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Swiss watchmaker Mondaine jumps onto Apple Watch’s turf

Swiss watchmaker Mondaine jumps onto Apple Watch’s turf

That iThingy You're Wearing
July 29, 2015

Mondaine, long synonymous with Switzerland and, by extension, Swiss watchmaking, has begun taking preorders for a limited edition of its new “Horological Smartwatch.” The first Swiss smartwatch to hit the market, it certainly won’t be the last. The Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart Watch is available in a limited quantity of 1,957 units.

Mondaine has designed the Helvetica 1 Smart Watch to be a timeless, simple accessory that can be passed down for generations. This lies in stark contrast with Apple Watch, which many accuse of having no lasting value.

Mondaine and MotionX have collaborated on this smartwatch to allow the timepiece to monitor activity and sleep. The Helvetica 1 Smart Watch will monitor your sleep, provide get-active alerts, and automatically adjust its time alignment. It will also provide sleep cycle alarms, when you want them. The data from the MotionX sensors can be backed up and stored in the cloud. The smartwatch will pair with an iOS or Android app, but Mondaine was only able to provide images of the Android version at the time of writing.

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The Helvetica 1 has a battery that lasts more than two years, a huge difference from the 18 hours of Apple Watch. However, the device does not show any data digitally, and you must use a companion app on your smartphone to access any of the advanced technological features. There is, however, a way to retrieve some of the information in an analog fashion using the watch’s crown.

Only 1,957 units of this limited edition have been manufacturered, a number chosen to commemorate the year the Helvetica font was designed. If you want one, it will cost you a pretty penny, though. The Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart Watch starts at $850 during the preorder period beginning today, July 29. Four additional standard models are expected to launch in October 2015.

It’s good to see some additional choices show up in the smartwatch category. I don’t know that Apple Watch will be directly affected by the Mondaine entry into the market, but I look forward to any additional innovation the potential competition spurs Apple to make.

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