Even luxury Swiss watch makers such as Montblanc are trying to muscle in on the wearables market to remain relevant in an age where many people don’t wear watches, and those that do are increasingly turning to smart watches that work in tandem with smart phones.
Montblanc has released not a smart watch, but a smart band called the “e-Strap, which is part of the Timewalker Urban Speed collection. The strap/band has a metal screen which can receive various notifications and messages from a phone.
There’s a well known watch blog called A blog to watch which states:
￼The e-Strap features a high-end leather strap that has a carbon fiber texture to it that Montblanc calls “Extreme Montblanc Leather” and is produced by them in Florence, Italy. At the bottom, sitting under your wrist is an electronic module made from DLC (diamond like carbon) coated steel or in gray steel. Apparently, there are a few color and size options.
For Montblanc, the e-Strap means that they can still offer traditional mechanical luxury watch with a strap that has a built-in wearable – perhaps the best of both worlds for some people.
It sounds like a rather crazy idea to be honest, and perhaps a sign of desperation that the traditional watch makers are scared that their business will be eroded from the likes of the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch, amongst others.
Even luxury watch maker TAG Heuer has recently announced that they’re intending to release some kind of smart watch with an announcement coming at the end of 2015 at the earliest, according to the company’s CEO. And last year, Patrick Pruniaux who was the vice president for sales at TAG, joined Apple to work on the Apple Watch. So obviously someone in the luxury watch market thinks that smart watches are the future…
The Montblanc band can be bought separately for $300, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the price of an average Montblanc watch which comes in at around $3,000.
Opinion is divided over the impact of smart watches on the Swiss brands – many people say it won’t affect them that much (and publicly they have stated the same, but they would say that wouldn’t they?), but the growing proliferation of smart watches and developments such as the Montblanc band seem to suggest that the watch industry’s time could be up.
RELATED: check out our review of the Moto 360 smart watch.