Luxury Swiss watch maker IWC Schaffhausen has revealed a few details about its answer to the growing popularity of fitness trackers and smartwatches. It’s called IWC Connect, and it’s a fitness tracker that also works as a remote control for as-yet unnamed smart home devices. It’ll be built into the straps on its super swish Big Pilot watches in the near future. Cool, right? Well, no, not really. The trouble is, it looks like a big, ugly pimple on the side of what is a normally fine looking timepiece.
Exactly what the IWC Connect will do when it’s released isn’t very clear yet either. Apparently, it’ll provide “fully fledged activity tracking,” so expect steps, calories, and distance covered to be included, plus sleep tracking potentially added for good measure. The slightly unusual addition of smart home controls is even more hazy, and all we know for now is it’ll, “give wearers control over certain devices connected to the Internet of Things.” Not much to go on there, but at least it got a funky buzzword into its press release.
There’s no mention of Bluetooth or connection with a smartphone, so it looks like notifications won’t be part of the package. If the IWC Connect is intended to compete with the Apple Watch Edition, it’s not off to the best start.
IWC says it has worked with another company to produce the IWC Connect, and the idea was to create something that didn’t interfere with the mechanical watch’s aesthetics. What it has got looks a bit like a small Misfit Shine strapped to the strap, and it appears distractingly out of place. Withings managed to incorporate fitness tracking into a normal looking watch, so why couldn’t IWC?
It’s not the first luxury watch maker to try and add smart functionality without rebuilding or releasing a new model. Montblanc announced the slightly bizarre eStrap earlier this year, for example, and Kairos makes smart straps that fit many different watches.
The first IWC Connects will be available for IWC’s Big Pilot watches, which cost somewhere around the $15,000 mark, but can go for twice that if you want a limited edition. How much the Connect will cost isn’t known, but it’ll be sold as an optional extra for IWC Big Pilot watches. We’re promised more information will be revealed over the coming months.