With last week’s announcement of its IWC Connect device — an “intelligent tool” embedded in the straps of its watches — IWC Shaffhausen becomes the latest Swiss watch brand to offer a high-tech alternative to both traditional mechanical watches and so-called smartwatches such as the recently released Apple Watch.
According to the company, the concept behind IWC Connect is “to enable owners of IWC timepieces to control their connected environment directly from the wrist while also maintaining the integrity of a handcrafted mechanical timepiece.” In other words, to compare and contrast it with other “smart” and “connected” products introduced by Swiss watch companies over the past year or so, it appears to have more in common with Montblanc’s Urban Speed e-Strap (you can read about it here) — in that all the electronics will be inside the strap rather than in the watch itself — than with such “hybrid” devices as the MMT Horological Smartwatches and Bulgari’s Diagono Magnesium Concept watch, all of which have electronic components incorporated into mechanical movements.
While IWC has released little detailed information on IWC Connect, its will be designed to allow wearers to control and interact with the “Internet of Things” (IoT), the term for a network of connected devices in one’s environment, as well as track an unspecified range of daily activities. The first IWC watch family to have its straps to be equipped with IWC Connect technology will be the popular Big Pilot’s Watch collection.
“Seeing that many of our customers and brand ambassadors are wearing connected devices alongside their IWC watches, we chose to work with a like-minded digital technology company to develop an elegant, aesthetically complementary solution that eliminates the need to have additional devices on the opposing wrist to your IWC,” says IWC CEO Georges Kern. “But, and this is essential, we do not touch our beautiful watches – an ‘IWC’ stays a mechanical handcrafted timepiece. We’ve engineered an intelligent design solution which perfectly integrates and underlines our product worlds.”
IWC says that further information on IWC Connect, including a launch date, will become available on its website (www.iwc.com) and social media channels over the coming months. Scroll down to see a photo and teaser video.