• Vector, a new London-based company headed by former Timex CEO Joe Santana, introduced a watch that makes use of the web-based IFTTT (If This Then That) service, which connects apps, or, “channels,” as IFTTT calls them, so that an action involving one IFTTT channel will automatically trigger a reaction involving another IFTTT channel. A user can set a rule, for example, that whenever he posts a photo on Twitter, that photo will automatically be sent to Dropbox (both Twitter and Dropbox have IFTTT channels, of which there are more than 170). Vector will have a channel on the service starting this summer, when Vector watches are scheduled to hit the market. According to Vector, the watches, which have a 30-day battery life, have sensors that enable wearers to acknowledge messages with the flick of a wrist and are also equipped with “built-in contextual awareness that allows the device to understand patterns in user behavior.” There are two models, the Meridian, at $199, and the Luna, at $349. The company is also selling limited-edition models on its website, www.vectorwatch.com.
• Guess has partnered with Martian Watches, the Irvine, Calif., smartwatch maker, to introduce the Guess Connect. The watch is equipped with a Martian-made module incorporating a microphone and speaker. The watch connects to the voice-command app on your phone; you can issue voice commands via the watch and also use it to respond to e-mails and text messages. In addition, the watch receives notifications from the phone: you can customize your watch’s vibration patterns so you can distinguish different types of alerts and see old alerts by tapping the watch’s crystal. The Guess Connect will be in stores in the fall; prices will start at $399.
• Kenneth Cole showed a new collection of smartwatches called Kenneth Cole Connect, featuring Bluetooth technology. The watches, priced from $135 to $165, let you receive alerts from your smartphone and control the music it plays. You can also operate your smartphone camera using the watch, so that you can take a picture of yourself from a distance. The watch, which has a chronograph and offers a choice of different time displays, is powered by a standard watch battery. It went on sale right after Baselworld. (Fellow fashion-watch company and Baselworld exhibitor Fossil Inc. announced in September that it, too, would be bringing out smartwatches, through a partnership with Intel and Google. The first ones will be coming out this year under the Fossil, Michael Kors and Emporio Armani brands. The watches were not shown at Baselworld.)
This article originally appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of WatchTime.