German luxury brand Montblanc has developed an interchangeable smart watch strap to augment its traditional timepieces.
Unveiled this week, the Urban Speed e-Strap houses a tiny touchscreen computer capable of tracking activity, receiving a range of notifications, and remotely controlling smartphone cameras and music players.
The €350 ($414) strap – Montblanc's first foray into the wearables sector – can be paired with devices from the brand's Timewalker range. The 0.9-inch screen sits discreetly on the inside of the wearer's wrist.
As highlighted in Luxury Recalibrated, tech firms are now some of the biggest competitors for luxury brands. In response, companies worldwide are experimenting with new strategies to blend cutting-edge technology with classic design. Montblanc's modular approach gives wearers the choice of discreetly augmenting their existing timepiece, depending on the occasion.
Meanwhile, other brands are banking on luxe-tech partnerships to create purpose-built wearables that fuse high-calibre technology with high-end design. In December 2014, Italian eyewear company Luxottica announced a partnership with Intel, following the chipmaker's collaboration with cult US luxury brand Opening Ceremony.
The e-Strap will be available from June 2015.
For more on the challenge of creating luxury wearables, see our GlazedCon tech conference report, and stay tuned for coverage of the International Consumer Electronics Show, currently under way in Las Vegas.