The name Larsson & Jennings may be unfamiliar to many, outside the world of stylish dress watches, but it’s about to become better known among smartwatch fans. The company is a newcomer to the world of watches, as it was founded in 2012, and even more so to hybrid connected watches. The Connect, announced at the Baselworld 2018 watch show, is its first. And we got to try it on.
It’s early days for the Larsson & Jennings Connect — the models we saw were still prototypes, and the companion app wasn’t finished. But we got up close with the watch’s design, and saw how work on the all-important app is progressing. The company makes beautiful, dressy watches, meaning they’re stylish, simple, and slim enough to slip under a shirt cuff. This same ethos has been carried across to the Connect.
Thin and light
There are two versions of the Connect, one with a 42mm case and the other with a 38mm case, and it’s the larger model that really catches the eye because of its incredibly thin profile. It’s also very light on the wrist, and the slim leather strap is pliant and comfortable. We’d certainly have no problem wearing it for an extended amount of time. You’d be surprised to learn it’s a smartwatch because of the design; there are no subdials on the face, and the crown isn’t flanked by other buttons. Add those elements, which can be found on other Larsson & Jennings watches, and the wonderful simplicity of the Connect would be lost. This minimalist approach makes the brand’s first watch stand out more.
The 38mm Connect is thicker, due to the same amount of technology being squeezed inside. It’s still the same overall style; but the watch loses some of its appeal with the thicker body. We couldn’t see any of the connected features working, but do know the watch won’t have a vibration motor inside. Instead, you’ll be alerted to notifications via a single flashing light under the 12 o’clock mark. This helps keep the body slim, and the coin cell watch battery lasts longer. It does lessen the value of an everyday smartwatch.
This may be less of a concern for a dress watch like the Connect, which is likely to be worn at times when the buzz of a notification on your wrist may be distracting. CEO Andrew Jennings told Digital Trends that people often feel the phone itself vibrate in a pocket, and therefore replicating it on the wrist isn’t always necessary. Outside of discrete notifications, the watch tracks activity, sleep, calendar appointments, and you can use the crown button to locate a lost phone, or activate the camera shutter. The app wasn’t ready and didn’t connect to the watch, but we were told its design was almost final.
First in a range of hybrids
Hybrid smartwatches continue to be the most interesting and diverse wearables you can buy, as there’s no compromise on design (and battery life) for watch fans. Larsson & Jennings has succeeded in making a very comfortable niche for itself with the traditional, Swiss-made timepieces, for which it’s best known, and we’re pleased to see it follow up with a connected watch that follows these same principles. Jennings also said the Connect is the first hybrid from the company, and it has plans to expand the range in the future.
We’re excited to try the Connect out in the real world. The watch is a minimalist stunner, and we haven’t seen many smartwatches of its type in the past. The app also looks well-designed and simple to use. The Larsson & Jennings Connect is set to launch in September for 215 British pounds, or a little more than $300. No U.S. price has been announced yet, but we’d expect it to be less on release.