Have women's smartwatches just gone mainstream? There's more to high-tech horology than the Apple Watch

 
Laura McCreddie-Doak
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Frederique Constant's Horological Smartwatch

Bettridge’s Law states that if a headline ends in a question mark, then the answer is “no”. If that were always the case, then a column such as this would be a very short read indeed. But the question “can a stylish woman wear a smart watch?” is more complex than a simple “no”.


A few years ago it wouldn’t have been. Smartwatches were the preserve of those who liked to combine chinos with tucked in polo shirts. Or weren’t really watches at all but fitness trackers designed to help you train better. The word “watch” was a misnomer.

Then along came Apple. Its Apple Watch was a far from perfect answer to the smartwatch conundrum, but it was a step in the right direction. It had a crown and it functioned as a watch when it wasn’t ordering you to stand up and get some exercise,or alerting you to your latest email. But it wasn’t exactly stylish. It was too techy, too much of a computer, to work with outfits that didn’t involve trainers and Lycra, despite the fashion pack’s best attempts to convince you otherwise. All you have to do is look at pictures of Anna Wintour desperately trying to make an Apple Watch work with a Burberry dress to see it was no fashion accessory.

Then Hermès got in in the act. The French luxury brand gave it double wrap leather strap – its iconic Double Tour – and a new dial that was reminiscent of its classic Cape Cod, and suddenly that black mirror was looking a little less cold and a little more cool.

Soon after came the Swiss response to this American intrusion. Unsurprisingly, these put the words “watch” and “smart” on equal footing. Frederique Constant was first out of the starting gate with what it billed as the only horological smartwatch.


That technology was passed to Mondaine who put it in a more modern, less traditional case design. It couldn’t send text messages but it had other smart capabilities including sleep and activity monitoring. More importantly, it was something you’d actually want to wear, regardless of whether you needed to know how many steps you’d taken that day.

TAG Heuer also got in on the act, but its offering was one for the boys, based on the Carrera and, with a whopping 46mm case that definitely wasn’t designed with women in mind.

However, the latest addition to the fray might just tip the balance in women’s favour when it comes to combining style and technology. De Grisogono, a brand more renowned for micro-pavé than microchips, has brought out the first jewellery watch with smart capabilities. Its heart is Samsung, while its exterior is dripping in diamonds. It’s glamorous, feminine, connected and may well be a step towards getting a smartwatch on stylish women’s wrists.

Betteridge might even have to rework his law of headlines.