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Two analog watches - and a smart watch competitor
 
Tick Tock Tech

Traditional analog  watches take on smart wearables with a few  tech tricks of their own|
By Anand Parthasarathy
When I was two, I remember my  grandfather still used a pocket watch which he secured with a chain to his  coat.   Before I was six, he had graduated to a wrist watch -- a  Favre Leuba  Swiss  chronometer as it was grandly  known.   -- and it  lasted him the rest of his life -- another 16 years.|
Last week, US researchers Strategy Analytics   released findings that for  the first time , global  smart watch sales  overtook those of the  traditional Switch watch, selling  just over 8 million pieces in the last quarter of 2015.  Experts  have started   writing obituaries for  the analog dial watch -- suggesting it will be as obsolete as that other Swiss achievement, the cuckoo clock.  This is not the first time analog watches  have  faced a crisis:  in the 1980s, Japanese  makers like Casio, put a quartz element into the  watch to replace mechanical  time keeping  and  scooped up huge chunks of the market.  Swiss watches  lived to fight another day -- by emphasizing style and elegance over technology, and marketing  themselves as  elite  brands  ( like Rolex).
Now  the   traditional watch industry is fighting back once more -- and it has one agni astra or secret weapon:  enough people  prefer telling time  from a dial with  hour and minute arms , rather than peering at digital  displays ( which for many, means putting on spectacles).  They may like    features  like  health tracking   but are not ready to give up the comforting feel of a dial watch.   Many sport two devices -- a health wearable on one hand and a wrist watch on the other --- awkward!
If you can't fight 'em, join 'em.: Leading  analog  dial watch makers  have   taken on the enemy in unexpected ways, cannily addressing the pain points of smart wearables. Some,   like Seiko have harnessed  new technologies which do away with battery changes and run for years. Others like  Casio's   G Max series,  harness  Bluetooth  to access all the music and alerts you may have in your hand phone. Still  others like Timex,     add  activity tracking features normally found only in health wearables;  while Titan has launched Juxt which uses HP technology to  display notifications, track  activity and adjust to time zones.
We got to  try out some of the   'smartened'  analog watches that are now available in India  and share our experience. 
And just to keep track of  the challenge posed by   smart watches, we also put a market leader through its paces. 
Interesting times  lie ahead as tech meets tick tock... Watch IT!
Timex 'Metropolitan': Style meets smart activity
Timex took some of the starch out of the original  Swiss watch   and broadened its appeal: in 1930 it introduced  the Mickey Mouse watch.  Its newest model, the Metropolitan,  is just as disruptive -- with its  implied message:   'we give you the best of both worlds:  a classic analog  watch and  a smart  activity tracker.'    What's more, it works  with any make of smart phone. You download the Android or iOS app and it  tracks and stores data on your  steps, distances, calories.  And unlike  pure digital smart watches,  its battery lasts for 18 months.  If  like me,   you are a  dial guy when it comes to telling time,  but also aspire to keep fit , this is a great combo for Rs 9995. They supply two straps, one classic black,  the other,  luminous.
Seiko  Premier Kinetic  Perpetual: Forever and  a day
Health trackers monitor every  stride or jog of the wearer.  Why didn't any of the makers think to convert this energy to power the device itself? Seiko has done just that.  As its name suggests the Kinetic Perpetual  uses the kinetic energy of your body movement, and converts this mechanical energy into electrical energy to   power the watch. I am told,  a tiny rotor in the Caliber D 48 model that I tried out,  spins 1 lakh times a minute to convert my leisurely gait into  milliamps. When not worn, it goes to sleep  and when worn again ( even after 4 years) it leaps into action,  updating time and date.  I won't be around then, so I can only take their word for it that the watch's built-in calendar will work till 2100 AD.  This  chunky steel gents watch is no lightweight in any sense and costs Rs 54,500  but I saw some heavy discounts on the web.
Samsung Gear S2:  Game, set and match
Extensive research at Samsung's  India R&D centre has helped  make the Gear S2, a smart watch  for all seasons: multiple sensors, track your movements, then built-in 'analysts' assess your game and offer hints ( even diet and menu)! If you like to work out to music  it has a built-in player and space for some 300 songs. With its own dual core processor, and 1.2 inch AMOLED screen it is a small computer in its own right -- even though it works with your phone -- any Android phone with 1.5 GB RAM and an Android KitKat or later OS.  The design has a classic, yet very contemporary  simplicity to it.  It retails for Rs 24.300.




    


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