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HD3 Slyde Watch Review

HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This is the Slyde by HD3. It represents a lot of things and is one of the most unique high-end watches on the market today. It is digital and has a touchscreen. It also comes with a charging base and can connect to your computer. Right now it doesn't have anything like Bluetooth or WiFi, but that isn't really the point. When non-watch world people see it, they immediately begin asking questions about it like it is a smart-phone version of a watch. I get that, but what the Slyde actually represents, is more a digital interpretation of traditional Swiss watch values.

Go back in HD3's history and you'll see a lot of exotic high-end mechanical watches. Nothing at all like the Slyde. HD3 was started by well-known watch designer Jorg Hysek, the original founder of the brand Hysek. Today, Mr. Hysek is still involved but his son (also Jorg) is running the show. During the financial crisis, HD3 knew it needed to change things in order to survive. Many other brands in this position simply stuck to their guns, selling wildly expensive high-end watches to a few select clients in the hope that it would keep them alive until things got economically better. I think that HD3 wanted to do something else. Their idea would be to go 'edgy' and do something that their Swiss colleagues might scoff at. True enough, digital watches don't exactly have a ton of respect in the high-end world. HD3 has actually changed those perceptions in an appreciable way. The common comment I get from Swiss people outside HD3 when discussing the Slyde is "really cool" with a jealous smile on their face. Tapping into some of the reasons that people like their tablets and smart phones, the Slyde offers up style and technology.


HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

While the Slyde is still a high-end item, it is not only watch industry insiders who are excited by the device. When I debuted the watch to the world back in January of 2011, the video with Mr. Hysek senior presenting a prototype Slyde was extremely popular. This showed me that people who don't necessarily wear watches are ready and eager to get devices back on their wrists. Still, the Slyde is a polarizing watch. Some people think it is the next best thing, while others seem to simply disagree with it from an aesthetic or conceptual standpoint. Having said that, it is likely one of the most mainstream items HD3 has ever designed. So enough about people's perceptions of it, what do I think and what is it like to wear and use?

HD3 currently offers a few styles of the Slyde. I have the steel model, but it also comes in titanium. There are also steel and titanium versions with PVD black segments, and a version with some 18k rose gold trim. Don't miss the model with diamonds on the lugs. The case is quite comfortable, but larger at almost 48mm wide and about 58mm tall. The entire case curves for comfort, and the wide strap helps it look composed. I like the different metal finishes and the polished edges on the case. For me, the design nicely mixes Swiss watch and gadget. There are no buttons on the case. On the right side of it are five little lights. Well one of them looks like a light but is actually a light sensor. These glow when the screen is activated or while charging the watch. The number of lights that turn on indicate the battery life. Slyde suggests charging the watch once each couple of weeks depending on your use. I got at least that much battery life out of it. You can set how long the screen stays activated from the computer-based software that comes with the watch.

HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

To activate the screen you tap it. This is usually done with a finger, but when my hands are full I just tap the watch on my cheek or forehead - that does the trick. When the screen is activated you can then swipe it with your finger up, down, or to the sides. This allows you to access the various screens. All adjustments are done via holding your finger on the screen for a few seconds. The simplicity of using the Slyde is not a let down. I was worried at first that it would have a steep learning curve. Not at all. In just a few minutes you'll learn everything you need to know about it.

Slyde comes with one installed "engine." This is like the skin of the watch you see. Each engine has screens for a range of functions you expect in most digital watches. This includes a world time function, chronograph, countdown timer, full calendar, moon phase indicator, and a series of special custom calendar functions. Some of these special calendar functions include linking pictures with calendar data. The Slyde allows you to upload some images to it and assign a date to them. You then can see how many days you need to wait until the date comes or how many days have passed since a calendar date. Take for example the birth of a child. You can upload an image of the baby and set it to their birthday. When you access the image it will tell you how many days passed since they were born. Alternatively, you can upload a picture of a vacation destination and the date when you will travel there for a countdown each time you look at it.

The software works pretty well and the touchscreen is responsive. It is fun to swipe around the screens. HD3 will make other engines available for download soon, and the watch has enough memory to store four of them at a time. The rest can be stored via software on your computer. My only issue with the Slyde right now is that there is a second or so delay from when you tap the screen until it activates. This means it takes longer to check the time as compared to a standard watch. With its upgradable hardware and software, this might be remedied in the future. Also, the screen is a sapphire crystal which is great. This means scratch resistance. Just be prepared to wipe it down a lot because all that touching means smudge marks all over your pretty watch.

HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

To charge and connect the Slyde to a computer you place it on the charging dock which can connect to your computer via USB. This same port can be connected to an AC adapter for basic charging. Attached to the watch is a very iconic HD3 "double" strap. This version has an alligator-print leather strap, but rubber straps are also available. The strap ends with a good looking locking fold over clasp.

Playing with the Slyde is the best part of the watch. Tap the screen for example and on most functions they perform a little animation. There is even a little video player. Slyde will work with a range of watch designers for new engines, and the opportunities are really interesting. Things you can't do with actual mechanics you can do on the Slyde. The idea is for all the "watch skins" to look like they could feasibly be mechanical. There just isn't all that pesky engineering to deal with.

