HP partners with Movado to launch new line of connected smartwatches

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HP is no stranger to connected wristwear. Just last year, the company teamed up with luxury Swiss watchmaker Movado to launch its “Engineered by HP” initiative in the form of the Motion and Bold Motion, two high-end smartwatches that use a combination of LEDs, sensors, and a vibration motor and processor to deliver notifications from a paired smartphone. And at an event in New York City on Wednesday, the company announced the expansion of that partnership: It will soon launch Movado-licensed wearables that blend HP’s tech with the stylistic sensibilities of fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, and Hugo Boss.

Movado is making the watches, and HP is supplying the technical expertise. “Customers want smart accessories that make everyday tasks easier and allow them to stay connected without forcing them to compromise on style,” Bill Gesier, HP’s general manager of wearables and platforms, said in a statement.

“Engineered by HP enables top fashion labels to keep their brand’s design aesthetic and still support the digital essentials that make a smartwatch experience compelling.”

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There is a wide variety of smartwatches from which to chose — more than 25 different models at launch, HP said — and no two look the same. The Juicy Couture variant is, as might be expected from a brand that celebrates “glamour” and “style,” appropriately chic. It’s adorned with glossy gold paneling, sparkly gems at each tick marks, and a plastic, pink, illuminated gemstone. The Tommy Hilfiger model, meanwhile, is decidedly more masculine, sporting a large LED display, angular steel rim, and aggressively bold, white numerals. But there’s a constant among them: none of the watches bore the hallmark signs of silicon.

Unlike, say, the Apple Watch, HP and Movado have concertedly favored fashion over connectivity. In fact, the wearables are notable for what they lack: a heart rate monitor, a blood oxygen-measuring pulse oximeter, and even a speaker, microphone, Wi-Fi, and cellular capabilities. The effect is more bespoke accessory that internet-connected gadget, but given the targeted clientele, here — i.e., folks interested in a watch with a smidgen of technology rather than technology that also tells the time — that’s perhaps a wise strategy.

Despite the collection’s aesthetic diversity, each watch functions remarkably similarly. Each notifies of upcoming calendar appointments, incoming calls, text messages, emails, and social media updates. Watches with digital displays, such as the Tommy Hilfiger model, show the first few lines of incoming messages, caller ID, and multiple time zones. But all share the same smartphone companion app, and one that covers all wearable bases. There’s fitness tracking in the form of step counting by day, week, and month, a notification screen that lets you enable and edit individual settings (you can turn off all calls alerts, for example, or every messaging notification), and a world clock screen that allows you to edit locales and time zones. And there’s a shop for accessories.

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Under the hood is HP’s proprietary mix of silicon. Inside’s a traditional coin-sized battery that powers the watches’ timekeeping machinery, but there’s also a long-lasting Lithium-ion pack that lasts “at least” up to five days on a charge, HP said. There’s electronic smarts enough for more, too: HP said brands can enable features on a per-watch basis. Last year’s Movado Bold Motion, for instance, tracks sleep cycles and can wake you up gradually

Watches from Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Coach, Juicy Couture, and Cuderia Ferrari will debut on Amazon, at brick-and-mortar Dillard’s locations, and on the respective brands’ websites. They’ll ultimately range in price from $195 to $325, and will be compatible with iPhone and Android devices running iOS 8.0 and Android 4.4 or higher, respectively.

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“We value our relationships with Movado Group and look forward to continuing to expand our Engineered by HP platform through the Movado rand portfolio,” Gesier said. “Our legacy of innovation is helping fashion-forward brand brands infuse technology into their designs to give consumer the stylish timepieces they want, but that are more connected and responsive to the way they live today.”

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