More and more watchmakers are adding wearables with smart connectivity to their lineups, which means we’re constantly being introduced to new names and companies. The latest is A.B. Art, a German firm making watches since the beginning of the 90s. At Baselworld 2018, the company introduced the Touch X, its second hybrid smartwatch that’s notable for its clean design, high-end materials, and unusual gesture controls. We tried got a chance to try it out.
Slim and comfortable
The Touch X is very slim at 8mm, really light on the wrist, and we found the nylon strap very comfortable to wear. If you don’t like the look of the one we tried out, there are various other color combinations and face designs to choose from.
The 40mm case on the model seen in our video is made from PVD-coated stainless steel, and the face is covered in sapphire crystal — two aspects that separate this from many of the other hybrid watches out there, and bring it more in-line with A.B. Art’s other more costly Swiss watches. A 37mm version is also in the works.
As it does not have a touchscreen or buttons other than the crown, a series of gestures using the touch sensitive screen have been implemented to control aspects of the watch. For example, two swipes to the right will place a call to the person that called last, or whoever is stored as a special contact, while a swipe and a circular motion sends a message to an emergency contact. You can start specific activity tracking with a two-fingered swipe down the screen. It’s an unusual method of control on a non-touchscreen watch, but we were pleased to see it working well in our quick demo. The connection between the watch and phone is strong as well, due to a special thin antenna inside the sapphire crystal.
The Touch X is very slim at 8mm, and really light on the wrist.
The app is custom designed for A.B. Art, and it’s a little basic in terms of design. We saw an Android version, which didn’t match the more modern look we’ve become used to with apps from companies like the Fossil Group. However, it seemed to perform without an issue, and since the company is still some time away from launch, the design can change. We were also disappointed to learn there’s no way to customize the features related to the gestures. You couldn’t substitute the two-finger swipe to start or stop music playback, rather than activity tracking, for example.
Still, the Touch X is more about design and build than masses of smart functions. It’s not ostentatious, or flashy. It’s sensibly styled, and we like the sunken metal face under the sapphire crystal, which gives the watch real depth and visual interest. The presence of sapphire, and the unusual touchscreen technology, makes the Touch X an interesting addition to the growing ranks of hybrid watches produced by watch manufacturers. Back all this up with a battery that lasts for around 10 months along with a price of 280 euros (~$346), and you’ve got a fashion-oriented smartwatch we think many will want to wear.
The Touch X smartwatch will be available through A.B. Art’s own online store in the near future, with a choice of six different strap and watch face combinations.