From the new Nokia 3310 to the return of a physical keyboard on the BlackBerry KeyOne, 2017 is already quite a year for retro tech; but Samsung has shown everyone how to do it properly with the Gear S3 Pocket Watch. Yes, it looked back several centuries for inspiration and came up with a spin-off Gear S3 watches that slip into a pocket in your waistcoat. It’s totally off-the-wall, roaringly good fun, and completely unique. When we say unique, we mean it. There’s only one of each model you see here in the world.
Samsung had them specially made for Baselworld 2017, and each has an inscription on the back panel to commemorate the occasion. The pair are a part of a larger concept collection based around the Gear S3, showing what could be possible in terms of design. Calling it a “reinterpretation of the classic pocket watch,” Samsung says the watches pay homage to watchmaking in the 16th century, when the pocket watch was common.
How does centuries old design mix with modern day technology? The body on each watch is large, solid, and heavy. One model is obviously based around the Gear S3 Frontier, with a black textured finish and a compass on the cover. Lift the cover up to reveal the Gear S3’s watch face, complete with a touchscreen and all the usual features. Flip the watch over and there’s even a heart rate monitor, although you may look a bit odd holding it against your wrist while running on the treadmill.
On the sides of the body are buttons to interact with the software, but the rotating bezel is missing. The second model has a much more ostentatious design, with an analog watch on the cover, and a flashy metal body. A bow to attach a strap is on both watches so the watch can be attached to your jacket or waistcoat, just like the original models, or adapted to work with a belt clip.
The pocket watches were joined by other Gear S3 concept watches, but were the only ones to deviate so drastically from the Gear S3’s look. They stood out in a refreshingly fun way. While not the most fashion forward version of the Gear S3, we can see lovers of retro tech (hipsters, we’re definitely looking in your direction), and those who adore tech curios being interesting in owning one. Samsung told us it’s not an official product at the moment, but there wasn’t a refusal to say it wouldn’t become one in the future.
It’s interesting to note that the pocket watch has traditionally been suitable for both men and women, with designs for women being more enduring over time than those made for men — an approach that may appeal to the wearable industry today. Additionally, not everyone wants to wear a watch, smart or otherwise, so what about one that clips to your belt and slips in a pocket? Perhaps Samsung is about to kick-off a pocket watch revival, tech-style?
If so, would you buy one?