In theory, being able to strap the equivalent of a smartphone to your wrist is very attractive, but in practice the results haven’t been so pretty. And if you’re a devotee of luxury timepieces, you’re invested in objects that are built to last, not ones that become obsolete with every operating system upgrade. That’s why Montblanc’s new TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap looks like the most elegant smart watch solution so far.
According to Alexander Schmiedt, Montblanc’s director of category management, “Our customers are open-minded—they want current technology and they appreciate timeless tradition.” When the company’s in-house design team started to develop a smart watch a year ago, they had to look into the future. “The idea is that the products should become a lifetime companion—in 20, 30 years you should like it even more,” says Schmiedt. “So far the lifecycle of smart watches has been the opposite.”
Montblanc’s simple solution was not to try and pack a mechanical watch with digital odds and ends, but rather to combine a highly functional e-Strap with its TimeWalker timepiece collection. Should the gadgetry become out of date, you can swap out the band without having to abandon the watch.
This interchangeable strap features an integrated technology device that offers an activity tracker and it syncs with your smartphone to provide notifications and Find-Me functions. The wearer is alerted of incoming messages by vibrations. It connects, via Bluetooth Low Energy, to selected Android and iOS smartphones.
The strap itself was designed with as much attention to aesthetics as the watch itself. “The Timewalker is the sporty extension of Montblanc,” says Schmiedt. “When they introduced the first desktop computers they said it would be the death of Montblanc pens,” says Schmiedt. “Yet the more you have modern technology, the more our clients appreciate the tradition of fine watch making.”
TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap models will be available in June with or without the e-Strap device and range in price from $3,465 to $5,400.