Mark Nichol wanted the technology found in smartwatches, but couldn’t find a model that met his design requirements.
Rather than settle, he created Chronos, a piece of hardware that sits discreetly beneath an existing timepiece in consumers’ collections. It launches today with a pre-sale on the Chronos Web site, wearchronos.com. During the 45-day pre-sale period, Chronos will be priced at $99. After that, the price will be $129. It will roll out to stores next year. “We’re targeting retailers that sell a lot of watches, like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s,” said Nichol, cofounder and chief executive officer.
He ticked off statistics that stated 1.2 billion watches are sold worldwide annually and 86 percent of the world’s population wears watches, to underscore Chronos’ potential.
“We hope to sell 50,000 units next year,” said cofounder and chief technology officer Luke Fromowitz. “We think we can add features and get the device thinner” than its 2.5 millimeters.
Chronos brings health tracking and “curated” notifications — Nichol believes people have no more than five really important contacts that they want to hear from — to virtually any watch.
The 33 millimeters-in-diameter disc has intuitive UX, uses microsuction to attach to the back of any watch and syncs with phones via Bluetooth. Chronos’ LED lights and vibrations enable personalized notifications and its accelerometer tracks steps. Gesture and tap recognition control commands, from answering phones to playing music.
Chronos is a graduate of the PCH Highway 1 incubator program and Nichol and Fromowitz are now working with PCH to bring the device to scale.
The company, which hasn’t done a formalized round of financing yet, has relied on angel investors, including Mike Harrington, the billionaire founder of computer game development company Valve Corporation.