Most major players in the watch game---think Rolex and Omega---have almost no interest in the smartwatch movement being led by big technology corporations like Apple and Samsung. But Montblanc is doing things a little differently and will start offering something called a Timewalker Urban Speed e-Strap, which will give wearable technology to watch enthusiasts without compromising (kind of) the beautiful craftsmanship and design of a standard mechanical timepiece. In many cases---it's the best of both worlds, but time will tell if it's a hit or simply a gimmick.
- Works with both Android and iOS.
- Talks with your phone via bluetooth.
- Comes on a pretty cool NATO style strap, but has the ability to attach to any 20mm or 22mm strap you want, so it's not exclusive to only a certain Montblanc watch.
- It's made of rubber-coated stainless steel with a black screen that can be read in any kind of light---more Kindle than iPhone.
- Battery life is five days.
- Will vibrate and give you notifications when someone emails, texts, or calls you.
- Has a bult in activity tracker which measures steps, calories burned, and distance traveled.
- It can play and pause music.
- The Timewalker Urban Speed e-Strap will come included with three different upcoming Montblanc timepieces and will also be sold on its own for around $420 USD.
- Here's a look of the (free) corresponding app.
- Here's a look at the device from the front. From this angle, it's very undercover.
If you're desperate for things like text notifications on your wrist and want the same functionality as a Fitbit without having to wear an additional deal, this looks like a decent option, albeit an expensive one. That said, the beauty of mechanical watches is the fact that there is no battery or computer chip powering these things, and that old-world craftsmanship and complexity is a good chunk of the appeal. Does attaching a little 2015-tech to your watch make it any less special? That's ultimately up to you. Just looking forward to some point in the next year or so when fitness trackers are as slim and discrete as a small band-aid on your body that does everything this does plus measures things like glucose levels, blood sugar, etc.
If you want to hear the opinions of others on this strap, head over to this comment section on HODINKEE. Some insightful thoughts from a few smart folks.