Geneva-based Hyetis is reaching out to tech lovers with a new timepiece that brings Switzerland’s tradition in watch-making together with digital technology. The company’s upcoming “smartwatch” is a combo of traditional and techie features that strikes a balance between nostalgia and the contemporary taste for connectivity.
Adding a quaint touch of retro to the rather avant-garde design, Crossbow features a Swiss-made automatic movement to ensure that the object's main mission - that is, to tell the time with precision - can always be accomplished. But that’s about it in terms of manual effort, as the rest is as smart and digital as it gets. Crossbow connects with smartphones that run on both iOS and Android using WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC. Configuring the phone can be done via a smartphone app, a program than can be installed on Windows, Linux or Mac OS, and an online tool on the Hyetis website.
The 46-mm case is made of Titanium Grade 5. Hyetis looked back to the 1970s with a design that nods to the bullhead models that were fashionable in that decade. In the original design, the pushers and crown were placed on top of the case, instead of the side. Here, instead of the crown at 12 o'clock, Hyetis installed a 41-megapixel(!) camera while the crown was positioned at 6 o'clock.
The design also includes sapphire glass on the front, a circular touch-sensitive bezel (the rim around the watch crystal) and a high-resolution color display in place of the dial. Hyetis claims the Crossbow works well underwater even at depths of up to 250 meters (820 ft), thanks to its “perfect seal."
Traditional buttons have been replaced with environmental sensors such as an altimeter, light meter, thermometer and barometer. The interchangeable strap features biometric sensors to monitor some of the wearer’s health markers while metal inserts of the strap carry two metal batteries.
An initial series of 500 Crossbow watches are now available for pre-ordering via the website. The early bird price is US$1,200 each, with delivery estimated for the end of 2013. The first buyers will receive a certificate with serial number followed by a box containing the card and the certificates needed to activate the watch when it is received at the end of the year. Later, Hyetis will offer pre-order options for the regular production models, with customization available through the company’s website.