The Wearables Arrive: The Scoop on All the New Smartwatches From Baselworld 2015


• Gucci did not have a smartwatch at Baselworld, but it did announce a partnership to market one. Stéphane Linder, Gucci’s new CEO (he left his job as CEO of TAG Heuer in December) held a press conference with rapper, music producer and smartphone entrepreneur will.i.am to say they had joined forces to bring out a wearable phone. It will not need to connect with your smartphone, but will be self-contained. With it, you will be able not only to make and receive calls, but to do everything a smartphone can do: connect to the Internet, take photos and much else. It will also have a fitness-tracking function. Under a company he calls i.am+, will.i.am already advertises a wearable phone called the PULS. According to the website used to promote the device, it contains “a new operating system built on the foundation of Android.” At the Baselworld press conference, will.i.am said the Gucci watch would represent the union of technology and fashion. To describe the concept, he coined the term “fashionology,” he told the audience. No launch date has been set. “Details regarding pricing, distribution, and launch timing will be announced in due course,” Gucci said in a press release.

Gucci Smartwatch Press Conference with will.i.am
will.i.am and Gucci CEO Stéphane Linder at the Gucci press conference

• TAG Heuer also held a press conference to announce, or, rather, elaborate upon, its plans to launch a smartwatch. The company has been talking about its upcoming connected watch for months (rumors were flying late last year that the company would unveil the watch at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but it didn’t). At the brand’s booth at Baselworld, TAG declared that it had joined forces with Intel and Google to “launch a Swiss smartwatch powered by Intel technology and Android Wear.” TAG CEO Jean-Claude Biver and General Manager Guy Sémon took the stage with David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear, and Michael Bell, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Devices Group, to make the announcement. The watch will look like a Carrera model and will come out in the fall. No price has been set.

TAG Heuer Smartwatch Press Conference
TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver and Intel’s Michael Bell at the TAG Heuer press conference

• Breitling introduced a quartz-powered pilots’ watch called the B55 Connected. It interacts with a smartphone via Bluetooth to facilitate the setting of the watch and storage of data. Breitling describes the watch/phone relationship thus: “Two-way communication enables the two instruments to form a perfectly complementary pair in which each is used for what it does best.” In a nutshell, you use the phone, with its relatively large, easy-to-read screen, to set the watch’s functions (which include an alarm, additional time zones and display options). You use the watch to measure take-off times, the duration of flights, etc., and the phone to store that data for easy reference. The watch is equipped with a thermo-compensated, multi-function quartz ana-digi movement called Caliber B50. Breitling launched the movement last year in the B50 Cockpit with the intention of using it as a base for various high-tech watches. The company describes the B55 Connected as a “concept” watch and has not yet set a price for it.

Breitling’s B55 Connected watch
Breitling’s B55 Connected watch
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