First look: Mondaine's Helvetica fitness tracker has separate day and night modes
Mondaine's latest timepiece, known as the Helvetica No.1 Smart, approaches fitness tracking from a traditional watchmaking point of view. It might not boast the same level of functionality as competing full-fledged smartwatches, but it does connect with iOS and Android devices to offer activity and sleep tracking, and also happens to be one of the most attractive wearables we've seen so far. We got a chance to see the new timepiece in the flesh at Baselworld 2015.
While Mondaine might call its newest Helvetica timepiece a smartwatch, it doesn't bare much resemblance to current flagship products, but follows instead in the footsteps of the Withings Activité. Unlike Android Wear watches or the Apple Watch, there's no touchscreen on offer, no notifications support and no voice functionality. Instead, the company stuck with a premium, traditional build, packing in activity and sleep tracking into an otherwise classic looking watch.
The device is made of steel, paired with a soft leather strap. The design falls in line with the company's Helvetica line that made its debut last year, combining touches of modern style with the classic Mondaine look. Where certain companies, most notablyLG, Huawei and Motorola, have made a concerted effort to design their smartwatches to look and feel more like traditional timepieces, Mondaine's effort is more effortlessly authentic, and it looks right at home next to the company's existing watches.
The device packs MotionX-powered activity tracking, keeping tabs on steps, distance and calories burned, as well as sleep quality. Feedback is handled via a sub dial with separate day and night modes. During the day, the larger, grey hand will indicate the day of the month, while the smaller, black hand will show progress towards a user-defined step goal. Once you hit the hay, the gray hand switches to the night mode indicator and the black hand keeps track of percentage towards the user's target for hours slept.
When connected to a smartphone the device will automatically set the correct time, and as there is no display to power, uptimes are of little concern, with the device managing a sturdy two years before you'll need to fit a new battery. User's can also use the device as an alarm clock by selecting a period of time in which they want to be woken, with the watch emitting an audible alarm when they're sleeping the lightest.
There's no word yet on pricing for the wearable, but it's expected to launch in Q3 2015.