Montblanc, known for producing a variety of desirable, expensive products including pens and watches, has come up with an ingenious solution to the problem of how to make a luxury smartwatch. It’s called the e-Strap, and it’s a replacement strap for its new Timewalker Urban Speed watches, and provides almost complete smartwatch functionality, but without sacrificing the style of a traditional luxury watch.
A small, 0.9-inch OLED screen with a 128 x 36 pixel resolution is fitted to where you’d normally expect to find the clasp, and displays all the usual notifications when connected to your smartphone using Bluetooth. This information includes emails, calendar entries, SMS, call data, and social networking messages. Additionally, the e-Strap has an accelerometer and a pedometer inside, turning the watch into a fitness tracker.
Montblanc has apparently used its own operating system for the e-Strap, and the supporting app is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones, which is excellent news. It’s not only a notification device, and also has music control functionality, can remotely operate your phone’s camera, and locate a mislaid phone using Bluetooth. Charged using a micro USB cable, the battery should power the small device for five days.
Turn your wrist over though, and you’ll see the Timewalker Urban Speed’s face, effectively giving the wearer the best of both worlds. Encased in stainless steel, the watch face measures 43mm wide, and has a ceramic bezel. The e-Strap is also made from steel that’s shock and splash resistant – pretty important given where it’s worn. It’s not very thin though, and the 9mm thickness may make wearing it annoying while working at a desk.
The e-Strap will be shown at the forthcoming SIHH 2015 watch show at the end of January, but no firm release date is known yet. It has been given a price of 250 euros, or around $300, which makes it more expensive than most dedicated smart watches. There’s also the fact you’ll need to splash out for Montblanc’s Timewalker Urban Speed watch too – and they start at 3,000 euros and go up to 4,700 euros, or somewhere between $3,600 to $5665.