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The Uvolt watch charges your phone with solar power — and without wires

Why it matters to you

The Uvolt analog smartwatch uses solar energy to recharge almost any device -- and may be the answer to your dead battery's prayers.

If you’re a smartphone user who’s frequently on the go, you’ve probably run into this scenario: A dead battery without a power outlet, charger, or extension cable in sight. Sure, you can pick up a portable battery, but they also will eventually run out of juice.

Enter the Uvolt, a rectangular (37 × 37 × 1 mm) analog watch that leverages an anti-reflective solar panel and custom circuit to passively recharge a high-density removable battery. The Uvolt’s 600mAh power pack sports a built-in cable (with one of three connectors — Lightning, Micro USB, or USB Type-C) and wireless tech that’s compatible with inductive chargers. It partially recharges in about 45 minutes and fully recharges in a day, delivering five hours of talk time, or three hours of internet browsing and video streaming.

It’s the brainchild of Antony Diaz, a Montreal native who developed a prototype as part of a high school science project. “We saw the potential, and wanted to transform it into more than a science project,” Diaz said. “We believe design is as important as how it works. When you have a solid structure, beauty falls in place just like gravity.”

In April 2015, Diaz teamed up with investor Marc-Antoine Bonin to turn Uvolt into a business. The two solicited funding from friends and family, recruited a team of engineers, and contracted an industrial firm based in North America to embark on mass production. Through a Kickstarter campaign, they hope to raise enough seed money for a first batch of Uvolt units.

“The reason why we wanted to built a port into the power bank is, you don’t have to carry a cable,” Diaz said. “We wanted to create a watch that’s sleek, not a gadget — something people can use every day when they need to charge their phone. We’re look[ing] for ways to make clean energy accessible through wearable technology. We see a future with accessible, unlimited clean energy, and the Uvolt Watch is our first step to get there.

The Uvolt comes in three editions: A $100 Kickstarter Special with a single watch, power server, wireless charger; a $190 Duo Edition with two watches, power packs, and chargers; and a $360 Family Edition with four watches, batteries, and chargers.

It’s available in black, white, silver, and rose gold, and is projected to ship to U.S. customers in December 2017.