Here’s the dilemma: you love watches, mechanical watches, with a classical or vintage look. On the other hand, you also love connected items and the concept of a smart watch is something you dug into, especially since the introduction of the Apple Watch. However, you don’t like it. You think it’s not going to fulfill your needs of mechanical / vintage / luxury timepieces (and you’d be right). You don’t want to wear two watches either and the solution found by Sinn is… weird. Well, Maintool, a young French startup, might have a solution for you, with a discreet connected strap that can be used on any kind of watch. Here’s Classi.
The concept is simple. You have a watch, any kind of watch, classic, vintage, sporty, mechanical, tourbillon, cheap, ultra-expensive, ugly… whatever, you love it. Thus, an Apple Watch or a Samsung Gear is not an option. You definitely don’t want to wear these soulless digital objects, which are definitely going to be obsolete in a year or two. However, like most of us, your smartphone is your best friend (and at the same time, your wife / husband also became your worst enemy). You’re connected, you check your emails, text messages, notifications and calls all the time (that’s a real disease, but that’s generational). How to combine your love for watches with this need of being connected? Recently, two major brands showed us their vision of the smart strap: IWC with the Connect and Montblanc with the E-Strap. Both are adaptable on watches from the said brand and both, not ideally, have a screen to notify you. These are actually not very elegant solutions and both are quite expensive.
An new answer to the all-the-time-connected-mixed-with-my-beloved-watch-issue could be here: the Classi strap (see the Indiegogo campaign here), a visually normal watch band, adaptable on any kind of watch, without screen but linked to your phone and to a dedicated app. This could demonstrate that classical watches and technology are not enemies. The concept is simple: a strap, which inside, instead of the usual padding, includes all the required technology. It includes 2 batteries (7-day power reserve… nice combination with an IWC Big Pilot maybe), a bluetooth system, a vibration motor, a 3 axis accelerometer and one single button. Good point; no screen, avoiding to ruin the design of your watch. Indeed, a 1960s Longines with a screen won’t be very… relevant, to say the least.
What can this strap do? First, it gives notifications, via a discreet vibration (calls, WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS, emails…). Then, you can reject calls, for instance in a middle of a meeting, by pressing the hidden button. It will also come with a navigation mode (small vibration to tell you to go left or right), which will prevent you to stupidly walk in the streets looking at your phone. It also measures activity, can be used for alarm notifications and finally, it comes with a SOS mode, which sends a text to a chosen person. All of that is hidden – only the sensors and charging plugs can be seen on the reverse side of the bracelet.
Visually, Classi is just a slightly thick strap. But for the rest, once attached on your beloved watch, it is simply invisible – and that’s actually something we encourage, as strong lovers of elegance and mechanical watches. Classi exists in 3 versions: brown or black calf-skin, as well as a luxurious alligator version. It can be fitted on watches with 18mm, 20mm or 22mm lugs (so to say, 90% of the production). It comes with a dedicated app to install of iOS or Android, in order to manage notifications and settings.
Looking at this, our only concern remains the protection of the watch. This strap includes batteries and electronic devices. Our question is about magnetic fields that could, potentially arm the movement of a mechanical watch – something that the people behind Classi ensured that was tested. If Classi has no effect on your watch, and if you can’t do without being connected, this might be a suitable solution – and one with a reasonable price, as during the Indiegogo campaign, calf leather versions start at $99 (for the 100 first subscriptions) and $149 later (and $350 for the alligator version). You can see more about the team, the specs and the different options here, on Indiegogo. Production is expect to start in end of 2016 and deliveries should be April 2017.