French consumer electronics company Withings has broken new ground with its latest product, Activité – a health tracker that is discreetly integrated into an elegant analogue watch. The launch signifies a shift towards a second wave of wearables that integrate functionality into desirable items with fashion-driven aesthetics.
The Swiss-made watch is simple in design, featuring a stainless steel surround on a white or black face and a naturally tanned leather strap. A second analogue dial running from 0-100 reveals its role as a fitness tracker. This dial marks progress on a defined activity chosen in the accompanying app – for example, taking 10,000 steps or burning 1,000 calories. As with other fitness trackers, data is synced to the app via Bluetooth.
The design is intended to be a move away from conventional wearables – which have previously displayed a technology-driven aesthetic – towards beautiful design that stands the test of time. For convenience, the device is powered by standard watch batteries and can stay charged for up to a year.
Aiming to appeal to a wider market beyond the tech-savvy early adopters, brands are realising the importance of good design in bringing wearables into the mainstream. Look to our coverage of Product Design + Innovation 2014 and SXSW 2014: Wearables and Fashion for more insight.