Withings’ Activité — Enhancing a Classic Timepiece With Sensors

With the impending threat of smart watches making activity trackers obsolete, Withings has made a brave, bold move to enhance a classic timepiece with activity monitoring capabilities. The end result is a timeless watch with a second dial that displays your progress towards your goal. 

Activite is first and foremost a timepiece and it is a bold move for a technology company to enter into the traditional world of watchmaking. Created by a team of Parisian designers and Swiss watchmakers, Activité can bravely command its $390 price point without having brand recognition let alone any history. 

Activité pushes activity monitors beautifully into the realm of lifestyle products versus fitness gadgets. Its designcentric marketing video opens with an architectural tour of built urban environments with two understated chic individuals gliding about the city on foot and bike. With no spandex in sight or any adrenaline driven visuals, Activité is being marketing to the Net-a-porter crowd of chic, intelligent adventurous women and men of the world.

Similar to other activity trackers, Activité tracks your movement, monitors your sleep, and has a smart alarm feature that wakes you up with a gentle vibration. It is water-resistant up to 5 ATM so you can swim with it if you wish. And because it connects to your smart phone, it automatically displays the exact time. Most importantly, you don’t need to charge it. It will run on a battery for up to a full year. 

The watch also comes with two interchangeable straps — leather for everyday wear and plastic for sport — to seamlessly blend into your lifestyle. 

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Comment by Glenn Zucman on June 25, 2014 at 11:20am

Hi Syuzi, this is an interesting (and beautiful) product. We still live in a world of rubber bracelets, so fitbit, nike fuel, et al, will all probably have their market share for some time to come, but it's nice to see something so elegant. I've seen other tracker or personal security wearables lately that strive to be jewelry. I imagine we'll be seeing more.

I've been thinking about wearables recently in terms of "facing in" vs "facing out." By "facing in" I mean "about the user." And by "facing out" I mean about the world the user is enmeshed in. Fashion wearables seem to be so much about Facing Out, whereas so many other wearables seem to focus on Facing In. Wearing a fitbit does have a nice geek factor, but a device like the activite seems more about Facing Out.

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