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Swiss watchmakers are teaming up to fight Apple and Google

Aaron Souppouris, @AaronIsSocial
February 27, 2015
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Swiss watch companies are finally waking up to the potential of smartwatches, with the launch of models from three different companies. Mondaine, Alpina and Frederique Constant have revealed their take on the smartwatch today, and they're all very similar, and very familiar. All three are powered by MotionX, a new "open platform" for watchmakers to build smartwatch features into traditional watches.

MotionX smart watches support activity tracking with goals and alerts, sleep monitoring, over-the-air updates, and a battery life exceeding two years. Rather than going with digital displays, the new products feature analog dials to show progress, and sync with branded apps for Android and iOS devices, much like Withings' Activité smartwatches. In fact, everything on offer here is like the Activités. It's clear there's a distinct split in the smartwatch world, with the Swiss companies, Withings and Citizen building smartwatch features into traditional watches, and the likes of Apple and Google building more smartphone-like platforms.

Frederique Constant smartwatch

Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT), the Silicon Valley / Swiss joint venture behind MotionX, says more than ten different "horological" smartwatches are coming in 2015, and notes that the three companies signed up so far are only the "initial partners" -- it's expecting more traditional watchmakers will start churning out MotionX watches soon.

More than ten MotionX smartwatches will arrive this year

So what do the first swiss smartwatches look like? The common theme here is that they all look like the respective companies' existing models. Mondaine's watch (the top-most image in this article) is based on the "Helvetica Bold" introduced last year. It's an odd choice, given Mondaine is known for its licensed Swiss railway watches -- made more famous by Apple -- but the Helvetica is a modern, original design. In keeping with their brand aesthetic, Alpina, which is famous for essentially defining the modern sports watch, has an all-metal model (below), while Frederique Constant's watch (above) is a far more ornate affair.

The first watches to come from this partnership will arrive in June. Expect a few more product announcements before then.

Alpina smartwatch

In this article: motionx, smartwatch, watch
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