Sony's smart watch strap is now available in the UK

The Wena strap turns any watch into a smart watch.

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Sony first proposed the Wena Wrist, the curious smart watch with a dumb face, in a crowdfunding campaign back in 2015. Now, after years of availability in Japan, the wearable is hitting the international market and can be pre-ordered in the UK (no word yet on a US release). But it's not a watch -- nor even a smart watch -- in the traditional sense. Instead, the Wena Wrist is a smart strap designed to be worn with existing mechanical watch faces. You can use it to turn any classic or fashion watch into a smart bit of kit.

The tiny display is built into a buckle, showing phone alerts and basic activity tracking, and the strap also handles contactless payments. It's water resistant to 50 meters, and if you're after the complete package, Sony has also developed five matching watch faces with mechanical, solar and quartz movements.

Wena Wrist

And that is essentially it. Compared to an Apple Watch -- or even a Fitbit -- its functionality is seriously limited, which makes its price tag hard to swallow: the straps and watch heads range in price from £100 to £400, for which you could comfortably purchase the aforementioned Apple Watch.

However, the Wena Wrist will undoubtedly be attractive to horologists looking to enjoy some of the usefulness of wearables while maintaining a traditional aesthetic. And to hipsters that like to wax lyrical about the merits of staying disconnected (while still staying a bit connected). Perhaps if the straps had been priced more affordably they'd have wider-spread appeal, or conversely, if Sony had packed in more functionality, it might have given the company a good foothold in the luxury market -- something it's toyed with since it stopped building watches for Google's Wear OS.

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