Movado, a longtime watchmaker perhaps best known for its relatively affordable luxury watches, is following its Swiss brethren into the ferocious smartwatch ring. In a press release on Monday, the company announced the Movado Motion and Bold Motion, variants of its men’s and women’s watch lines decked with LEDs and sensors engineered by Hewlett Packard.
Why HP? The Movado Motion and Bold Motion are a part of the computer company’s ongoing initiative, dubbed Engineered by HP, to augment jewelry and clothing accessories with technology. This began in October of last year when the company recruited famed fashion icon Michael Bastian to design the MB Chronowing, a sporty men’s smartwatch. “We work with these brands, they bring us their vision, and we add the smarts to it,” HP’s PR director, Mike Hokey, told The Verge.
The partnership with Movado is HP’s second with a luxury brand, and one that might be described as aesthetically conservative. The Movado Motion and Bold Motion trade the big, bright display found on most smartwatches for analog watch hands, a light-illuminated, pulsating blue inner bezel, and tick marks that indicate incoming messages on a paired iOS or Android phone. Distinct light patterns and vibrations indicate the category of notification — a blinking watch face for a calendar appointment, for example, or an illuminated minute hand for a Facebook post. (The intensity and appearance of notifications can be customized in Movado’s companion smartwatch app.)
The aim, HP Manager of Wearables Sridhar Solur told The Verge, was to make a smartwatch that could “[continue] to work as a watch” without anybody noticing. The company seems to have achieved that much.
The minimalism carries throughout the smartwatches’ interiors — neither pack many sensors to speak of. The Movado Motion and Movado Bold can track sleep and steps thanks to embedded accelerometers, but lack a heart rate monitor and blood oxygen-measuring pulse oximeter. Also absent are a speaker, microphone, Wi-Fi, and cellular capabilities, but Movado says the stripped-down design helps the Motion and Bold to achieve great battery life. It’s tough to argue that point; the Motion lasts a remarkable two years on a charge, and the Bold a week.
Besides battery life and aesthetic simplicity, Movado’s touting alarm functions and chronological accuracy as the other big selling points of the Motion and Bold Motion. When connected with Movado’s smartphone app, you can set “sleep cycle alarms” that wake you up gradually with haptic feedback, and the watches periodically synchronize time and date with a central server.
The smartwatches aren’t exactly cheap, but the $695, 44mm, unisex, water-resistant Bold — available in black or stainless steel with a silicon wrist strap — is a lot cheaper than a few of the other luxury smartwatches we’ve seen. Even the $995 Movado Motion, which comes in a Museum Sport model for men and a smaller Bellina model for women, slots in at a few Benjamins below some common Apple Watch configurations.
Both go on sale at Movado.com today.