A mechanical smartwatch may sound like a contradiction in terms, but a Tel Aviv-based company has come up with a way of making one. Instead of requiring the wholesale replacement of your existing watch, Modillian is a “smart strap” that turns a mechanical or "dumb" wristwatch into a smartwatch by pairing with Android smartphones via Bluetooth.

Smartwatches have all sorts of features that make them attractive even to the non-techhead. The idea of having a watch that can tell you if you have a call or message without having to dig your phone out of an awkward pocket at an inconvenient time is attractive, but it also comes with a lot of negatives. The biggest one is that it means wearing a smartwatch, which often sacrifices a bucket of aesthetics for a thimble of features.

Some people prefer mechanical watches, and some of those people have watches they've invested hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in. Some people may just have a watch that they’re perfectly happy with and have been for years, if not decades, and have no desire to give them up for a flat slab of Bluetooth plastic. So, how do you square the circle?

The Modillion smart strap is based on the strategy of not replacing the watch, but the strap. Developed by industrial engineer Eran Reuveni and electronics engineer Gilead Kirschenbaum, Modillion has electronics and a Bluetooth module built into the strap’s clasp. This module pairs with an Android phone and informs the wearer of incoming calls, texts, messages, and reminders by means of vibrating alerts.

The makers say that the module can stand up to everyday use with a weekly charge and that it’s been designed for easy use. They also say that the device has completed the design phase and will be the focus of a crowdfunding campaign starting June 10 to raise capital and collect pre-orders.

Further information on the Modillion smart strap will be released at the campaign launch, though the makers suggest that the technology will first be aimed at upmarket leather watch straps.

Source: Modillian