Think smarter: Check out these terribly clever timepieces

Laura McCreddie-Doak
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The first horological smartwatch

It’s not just a certain company based in Cupertino that’s innovating in the watch world...

The launch of the Apple Watch the other week highlighted the growing need for a women’s watch that does more than just tell the time. With adverts in US Vogue – 12 pages at an estimated $2.2m no less – and an endorsement by model Christy Turlington (who apparently used its fitness functions to help her train for a half marathon), Apple has conspicuously pursued the female market, something no other smartwatch brand has attempted.
With its soft-edged case and wide selection of straps, chances are it won’t get left on the dressing room table the moment you change out of your running gear. If, however, you’re not sold on the Apple Watch but still want something that does more than tell the time, you still have options.
For the past three years, unbeknownst to anyone in the watch industry, Frederique Constant boss Peter Stas has been working with a chap called Philippe Kahn. Back in 1997, Kahn became the first man to instantly upload a camera phone photo to a public network using technology he had created. With Stas’s watch expertise and Kahn’s tech nous, the pair designed the first horological smartwatch.
The clever thing about it is, only the wearer knows it’s a smartwatch. Though it looks like a regular timepiece, it also displays information on your health, exercise and sleep patterns via an analogue sub-dial at six o’clock. Smart, huh?
But you don’t need a microchip to increase the range of functions. Some mechanicals are just as impressive. Take Blancpain’s latest launch, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe for women. Named after the free-diving, self-propelled deep-sea submersible, this is a watch you can get deep with; three hundred metres deep in fact, making it perfect for scuba diving.
With Richard Mille’s eye-catching technical marvels, it’s more about what you can do while you’re wearing the watch than what it can do for you. The brand laughs at the idea that quality must mean weight, with matchbox-light pieces ideal for playing sport. Rafael Nadal never takes to the court without his, even in grand slam finals.
A watch needn’t be thought of as a mere accessory for special occasions. The modern, smarter timepieces released in the aftermath of the Apple Watch will be light and useful enough to remain on your wrist whatever situation you find yourself in.
Laura is editor of

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