Wearables

Wellness wonder cure or a wonderful Swiss watch? The Teslar watch isn’t both

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

I felt good wearing the Teslar Re-Balance T-1 Chrono watch. The color scheme I chose is exactly “me,” and therefore I was always happy to put it on in the morning. On more than one occasion when I was wearing the Teslar, I received glowing compliments about the way it looked, and how it suited me. That’s essentially all I want from a watch, especially one that costs almost $900. It made me feel great, and others thought it looked great too. Job done.

Except this wasn’t really the only aspect of the Teslar that was supposed to make me feel great. It’s not simply a watch, it’s a wellness product made to combat the effects of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), where our bodies are disrupted by electromagnetic fields put out by everything from smartphones to overhead electric cables, and even 5G and Wi-Fi. Those who suffer from it have a range of symptoms including headaches, and say it affects sleep, concentration, and can reproduce flu-like symptoms.

It’s possible wearing a device like the Teslar could help alleviate the symptoms, and improve quality of life, and bring other benefits to those who don’t consider themselves EHS sufferers. I wore the watch for a few weeks and spoke to Paolo Marai, CEO of Timex Group Luxury Division, of which Teslar is a subsidiary brand, to find out more about why it’s backing this tech instead of launching a smartwatch.

Sensitive people

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Before going any further, let’s talk about electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It is a controversial subject because it’s not actually a recognized medical condition at all. A 2007 study concluded exposure to phone mast signals didn’t affect a person’s wellbeing, and the World Health Organization states, “EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to electromagnetic field exposure. Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem.” Want a pop culture reference? Saul’s brother is portrayed with an extreme case of EHS in Netflix’s Better Call Saul.

All that said, and regardless of what causes the discomfort, there are people whose lives are seriously affected by symptoms that they link to being exposed by electromagnetic fields. Marai also likened it to flu but in a different way, saying that some get it and others don’t. He said the Teslar watch may be beneficial when worn by someone who already practices other wellness techniques to combat the trials of modern life, including yoga.

It’s not just supposed to be only good for EHS. Marai said the watch may assist with getting over jet lag, and promote a calmer, more relaxed mind. Benefits will depend on the person, and to feel anything at all the watch will need to be worn for at least a week or two; but he did say, “a good portion,” of people will feel a positive effect from the Teslar watch.

Does the technology work?

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It’s easy to pass EHS off as the work of a paranoid mind, or someone reasoning away symptoms from another condition, and this is made worse by the pseudoscience, buzzword-laden gobbledygook about how the tech inside the Teslar works. You can read it all on Teslar’s splash page, but in essence, the triangular Teslar Turbo chip on the back of the watch emits a wave frequency identical to the Earth’s frequency, canceling out the electromagnetic pollution. It’s a step beyond those copper bracelets that promise to do something similar because the “non-Hertzian” nanotech chip itself is powered by the watch’s quartz movement.

Marai revealed the Teslar Turbo copper chip works like a battery, and the triangular shape is only for show rather than serving a particular purpose. Apparently, because it’s a kind of energy source it will deplete and expire one day, at which time it will turn black. It can be swapped out for a fresh new one at a small cost. The chip on mine is still copper-colored, so did I feel any benefit from wearing it?

Apart from basking in the glow of wearing a stylish watch, I didn’t notice any difference to my wellbeing when wearing the Teslar. I don’t suffer from EHS-type symptoms anyway, but did wear it during an overseas trip where I dealt with jet lag and associated tiredness. It didn’t seem to alter my usual recovery period. Marai told me he didn’t notice any positive effects personally either but added that after two weeks of not wearing it he felt that he wanted to put it back on. Read into that what you will.

A beautiful watch

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I’m skeptical of any supposed wellness benefit from wearing the Teslar Re-Balance T-1 Chrono watch, but I’m utterly convinced it’s a stunning timepiece that I would happily wear consistently because it looks brilliant. This is a luxury watch with a 42mm stainless steel case, a stainless steel mesh bracelet, and a subtly curved piece of sapphire crystal over the face. The blue sunray in the center of the dial contains three subdials for the chronograph feature and second hand, along with a small date window too. On the side of the case is the crown flanked by two pushers.

It proudly wears the Swiss Made tag, has been designed in Milan, is water-resistant to 50 meters, and is powered by a Ronda 3540.D quartz movement. It has kept perfect time for me, the 1/20 second chronograph feature operates smoothly, and the sunray dial catches the light beautifully under the sheen of the sapphire crystal. The mesh bracelet is flexible and supremely comfortable, and the watch is lightweight enough so that it disappears on your wrist. Wearing it overnight is no problem at all.

The little design details are perfectly integrated into the design, from the T etched into the crown, to the triangular second hand inside the lower subdial, and the easy to read numbers. If there is a downside, I did sometimes find the hands difficult to place on the face at a glance due to the way the light catches them outside. Overall, the Teslar Re-Balance T-1 Chrono is eye-catching, stylish, and classy. Exactly what you want from a Swiss timepiece.

Demands of the market

The Teslar watch range was designed from the ground up as an anti-EHS device, but what made Timex go all-in on such a controversial technology? Marai said there are significant plans for the future, should the Teslar range prove popular too, as it could be introduced across Timex’s other brands, and into other products including sunglasses and spectacles. During our conversation, Marai explained more about how the watch industry is coping with the influx of smartwatches, revealing more about the decision. He said Timex has looked at making a smartwatch, but found there is little overlap between the two worlds.

“Tech changes quickly, and the watch industry does not do this” he reminded me. “The mindset [in the watch industry] is for 20 years use, not two years. It’s a completely different world.”

However, he knows there is a need for something new, and the Teslar is something different. 65% of watches are purchased as gifts, he said, and differentiation is imperative to stand out in a highly crowded market.

“Even if someone doesn’t feel the benefit, they still wear a very nice watch,” Marai said.

This is absolutely my takeaway too. I recommend the Teslar Re-Balance T-1 Chrono because it’s a gorgeous watch at a price that’s in-line with what I’d expect to pay for an entry-level, high-quality Swiss-made timepiece. I can’t recommend it as a wellness device because I personally didn’t feel any benefit. However, if you do then it’ll be a happy bonus. There are Teslar watch designs suitable for men and women, prices start at $595, and all can be purchased through Teslar’s website globally. The watch seen in this piece costs $895.

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