Baselworld, the world’s largest annual watch and jewellery fair, is over for another year. And what a year it’s been for the timekeeping world, with watches now doing more than ever before with the proliferation of smartwatches. And you can be sure that the leading watchmaking houses haven’t been left behind with this trend, either, and presented a really exciting range of the latest must-haves in tech wear at the Swiss event.
Here are our top picks of smartwatches presented at Baselworld 2015.
Breitling B55 Connected
Breitling has promised the instrument of the future with their new smart watch, and they may just be right. The B55 Connected — an advance on their 2014 B50, which has dual analogue and digital displays — does as the name suggests: it hooks up with your smartphone for the ultimate in two-way communication.
From your synced smartphone, change timezones or switch on alarms using the super clear interface, for ease and comfort; from your chronograph, you can upload various measurements and results — and save them — for clarity.
Designed for pilots, the piece comes in titanium with a black, carbon-based coating and blue rubber strap. Dual LCD interfaces also come in handy, with backlighting that automatically activates when the wrist is at a greater angle than 35 degrees — handy when you’re gripping aircraft controls.
Kairos Hybrid SSW158
The Kairos Hybrid is basically like wearing tablet around your wrist — without haring to wear an actual tablet around your wrist. iOS, Android and Windows Phone compatible, you can receive WhatsApp, email and Facebook notifications among others, use it as a remote control for your smartphone or tablet (how does taking a photo from your smartwatch sound?), set GPS-enabled automatic world time display all in up to nine different languages.
Oh, and there are 25 jewels in this RedDot-award winning design, too, for that extra bit of luxury.
Bulgari Diagono Magnesium e-Concept
This is one that we were pretty excited about. The Italian luxury design house unveiled their “wrist vault” — a smart timepiece that guarantees total security of personal information. They’ve even gone so far as to say that this new concept is the exact opposite of a smartwatch. With the help of a cryptographic chip and invisible, in-built antenna, the piece connects easily to its synced iPhone or Android phone as soon as it goes into a close enough radius, with thanks to the appropriately named Near Field Communication technology.
The cryptographic chip will, in future, be able to lock and unlock house and car doors, set alarms, and even make payments in total security. We feel like this is the kind of watch that would have saved Tom Cruise a lot of time in Mission: Impossible.
Gucci x Will. i. amYes, you read that correctly. Not content with — still inexplicably — having conquered the world of pop music, noted intellectual Will.i.am has teamed up with Gucci Timepieces to introduce a luxury smartwatch which doesn’t actually need to be tethered to a phone to work. Details are still scarce, but watch this space.
Another collaboration that was announced at Baselworld 2015 was this three-way partnership between these three giants in their field, who need no introduction. LVMH watch head Jean-Claude Biver, in unveiling the partnership, said that it was his “biggest announcement ever” in his 40 years in the biz, promising that it will be the “greatest connected watch” on the market when it’s launched at the end of the year. The only thing we know so far is that it’s likely to be a supercharged version of their famous Carrera line. Consider the gauntlet thrown, Apple Watch.