Smartwatches were the big story of last Baselworld when Swiss watchmaking royalty Tag Heuer released its Android Wear collaboration. Fast-forward a year and smart technology is the word on everyone’s lips at the annual watch show, and smartwatches are creating the biggest buzz in the heartland of timekeeping.
Essential reading: Best smartwatches 2016
One of the quirks of Baselworld, from the perspective of someone who’s spent a decade attending tech launches, is that you don’t actually have to show off a product to make a splash here. So while many of the watches below got their Baselworld debut, details are thinner than Donald Trump’s combover.
So what were the big stories of the show? Read on to find out.
Michael Kors Access
Fossil has spoken of its desire to roll out 100 wearables this year from its collective brands, so the appearance of the Michael Kors Access smartwatch wasn’t a total surprise. But with Android Wear on board, it’s anther powerful addition to fashion tech’s growing line-up of smart technology. There are two models aimed at men and women – men getting sports and ladies getting bling. Make of that what you will. Details on specific features are scarce but we know the MK Access will launch at the end of the year and cost $395.
HP and Movado group’s partnership continues to bear fruit, with the smart tech being rolled out to more brands. We caught a glimpse of the Ferrari Scuderia XX and Tommy Hilfiger, which like the Movado Bold, hide all evidence of any smart watch features. There was no sign of the Hillfiger and the Ferrari wasn’t allowed out of its glass prison, and there’s no word on a launch date or pricing as yet.
Nixon The Mission
Possibly our favourite smartwatch of the show, Nixon’s The Mission is an outdoors beast, designed with surfers and skiers in mind. Aside from partnerships with Snocountry and Surfline, it’s waterproof to 100m and features built-in GPS – making it the full package when it comes to the great outdoors. It will be out in October priced $400.
Where to start with Fossil. The newly announced Android Wear duo of the Q Marshal and Q Wander didn’t show at Basel, despite being confirmed, but the company did show off a huge range of new smart analogue devices with activity tracking and smart notifications. The Fossil Q Mate, Fossil Q Crewmaster, Fossil Q Gazer and the Fossil Q Tailor all come in at $175, and will be released later this year.
Casio WSD-F10 Outdoor Smartwatch
Casio’s Android Wear debut was unveiled at CES 2016, but we got a proper hands-on here at Baselworld. Against the backdrop of the formidable Nixon, the lack of GPS is an issue on the Casio, but it does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve. The dual layer screen with the ability to last a month using its secondary low power LCD is a bonus, and so is its connected camera, which uses the smartwatch as a viewfinder.
Tissot Smart Touch
Tissot’s T-Touch range isn’t exactly smart, and we weren’t expecting too much on its new Tissot Smart Touch. However, the watch links to the Tissot app to display weather data and will also use its watch hands to display turn-by-turn directions. Neatest of all? All these features are solar powered, which means you’ll never need to charge.
Samsung de Grisogono
We got a quick glimpse of the Samsung Gear S2 from de Grisogono and it’s certainly blingy. Just a standard Gear S2 Classic on the inside, the Swiss jewellery giant has adorned it with 56 or 71 diamonds, depending on the case size. The price? €14,000 if you please.
Bvlgari Diagono [email protected]
It’s not new but Bvlgari also smartened up its mechanical range with the Diagono [email protected] Partnering with MasterCard and WiseKey, you can set up smart payments via the Bvlgari app. Bvlgari comes under the same parent company as Tag Heuer, and the brand’s dynamic chief Jean Claude Biver confirmed at Basel that Hublot would also get a smartwatch in 2017 and Tag was likely to back up its own Connected smartwatch with new skews.