This Startup Wants to Turn Your Rolex Into a Smartwatch
Let's face it. Smartwatches are geeky. They come in ridiculous shapes and colors and have batteries that barely last a full 24 hours. Many people who still wear wristwatches want something that, you know, tells the time, and looks good, too.
Rolex. Omega. Cartier. For some people, their watch is a status symbol. Can the same be said of the Pebble? The Moto 360? Even the forthcoming Apple Watch? Meh, not so much. Not unless your friends are obsessed with tech and nothing else.
At the same time, how likely is it that someone who already owns a luxury watch will buy one of these techy smartwatches?
One startup is looking to bridge the gap by making fancy analog watches smart. The team at Kairos Watches has developed something called the T-band, a device that replaces the band of a mechanical watch, adding smart features like notifications and activity tracking. Like smartwatches, the T-band connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and, voila!
There are three versions of the T-band, all made with adjustable rubber bands and designed to work with any luxury watch. One offers basic notifications via a multi-color LED indicator and vibrations, as well as a battery that can last more than seven days, the company says.
Another comes with a "hidden, discreet" display made of LED panels that are embedded below a thin “membrane-like" material. The third comes with a curved display with 170-dpi resolution, touch sensor and hardened mineral glass with an anti-scratch coating.
When it comes to activity tracking, all three include multiple sensors such as a gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and optical sensor. The basic model also comes with a skin sensor which detects skin temperature and sweat.
But, let's be honest, who goes for a run or a swim while wearing a Rolex?
Kairos has a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo which has raised about $5,500 of its $50,000 goal, with more than 40 days left to go. "Early bird special" prices for the T-band range from $129 to $199.