Movado’s getting into the tech game with its connected watch.
The 134-year-old Swiss company has partnered with HP on its first technology-enabled product, the Movado Bold Motion. The $695 watch comes in two styles: stainless steel with a black PVD finish or all-black PVD-finished stainless steel. A 44-mm case has a matte, ceramic finish and a black dial that comes with either teal blue or white LED dot, hands and hour markers.
“It’s important to us to use technology that allows us to stay true to our brand offerings,” said Mary Leach, chief marketing officer at Movado. “We aren’t going to start something that’s not totally in sync with our brand look and feel.”
The watch is an extension of the Movado Bold collection, the brand’s range of larger, more modern watches that have graphic elements and was introduced in 2010.
The design process took about a year and Leach said the brand was careful about how it incorporated technology in the piece. For instance, the museum dot at 12 o’clock and the markers placed around the bezel light up and send various notifications for the wearers, but the overall feel is still very much that of a watch.
The timepiece is not as much of a tech play as some other smartwatches that have hit the market, including offerings from Apple and Tag Heuer. It’s more of a design play embedded with subtle technology that benefits the wearer.
It’s not a computer on the wrist — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Not everyone wants a deluge of notifications or to replicate their phone with a watch, Sridhar Solur, general manager, wearables, at HP, told WWD.
Solur was clear that the product’s main function is telling time, and after that, the timepiece is designed to monitor progress and give “timely cues.” All of this is done with a series of LED lights and haptic vibrations; there is no display screen in sight. All technology is powered by HP.
“We’re not attempting to make smart objects, it’s about making existing objects smarter, and that means we have taken a watch and unobtrusively added technology,” Solur said. As for the specific functions, he explained that the wearer can monitor their “progress” in a number of areas, from how active they are to how many unread e-mails they have. Notifications can be set for text, e-mail and calendar events. The watch’s charge lasts for a week on average, but varies depending on usage.
Starting today, the Movado Bold Motion will be available for preorder at Movado.com and engineeredby.hp.com. Product will begin to ship within weeks, with distribution expanding to third-party retailers in December.
Solur said HP took a collaborative approach when it decided to enter the connected device market last year — versus creating its own smartwatch in-house.
“Early on, we said if it’s an HP watch, it’s like wearing a GE [General Electric] watch. We are very open about it,” Solur said. “People like brands. What you wear is fashion and what you carry is electronics.”
HP worked with Michael Bastian on a smartwatch that was sold exclusively on gilt.com in July of 2014. The pieces sold out within three hours and proved to be a great test for Solur. This validated that its target segment — AMUSE (affluent, mobile, urban, social, educated) and HENRY (high-earning, not rich yet) — was hungry for these designer-connected devices.
The two watch styles, which retailed for $349 and $649, were reintroduced with wider distribution during the holiday season last year and “production could not keep up with sales,” Solur said.