Hybrid smartwatches are set to be one of the big stories of 2017, as the connected tech revolution blends with classic designs. Now the Grayton Origin has hit Indiegogo, which continues the hybrid trend by pairing a smart strap with a fully mechanical dress watch.
To call the Origin a smartwatch is a bit of a stretch, and we're not sure the crowdfunding campaign fully makes the distinction clear enough. The watch itself is a nice-looking mechanical self-winding timepiece, with a skeletal back and 'open-heart' face that lets you see the glorious workings inside. There's no word on jewels or calibres, but it does feature a 40 hour power reserve, which isn't too shabby.
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But the real star of the show is the smart features, which include activity tracking, phone notifications and call rejection, music control and a find my phone feature. All of this is contained within the smart strap, which ships with the watch itself.
The only Grayton image of the smart strap
The band looks decent enough on paper, but most of the pictures show the watch with the non-smart straps, and we don't really get a good enough look at the connected version. In fact, none of the official lifestyle pictures show the smart strap in action, which makes us a tad suspicious. In the past the added tech has made smart straps cumbersome and uncomfortable, so the jury is still out on the Grayton version.
The smart strap also features a pull-out USB port, through which two hours of charging will offer 10 days of connectivity. It's a neat idea, but again, we're not sure how this will impact comfort.
The Grayton smart strap has been designed to fit standard 20mm and 22mm watches, so there's no reason why it can't be paired with any watch to get the same smart features. However, there's no option to buy the smart strap without a Grayson Origin mechanical watch.
The Grayton Origin itself is a very nice looking mechanical watch, and for the $200 price tag, something of a steal. But it's no smartwatch. It's a conduit for the smart strap, which looks an interesting proposition, but seems a little light on details. We'll be monitoring this project closely.
Grayton has already hit its funding target and you can still bag an Origin for $199 with a smart strap in the box. Delivery is estimated to be in May 2017.