Frederique Constant has quietly launched its smart E-Strap, a leather watch strap with fitness tracking tech built into the buckle.
While smart straps have a history of being somewhat… horrible, the Frederique Constant may have totally changed the game. Made of top quality leather with the tech built into the svelte buckle, the E-Strap has a legitimate claim to being a smart choice for those looking for a fitness tracker.
Essential reading: The best fitness tracker
The Frederique Constant E-Strap uses a standard watch strap fitting, and comes in 20mm and 22mm sizes. And while the company claims that it enables buyers to make any Frederique Constant watch smart, given its universal sizing, it can make pretty much turn any classic watch into a fitness tracker.
The Frederique Constant E-Strap isn't totally the company's own creation. It's based on the MMT E-Strap that we wrote about back in February. MMT is the company that supplies the technology and algorithms for Frederique Constant's Horological Smartwatch and was involved with Jawbone, back in its glory days.
And from catching a glimpse of the Frederique Constant E-Strap at Baselworld 2017, it's a thing of beauty. The module is connected to the buckle, and so well integrated that you'd hardly notice it wasn't just a standard part of the strap - we were genuinely impressed. It offers a top alternative to the host of hybrid smartwatches that are now hitting the market.
Essential reading: Best smartwatches from Baselworld 2017
Frederique Constant claims that the battery will last seven days, and take four hours to recharge. It's also water resistant to 3ATM which is impressive, but given that the strap is made of leather, we'd say it was inadvisable to make full use of that feature.
How does it charge, you ask? Through a tiny port on the left-hand edge, which is barely noticeable and does nothing to ruin the allure.
So what does the Frederique Constant E-Strap do? Step and sleep tracking is the order of the day, and the tiny buckle holds a battery, accelerometer and Bluetooth chip for connecting to your phone. The obvious problem is that there's no screen or visual representation on how you're progressing to your goal, but this is certainly a 'less is more' approach.
The E-Strap connects to the MMT-365 app, which is available on Android and iOS. It's the exact same app that the Horological Smartwatch connects to, so you're essentially getting the same experience, just via the strap.
It's available in black leather as well as light and dark brown, with stainless steel, gold and rose gold coloured buckles. It starts at €229 and rises to €249, depending on your combination of size, metal and leather. The strap available to pre-order now, for delivery in May 2017.
How we test