Like I said, the Slyde is a very polarizing watch, and I have had a lot of opportunity to test this while wearing it all over the place. This type of polarization is good, and I am always happy to strap it on. This is the digital watch you aren't ashamed of wearing to a business meeting. Slyde goes where Casio can't! It is also a lot more expensive. HD3 is a high-end brand and the Slyde accordingly is priced as such. Even the new engines are said to be paid downloads and limited editions! More on that as Slyde develops that system. Price for the basic steel model is $6,895. In basic titanium it is $7,295 while PVD coated models are a bit more. Prices go all the way up to $19,595 for the steel version with diamonds.

HD3 Slyde Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Tech specs from HD3:

Movement: CLT electronic movement.
Movement Dimensions (not case): Vertical - 38.54mm. Horizontal - 35.09mm. Thickness - 7.32mm.
Battery: 3.8V lithium polymer, capacity of 250 mAh.
Screen: TFT 232x240 pixel, 28 x 29mm active zone.
Touch sensor: Capacitive.
CASE Materials: Stainless  Steel.
Dimensions: Width - 47.71mm. Length - 57.84mm. Thickness - 17.53mm.
Glass: Domed sapphire touchscreen.
Blue LEDs: Battery power-reserve indicator.
Finishing: Brushed, polished.
Caseback: USB socket connector (for charging the battery or communicating with PCs or MACs).
WATER RESIST: 30 meters.
STRAP: Materials, Supplied with one black rubber strap. Optional alligator-patterned black leather strap.
Clasp: Exclusive HD3 pushpiece-operated folding clasp.
ACCESSORIES: Travel box, Black polyurethane with watch compartment and charger.
USB cable charger For PC or MAC connection plus main adapter. For transfecting data and charging the battery.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

Follow me on Google+ Ariel Adams
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  • DG Cayse

    Good review. Good video.
    Watch?…Uh…no thanks.

  • Kris C

    It is still super cool, but I’m still confused at the WR rating. This should have at least 100m of resistance, and a few diving ‘engine’ options (and a rubber strap option) would make this much more popular I’m sure. For this money, the  new engine downloads shouldn’t be billable items. Thats quite the rub.

  • Ulysses31

    I know it’s a high-end watch, but it just doesn’t look like a high-end watch.  The electronics are nothing special so you have to ask yourself if the case and strap are worth the price.  The display isn’t very bright – perhaps an OLED display would look better.  I wonder what the point is of imitating a complex movement on the screen via graphics.  Does that somehow make it better?  It almost seems like it is embarrassed to be what it is.  Might as well place a sticker on it saying “My other watch is a hand-crafting marvel of mechanical engineering.”

  • nateb123

    I don’t really have anything against the watch but it does leave me feeling a bit numb.  I would have preferred if it proudly displayed its electronics like a modded computer tower as a sort of exhibition caseback but even then, it doesn’t really evoke much emotion.  Too disposable.

  • Ulysses31

    I know it’s a high-end watch, but it just doesn’t look like a high-end watch.  The electronics are nothing special so you have to ask yourself if the case and strap are worth the price.  The display isn’t very bright – perhaps an OLED display would look better.  I wonder what the point is of imitating a complex movement on the screen via graphics.  Does that somehow make it better?  It almost seems like it is embarrassed to be what it is.  Might as well place a sticker on it saying “My other watch is a hand-crafted marvel of mechanical engineering.”  (Edited for a typo)

  • MarkCarson

    I expect that someone else will produce a similar (but much more affordable) programmable watch (probably in a round configuration) where third parties can “engineer” an endless number of virtual watches. So, you will be able to potentially download what looks and sort of acts like your favorite (but financially unobtainable) high end mechanical watch. Until someone gets used sued for making virtual Rolex, Pateks, etc. ha ha ha.
    Beyond taking “fakes” into an whole new world, this will let people (designers and developers) prototype or personalized watches in a virtual way. So the days of  “one off” watches may be upon us.
    This just opens lots of doors. It won’t replace real mechanical watches, but it will add another dimension to horology. Or they be seen as toys. Who knows, but it will be fun to see which comes to pass.

  • gmatt

    I think if you want to sell an item as expensive as this then you need to deliver on quality, and the electronics here just let things down. 1 second before any display, most of the time just a dead black screen, a max of 4 engines only? It’s just not good enough at this price point. I really want to like this, but it needs to respect it’s customers a bit more and deliver at it’s price point

  • Pebble

    @opto_man Woo-hoo! High five.

  • raol

    Cheap electronics sold as expensive watch – that’s what I call impressive marketing trick 🙂

  • gadgety

    Sorry, this is lame, although the quality appearance for a cheap electronic watch is there. They got a lot of things wrong and are not able to leverage the advantage of an electronic and screen based technology. Very lame.

  • Nuno Caldeira da Silva

    I found interesting this article but have to disagree with some sectors of it. I have one HD3 since its first shipments and never manage to connect it with an Apple. Last July went on purpose (I live in Thailand) to Luins to try to have the problem solved but did not. was told (after they checked at the factory that i was right) that Slyde was working on a new software version. Two weeks ago got the information that it was ready. Yesterday, after coming from my Christmas holidays, downloaded it to conclude that it was better but still unable to perform all its functions. Spend more than two hours trying to get an answer to the problems and give up. Today am packing back the HD3 and all its accessories because I want a watch (am a small collector and was indeed attracted by the HD3) to give me pleasure not stress.