Breitling aims for the sky with its first smartwatch

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015

Sky high price: The Breitling Exospace B55 Connected watch is aimed at pilots.

Following its first live demonstrations at this year's Baselworld, the Breitling Exospace B55 Connected watch is now on sale for a cool US$8,500 (RM36,512).

But that seemingly stratospheric price, four times more than a Tag Heuer smartwatch and on a par with a Gold Edition Apple Watch, has something to do with the fact that it is aimed squarely at those that spend their lives in the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere – i.e., pilots.

So while one of its closest competitors in the luxury Swiss watch market, Tag Heuer, has gone for an Intel chip-powered watch in a traditionally made Swiss package for its first attempt at a smartwatch, Breitling has taken the opposite approach.

It has started with one of its actual chronographs, complete with an analogue face, titanium casing and incredibly accurate time-keeping and added two small LCD displays.

These can be used, when synced with a smartphone via Bluetooth to show notifications – caller IDs, SMS, even WhatsApp, plus reminders and other pre-set alerts, but little else.

Don't expect a huge ecosystem of apps in support of this particular timepiece.

The apps and digital features that are available are, in Breitling's own words "tailor-made for pilots". So there's a tachymeter and a chronograph capable of supporting and logging 50 separate split times.

The watch also serves as a flight log, capturing and recording elapsed flight times from taxi to landing and cataloguing departures and arrivals.

The watch doesn't have a touch screen, either. Instead a combination of crown turns and button presses will activate or toggle through its various features.

Battery life is optimised by shutting down the LCD displays until the crown is depressed or when the watch moves through 35° – the angle of tilting the wrist to see the time.

Such a small list of features might seem like a huge disappointment, especially considering the price, but while Tag Heuer has designed a smartwatch that looks like one of its traditional timepieces, Breitling has looked at what the technology behind a smartwatch can bring to its existing devices, and integrated it without diluting or changing the products for which it is revered. — AFP Relaxnews
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