November 27, 2015
It used to be that smartwatches were something that really only the gadget-oriented seemed to gravitate towards. I think at first, that made sense, as they were more technically oriented, in terms of what they could do and the customization they offered. Lately, however, the functions seem to have become a bit more standardized, and we are starting to see more traditionally-styled watches that hide their tech under classic skins. Two of the new Movado smartwatch collections follow that vein, while the last is a bit bolder with its showcasing of the tech.
When it comes to Movado watches, you would not be blamed for immediately calling to mind their museum collection, as that style, especially with the metallic disc at the 12 o’clock position, has become iconic for the brand. It is not surprising, then, that one of their first smartwatches is the Movado Museum Sport Motion. In fact, if you did not know any better, you might think that this is a larger (44mm) and sportier take on the classic Movado Museum watch. And it certainly does draw a lineage there, but a closer look at the subdial will show that this is something quite different.
On the Movado Museum Sport Motion, that subdial, along with indicating the date, contains a small moon and the word “activity.” As we saw with the Frederique Constant and Alpina watches, this is where your activity and sleep tracking are displayed. Now, why would watches from Movado share this with the Frederique Constant brands? Well, that is because the technology that is being used, the MotionX platform, is intended as that: a platform that is open for any brand to utilize and incorporate. This basically means a few things. First off, it’s an easy way for a brand to build a smart watch, as they only need to design the watch around the existing movement. Second, it means that styling is going to be fairly similar between the versions (subdial at 6, a pusher instead of a crown), as the MotionX tech is pretty young. Finally, that means that the watches using MotionX will all perform the same, and it boils down to a matter of what your personal preference in styling is.
As I mentioned, the Movado Museum Sport is very much Movado, through and through, as is the sister collection, the 39mm Movado Bellina Motion. Both of these models will track your steps taken throughout the day, and track your sleep for you at night, transmitting this information to an app on your smartphone. If you were hoping for any sort of notifications coming from your phone to your watch, that is not what the MotionX platform offers. It is – at least at this point in the game – more for building basic fitness tracking into a traditional watch package, obviating the need for you to carry multiple devices. One watch to rule them all, if you will.
On the other hand, if you do want to have notifications hitting your wrist, then the other new collection, the Movado Bold Motion, is what you will want to check out. Here, you still have some touches of the classic Movado look, but things are taken in a much more technical direction. At first, it would not look all that technical, I will give you that – it simply looks like a dark watch with baton hands and indices. It is at the edge of those indices that things change up, as there are LEDs embedded there. It is via these LEDs that you can get various notifications (texts, emails, etc), along with haptic (read: vibrating) feedback. This very much has the feel of what we saw with the introduction of the Nevo smartwatch, in that the communication is two-way between the phone and the watch.
This additional capability (on top of step tracking) for the Movado Bold Motion also indicates a new platform getting into the mix for these classically-styled smartwatches, this time from HP. This is the first watch I am aware of that is using this particular platform, so we will see if it branches out to other brands. The other big change with the Movado Bold Motion is that it is rechargeable – leaving the bluetooth always on to keep in sync with your phone is a battery-killer. While the MotionX-powered watches can rely on coin cells (due to low radio usage), here, recharging is a necessity, though the brand estimates about a week of use between charges.
The new Movado smart watches showcase a trend I think that we will be seeing more of. Brands, rather than designing things from scratch, will instead partner up with technology firms and let the experts there develop the “smart” part of the watch, leaving the watch brands to do what they do best – design a watch that fits with their particular design DNA. I would say Movado managed to do that quite well with their new collection. The Movado Bold Motion is the entry-level option from the brand, starting at $695. Going up to the Movado Museum Sport Motion sees the needle start at $995 (on a silicone strap) and top out at $1,495; the top end of their lineup, the Movado Bellina Motion ranges from $1,495 to $1,695. Mechanical purists may turn up their noses at these watches, but that is not the market here. This is for the folks who want to track their day-to-day activities, or perhaps even get some notifications, without it looking like there is a piece of “technology” on their wrist. It’s an interesting path, and I am curious to see how these modular platforms will develop and change. movado.com