Up until recently, smartwatches have largely been limited to slightly less fashionable options from tech companies, and luxury watchmakers have largely steered clear of the smartwatch movement. Now, we’ve got nice-looking Android Wear smartwatches from the likes of TAG Heuer and Fossil, among others.
While we might not expect to see an Android Wear Rolex anytime soon, we could still see smart features being embedded into luxury watches. Bulgari, for example, just revealed a new luxury smartwatch that will have contactless payment features from MasterCard and WiseKey.
The new watch is called the Diagono Magnasium, and it certainly is a beautiful-looking watch. The real kicker is that it’s got a contactless payment system onboard. The system is made possible by WiseKey, a cyber security company, and it allows you to securely unlock the Bulgari Vault app where encrypted personal information is accessed from the cloud.
As far as the tech behind the watch goes, it’s really quite simple — It’s a watch with an NFC chip stored inside of it. As such, contactless payments aren’t the only smart thing that the watch can do. It can also unlock hotel doors and car doors, as long as the doors themselves have the appropriate technology.
The way it works is very similar to mobile payments made with smartphones. Once it’s all set up, all you’ll need to do is hold your watch to the NFC-enabled payment terminal to pay for your goods.
The idea of combining smart features with classic watches could certainly be very appealing to customers. Many see smartwatches as simply another gadget, and would prefer a classier look. Not only that, but watchmakers like Bulgari likely don’t want to undercut the looks that they’ve built up over decades. Still, Bulgari clearly sees the advantages of connected devices, and is taking advantage of the technology.
“We believe that technology and craftsmanship can be artfully combined to deliver a valuable and unique benefit to our clients without compromising the integrity of a timeless mechanical luxury watch,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of the Bulgari Group, in a statement.
We expect to see more high-end watches with smart features like the Bulgari Diagono Magnasium, as well as more partnerships between smartwatch makers and companies in the fashion industry.