Thanks to an integrated SIM card, the Limmex watch can make emergency phone calls at the push of a button. Once the button is pushed, the watch automatically dials a preset emergency contact, such as a family member or physician. If there's no answer, it moves on to the next contact on the list, going through the list and circling back to the top until someone answers. In some cases, the watch can also connect directly to emergency services. It includes a speaker and microphone so that the wearer can have a conversation.
We've seen cellular watch phones before, 2009 seemed to be a high point for the genre. They typically use more digital designs that can come across as clunky, like modern day calculator watches. The Limmex, on the other hand, has a clean metal-and-leather Swiss watch look that is much more refined than the average telephone watch. It comes in more than a dozen different styles, including men's, women's and children's models. The emergency phone function is basically just the cherry atop a nice piece of wrist wear.
Of course, the emergency phone function seems like a bit of an unnecessary feature. How often are you ever in a situation where you don't have your cell phone but are wearing your formal, leather-banded dress watch? You don't bring your phone to bed, and you might leave it behind on a jog, but you probably don't want to be wearing your Swiss watch in either situation. At least the Breitling Emergency II uses a satellite emergency beacon for use beyond cellular range.
Limmex lists applications such as dangerous work environments, sports and use with at-risk groups like the ill and elderly, but it seems like all those situations could be equally served by a more conventional communications device. It says that the watch is better suited toward emergencies because it's within easier reach than a cell phone and makes for faster calling.
There is something cool about having emergency response at a touch of your watch, and a number of organizations have been quite willing to overlook the Limmex's questionable usefulness. The watch has been scooping up awards all year, including a Red Dot Award, an Innovator of the Year award from the M2M Challenge at Mobile World Congress, and "product of the month" recognition by Wearable Technologies.
The Limmex watch first went on sale in Switzerland in October 2011 and launched in the German market last year. Limmex does not currently offer the watch in other countries but plans to. Prices range between CHF495 and CHF895 (US$530 to $960). The alarm function also requires a mobile service subscription.