Best of both worlds: This mechanical watch has a cool transparent OLED screen

Do you love mechanical watches, but still want the convenience of a smartwatch? If so, Kairos may have the answer with its newly announced timepiece, which combines the two watch worlds into one. The MSW 115 has a traditional, mechanical Miyota Japanese movement that is placed underneath an almost transparent OLED display, which will show all the usual smartwatch features. It’s a hybrid smartwatch, that could end up being the best of both worlds.

We say “could,” because the watch isn’t quite ready for sale just yet, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. On the technical side, it’s the screen that really makes the Kairos watch stand out. The company is aiming for between 40 and 60 percent transparency on the final model, which probably means the watch hands and face underneath will look a little cloudy, although whether this will be the case if the smartwatch screen is turned off isn’t known.

The effect, at least in the concept images and video, looks very futuristic. Except to see email and message notifications delivered on to it from your phone, along with social networking messages, a stopwatch, and fitness tracking information from the watch’s array of sensors. Additionally, Kairos plans to have the watch act as a remote control for music, the camera shutter, and for other devices.

Powered by an ARM Cortex M4 chip, the battery inside the watch could last up to a full week, if Kairos’ estimations are correct. The plan is for the display to only use power when notifications come in, and sit dormant the rest of the time — much like the e-paper screen used on the Pebble. A proprietary operating system will be installed, which will be compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones.

The watch’s case will be water resistant to three meters, built from stainless steel, and covered with a sapphire glass screen. The basic band is leather, and due to its standard fitting and 22mm size, it’ll be replaceable if you fancy a change. At 46mm in diameter, and 16.5mm deep, the Kairos watch itself is large, and probably won’t suit anyone with small wrists.

How much is this hybrid going to cost? The basic chrome Kairos is up for pre-order at $550 through the company’s website right now, but the standard price is listed as $1,200. The offer looks like it expires in the next 36 hours at the time of writing. Kairos offers a couple of other models. A black or gold version is $650, or a limited edition version with a Swiss SOPROD movement is $1,040 for a chrome model, or $1250 for a gold one. Delivery is expected to take place later this year.

Finally, and in an effort to avoid the technical obsolescence that comes with smartwatches, Kairos will replace the outdated components with new ones in the future, and service the mechanical side at the same time. This service costs a minimum of $100. Kairos appears to have thought of everything here, and if it meets expectations, it could mount a significant challenge to certain other expensive smartwatches on sale soon.


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