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A Guide to European Smart Watches

LogoBlack watchRed strap on watchSmart watch with leather strap

Helvetica 1 Smart Watch by Mondaine

One of most recognisable classic watches from Switzerland is becoming smarter. Helvetica range is a new design which is available on “smart” and “dumb?” watches. And I love it – you have a classic looking watch and no-one would know that it is high tech too.
There are no electronic displays, just one arrow giving you feedback on your progress.

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Mondaine came up with a way to make your ordinary watch a little smarter – Mondaine Paychip technology is now incorporated into a strap. Just change it on your watch and pay with your wrist.

thermometer and compass)

Once you set your daily goal that arrow will show percentage achieved. It tracks the usual – movements, calories and steps. This information is fed to your app on the phone to see progress and achievements.

Sleep tracker is another neat feature. It will tell you your sleeping patterns and smart alarm will wait for you to complete your sleeping cycle. Something new that I have not seen before – you do not have to wear it during your sleep. It will track all the same while under your pillow too.

Great design, quality built and now smart.

FACTS

MADE IN: Switzerland ESTABLISHED IN: 1951 PRICE: €730

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Suunto

This is a company that is dedicated to building portable computers (aka smart sports and diving watches) which can survive in extreme conditions. Suunto started more than 70 years ago by producing first mass-manufactured liquid-filled compasses. It then became a mainstream marine compass and diving computer maker before moving to dive and sports watches. All of their product ranges are made exclusively in Finland, the country crazy about outdoors in any weather.

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Suunto has launched the first watch-sized dive computer in 1997 and first outdoor wrist computer (which had built-in altimeter, barometer,

thermometer and compass) in 1998. It was 9 years before iPhone and 17 years before the Apple Watch launch.

When I came across this watch brand for the first time I was surprised about capabilities these watches have. The one I bought (Suunto Ambit 3) helped me with:
. tracking my daily runs
. training and participating in a triathlon
. navigation during trekking in the Welsh mountains
. helping me find my hotel when I got lost in Delhi
. tracking/displaying altitude, distance as well as keeping an eye on the level of risk for mountain storms while riding up to the Himalayas on a motorbike
. activity level tracking when surfing in Portugal
And that’s with the same watch!

FACTS

MADE IN: Vantaa, Finland ESTABLISHED IN: 1936 PRICE RANGE: €250 – €820

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LogoSwiss made SwatchSwiss Smart WatchSmart Watch Made in Switzerland

Swatch Touch Zero Two

It is not a full-fledged Smart Watch – we admit. But the main reason why most people will appreciate is that it is simple, robust and cheap enough to take it to the beach. Something you might not want to do with an iWatch or other more expensive equivalents. It, of course, also has some other neat features that most people will appreciate.

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Swatch brand was created by Swiss watchmakers to re-capture the market lost to new quartz digital watchmakers like Citizen and Seiko, by offering similarly priced watches based on the same technology. Another main ambition was to make analog watches popular again, by

making them colourful and playful. It is interesting to see that with Touch Zero watch range Swatch is moving away from analogue into the digital watch design.

Touch Zero range was primarily designed for Volleyball players. As it’s the main function is to count a number of hits you do during the game. But it also tracks the number of claps as well as daily steps. Just like most of the similar watches, it displays most of the information via the app on your phone. Another interesting feature worth mentioning – the watch gives you an option to select a ‘coach’ to guide you through your exercise targets. You can choose one of the three available: lazy, tough and super. How tough are you?

FACTS

MADE IN: Switzerland ESTABLISHED IN: 1980 PRICE: €125

www.swatch.com

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Company logoBlack Withings ActiviteClose up of Withings Swiss watchSmart Watches made in Switzerland

Withings Activité

One of the products from the Activite Health company. It tracks your steps, distance, swim, running and calories burned. I love the fact that it does not look like your usual “smartwatch”. All magic happens in the background via Bluetooth on your mobile. The second analogue face shows the percentage of your target achieved for immediate feedback, but everything else will be displayed on your app.

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Withings Activite is a premium version of Activite watch. You could buy a ‘Pop’ or ‘Steel’ version of this watch for half the price of the ‘Withings’. Although it is not the only difference, the main reason for difference in price is because it represents quality and reliability of a ‘Swiss Made’ expand..

watch.

Differently from most ‘smartwatches’, it does not have a rechargeable battery. Instead, there is a usual battery inside that last around 8 months. It then can be replaced by anyone using the special tool provided. One of the great features of this watch is the sleep pattern tracker – it can teach you new things about the reasons behind you feeling tired on some mornings.
In early 2016, this French company has been acquired by Nokia, with no major changes announced so far.

FACTS

MADE IN: Switzerland ESTABLISHED IN: 2009 PRICE: €390

www.withings.com

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