Swiss luxury watch brand, IWC, known for its first-class reputation in traditional horology, has released an unannounced, left-field entry into the smartwatch market—the Jones Pocket Smartwatch. We managed to get our mitts on a prototype and had a play.
The news comes as a surprise to the industry; IWC kept its cards very close to its chest, revealing nothing about the project at Baselworld 2016, where a number of other traditional watchmakers took their first steps into smartwatch culture. IWC dabbled in digital design last year, with the IWC Connect, but the Jones Pocket Smartwatch is a whole different ball game.
IWC has been making first-rate pocket watches since its founding by pioneer-spirit, F.A. Jones, in 1868. The pocket watches of the time were cutting-edge, innovating new techniques and advancing horology. In this spirit, IWC has decided to embrace the digital era and play a hand in the smartwatch game.
Why IWC chose a pocket watch for their first smartwatch is not exactly clear. But a look at its built-in apps and functions suggests it’s more of a playful gimmick for gentleman than a serious tool. It features an “Espresso Bar Locator”, it’s made from ethically sourced materials, its alarm sound is a “randomly selected clip from an unsigned Scandanavian electronica artist”, and its notification noise is supposedly an ice cube falling into a glass of 50-year-old Glennfiddich Single Malt.
Despite not having an in-built phone—it’s “made for play not work”—it does have some plus points that make it a serious contender in the smartwatch market, such as a three-day battery life, that can be charged by winding the crown—either manually or with a small electric drill that comes with the watch (it can also be charged by mini-USB). It also features a camera to rival any smartphone on the market, a 12-megapixel dual-pixel wide aperture camera.
The watchface, a crisp replica of IWC's first pocket watch, is interchangeable with any from the entire timeline of IWC pocket watches. Pushing the 12 o'clock marker on any dial brings up a history page that describes the story behind each watch face. Other in-built apps include Vivino, the wine bottle locator; Watchville, the watch news aggregator; and subscriptions to popular watch magazine apps Hodinkee and Xupes Magazine.
The Jones Pocket Smartwatch supports both iOS and Android, it runs 4G and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0.
Retail price will start at £1,200.
More information at IWC.com
To see our collection of pre-owned and unworn IWC watches click here.