Dear digital watchmakers. You are doing it wrong.
There is a war raging for real estate on your wrist, and the industry seems to be missing the boat on two important points. First, they are dismissing 300 years of handcrafted horology and the watch as status symbol. Secondly, they have ignored ergonomics and simplicity by not putting information where it needs to be.
Let’s break these points down to discover truly what the future of wrist computing should be.
Watches as Status
If you’ve ever sat in a boardroom, and you’ve seen a Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi Bezel” peek out from under someone’s sleeve, you immediately know their standing in the meeting. Watches are symbols of importance and power but also can be very telling of a person’s personality. Apple Watch and the tons of generic Android-based wearables sterilize that status. They completely socialize your wrist because of their inferior materials and their ubiquity of purchase at big box technology stores. You can’t maintain a class structure if the barrier of entry is $200.
However, digital watches do one thing very well. They keep us informed without having to pull out our phones. By having social status and notifications existing on two different platforms, more and more people are choosing to wear two watches.
Information in the Wrong Place
Have you ever been driving your car with your digital watch on, received a message or notification and found it wasn’t easy to read that message? It happens to us when we are typing on our keyboard as well. There is something not very user-friendly about information that needs a quick glance appearing on top of your wrist.
Everyone does it. The forearm pivot towards your face to be able to see the message on your digital watch. It’s kind of a Dap move we all do a hundred times a day.
From an ergonomic and user experience perspective, we believe this type of data is in the wrong place. It needs to be even faster to access, not require an extra hand movement to evaluate and be even more private.
We believe that there is a solution that allows the fans of automatic and gear driven watches to get all of the modern digital communication combined into one wearable device. The solution won’t be a watch but instead will be an e-ink smart band.
There are already unique solutions in the marketplace that have all of the technology needed to solve this problem. Just no one has mixed all of the components while trying to solve for both sides of the issue.
There are three main parts to this solution. The buckle strap, the hole strap, and the BYOW (bring your own watch) in the middle.
Status and horological hierarchy are maintained by allowing you to keep your valuable time keeping automatic watch. You can’t replace $20,000 in handcrafted gears with plastic.
Next the top of the watch band where the buckle traditionally lives will be used to house the battery power. There are battery in-band solutions like Reserve Strap already. A leather wrapped battery band is perfect since you don’t see that view of your forearm. It’s the dark side of the moon and an ideal place for hiding power or circuitry.
The bottom part of the watch band, or the hole strap, will be where the e-ink display gets positioned around your wrist. This display will show your notifications, calendar alerts and calls. Since the screen is on the inside of your wrist, only you will see these messages while you drive or are typing on your keyboard. The messages will be at an angle that allows a quick glance and dismissing them will be as easy as a swipe. There are already several e-ink solutions that try to create a complete watch when only a smart strap is needed.
Truly a better wrist experience for all.
FES Watch with e-ink
Hodinkee Apple Watch Editorial Year One