By Donna Hardy
Montblanc’s e-Strap might be the first smart, connected wearable from a luxury watch company
Montblanc’s upcoming Timewalker Urban Speed collection of watches will have an optional strap called the e-Strap. It features a high-end leather strap with carbon-fiber texture. At the bottom, sitting under the wrist, is an electronic module made from DLC (diamond-like carbon) coated steel or in gray steel. The e-Strap’s module is 40mm long, 14.2mm wide, and 9mm high (thick).
Ariel Adams of ablogtowatch. com asks, “Why isn’t Montblanc simply producing a smartwatch that combines technology with luxury watch design and materials? Well, according to most people in the luxury watch world, that isn’t what most of their consumers want….So, for Montblanc and other luxury watchmakers, they are taking charge by offering what they feel is the ultimate combo–a traditional mechanical luxury watch with a strap that contains a smart wearable device.”
Not all Timewalker Urban Speed watches will have the e-Strap. It will come on a few of the new 2015 Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed watches, but it can also be purchased separately.
The Montblanc e-Strap will be compatible with all 42mm- or 43mm-wide Timewalker watches currently or previously available. It should be able to fit other watches with similar lug space sizes.
The e-Strap’s electronic module will have a 0.9″ monochromatic OLED touchscreen display with a 128 x 36 pixel resolution. It will be able to handle basic calls, texts, emails, calendars, social media, and reminder notifications. The e-Strap will also function as an activity monitor/tracker with a pedometer and accelerometer to measure data that feeds into the accompanying iPhone or Android smartphone application. It will also be able to control your phone’s music player. The Montblanc e-Strap will use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to its host phone device.
The e-Strap will have five days of continuous use between charges, using its internal lithium ion battery. A micro-USB charging port is built in. Montblanc claims the e-Strap is shock resistant and splash resistant.
According to a report on mashable. com, “The e-Strap ($300) will be much cheaper than the watches it will support—many of Montblanc’s timepieces cost as much as $3,000—but run higher than some smartwatches like the Moto 360 ($249). The Apple Watch will start at $349, but it’s rumored the luxury ‘Edition’ model (like the 18-karat pink or yellow gold version) could cost up to $5,000.”
Ariel Adams concludes: “While it doesn’t represent the sentiments of all luxury watchmakers, Montblanc’s upcoming release of the e-Strap is a healthy sign that the often-conservative luxury watch industry is trying to work with smartwatches rather than ignore them.”