Designer Kate Spade has partnered with Fossil to launch a new Wear OS smartwatch — the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2. It’s the sequel to the immensely popular Scallop smartwatch, which was announced at the beginning of 2018 to great acclaim. We spoke to Kate Spade’s Chief Marketing Officer Mary Beech about the new watch, the design changes, and the technology inside.
For our impressions on the new watch, check out our Kate Spade Scallop 2 hands-on review.
Trusted design, new beginnings
The Scallop stood out because it was a smartwatch designed for women, by a company that understands women’s fashion.
“The first Scallop watch sold out within a week, just because of its feminine detailing, mixed with the functionality she was looking for,” Beech said, highlighting its popularity.
There’s no wish to deviate too far away from this with the Scallop 2. This time, it has been designed by Kate Spade’s new creative director, Nicola Glass, who is carefully reinventing the brand’s look. The message is similar to before — empowering on-the-go women with a watch that reflects the brand’s playful, fun style. You can see Glass’ influence on the watch through the use of the spade motif, and the scallop design that defined the first model.
The scallop design made the first model unique, and really set it apart from other smartwatches. For the sequel, the scallop edging has been kept around the bezel, and then added to the new straps, too.
“We’ve added three new straps — a silicone strap, a leather strap, and a metal bracelet,” Beech said. “Both the silicone and the bracelet include the scallop edging, which is a new design perspective for us.”
The spade motif has been introduced in an interesting way. It is present at the top of each screen on the watch and when tapped, provides instant access to the heart rate monitor — a new feature for the Scallop 2. New creative director Glass has used the spade motif extensively in her new designs.
“I think so many brands look for a symbol to identify them away from the name of the brand,” Glass recently told Fashionista. “It’s such a great shape, so I looked at really modernizing it and playing with it in a way that could be both subtle and bold.”
The Choose Your Look feature returns for the Scallop 2, which allows you to customize the watch face to match the colors of your outfit, and is now called up using the new side button below the crown. It’s a neat idea, speeding up a cool feature, but Kate Spade had the foresight to make the button user-configurable, so it becomes a quick access button for the app of your choosing. There are also 11 new standard watch faces too, which Glass also designed, and they reflect many of the new visual styles introduced throughout the Kate Spade range.
Technology, and the future
For the Scallop 2, you can choose between a 42mm gold or 42mm rose gold body, paired with one of the three 16mm straps, and each watch has a heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, NFC for payments through Google Pay, Google Assistant, and swim-proof water resistance to 3ATM. The screen measures 1.2-inches, just like the first, and the 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 platform powers it.
Why isn’t it running the new 2018 Snapdragon 3100 processor? We asked Mary Beech why Kate Spade decided to launch the watch with the 2100, and not the 3100.
“This is something we talked with our partner Fossil about a lot,” Beech said. “We asked what we wanted this watch to do, and what will the customer want the watch to do. When we came up with answers, and learned the 2100 would do all those things.”
Kate Spade doesn’t need to be a tech trendsetter here, and Beech was cautious about quickly adopting the new technology. Why deal with any unexpected downsides, when the Snapdragon 2100 allowed the company to meet its feature and design goals perfectly well? When asked if the new platform would be adopted in the future, Beech had nothing to announce, but did say the company is always looking into what it should be doing next, to create the best product and experience possible.
The remaining technical features include a 300mAh battery which we imagine will return a day of use before it needs recharging, 4GB of internal storage space, and Google’s redesigned Wear OS operating system, so the watch will pair with both Android and iOS devices. The leather and silicone strap models cost $295, while you’ll pay $335 for the model with a metal bracelet. Additional straps cost between $58 and $68, depending on the design.
The watch is up for pre-order on January 8 through Kate Spade’s website, and will be in stores from January 20.