dare we say, more trendy-looking offerings in this market.
The inner workings will be engineered by Hewlett-Packard, and Gilt says the technology will allow the watch to synchronize with cell phones running iOS or Android. Their intention is to enable the watch to display, beyond the time and date, some updates for weather, sports and stocks. As a true smartwatch should, it will also show email and social media notifications and text messages, plus it will inform about battery status as well as calendar reminders.
The first drawings look good (even if Gilt wants to remain laughably secretive with them) and the technical features, paired with the more sensible size and the seemingly familiar design elements tell us the Gilt Michael Bastian smartwatch may, after all, be an interesting and unexpected concept worthy of our attention. gilt.com