Chronos first impressions: The wearable for people who hate wearables

CES 2016: This slim smart disc sits underneath your watch and makes it smart
Chronos is the wearable for haters

People have pretty strong opinions about wearable tech. There's as many Apple Watch haters as there are fanboys and girls. Chronos, the little disc-shaped module, is here to bring the benefits of wearable tech to the haters.

I got to try out Chronos at CES 2016 in a runthrough with CEO and founder Mark Nichol who told us that after the US, the second biggest pre-orders come from the UK. That's no surprise to us - this is about as discreet as you can get and Brits have traditionally been shy about wearing gadgets on their wrists.

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Chronos is a stainless steel, connected module that's less than 3mm thick, 33m in diameter, and connects to the inside of your watch - well, 80% of all watches on sale now - via micro suction tech, not magnets.

From a comfort perspective, it doesn't make too much difference as it feels cool and, you know, expensive like a watch. It's only from an aesthetic point of view that you might notice Chronos on the wrist. So 3mm is damn impressive but it's not built in, your watch (which has been precisely designed for your wrist) will sit up slightly higher than usual.

"I actually like the design of the Apple Watch but there's less individuality with these smartwatches. There's a handful of designs to choose from," Nichol told us. "Chronos allows you to wear your own watch, with all the memories that go along with that."

The disc handles three main smartwatch-style functions: alerts, activity tracking and gesture controls. The nicely designed companion app (for iPhone and Android) lets you customise which apps you get notifications from plus set vibration and light patterns so you know what's nudging you. The vibration is strong enough that you'll notice it. So far, so smart jewellery for the traditional watch wearer.

Chronos also acts as a basic activity tracker and shows you how many steps you've completed towards your goal in the app. This is displayed as a pretty, minimalist dial made up of segments and can be tweaked too if 10,000 a day isn't your jam.

Lastly, you can double tap the top of your watch to control features like your phone's music volume or camera or dismiss vibration alerts/phone calls. You don't have to tap too aggressively to get the Chronos module to pick them up either which is good news.

Elsewhere, there really is nothing to dampen our enthusiasm. The 36 hour battery life could be better. But considering how skinny this is and the fact that Chronos comes with a neat wireless charging dock which you can just pop your whole watch on, that's OK. It's also water resistant and if you're not sure if your watch will be compatible, Chronos has a sizing app to check.

It's a neat solution to the problem that, to some extent, our wrist space is already taken up by dumb jewellery and watches. Look out for a Chronos review on Wareable very soon.

13 Comments

  • Noone16 says:

    is this product ever coming out?

    • DupedByChronos says:

      Your article inspired me to pre-order this thing.  Now I'm beginning to wonder if this company is a scam.  They have delayed the release repeatedly.  It was supposed to come out in Spring 2016 and now it's almost October and they have gone completely radio silent on all social media.

      • cjentan says:

        Just got an email today that my Chronos has shipped. I think they are legit, but slow.

  • cjentan says:

    I just got the email today that my Chronos disc is shipping. Seems legit. 

  • TimeHunter says:

    I ordered one, but I'll not be charging it while it is attached to my watch. Induction charging is done by magnetic field, and that will not be good for my many mechanical watches.

  • early_adopter says:

    Chronos Wearables are ripoff artists. They sold a device and aren't delivering. They used the pre-orders to fund their shipments they sent to Macy's who already has them for sale. Cant get a lone to manufacture what Macy's asked for? no one willing to invest? well why not lie and steal from your consumers to pay for that order? Pre-orders should not be waiting while someone can order one from Macy's. Seriously they are in stock at Macy's and pre-orders haven't been fulfilled? And worse yet, to get more pre-orders they also advertised an android app that they have never delivered on either. I would cancel my orders on the principle of not doing business with a company that scams consumers out of their hard earned money. I would hope Macy's would hold themselves to a higher standard than to sell a product from a company like this. I hope this is not what Macy's also represents or wants to be affiliated with, a company that rips off its customers.

    I hope someone picks this up and internet shames you into shutting down your scam. 

  • taterau says:

    Do not buy this!!!! I got one and it did not live up to what was promised. My battery life was under a day and I wasn't particularly active that day. The tapping of the watch face never worked. After 2 days of wearing it the face plate came off rendering it useless. I emailed the company about the battery life and got a response that they would get back to me. they never did. I then let them know about the face plate coming off but again i haven't heard anything back. 

  • Karlb says:

    As others have said, don't order this awful, ridiculously over priced product from an awful company. 

    The vibration is so inaffective you never notice it, ever. The flashing light and different colours are never seen. You may see them in a dark room if you don't wear sleeves of any sort. Other than that you will never notice it. I own a £20 fitness band that is far, far superior and so much cheaper. 

    Chronos Wearables scammed their preorder customers by delivering to retailers before delivering to preorders as you would expect from any decent company. They never answer questions and treat paying customers as idiot cash cows. If only they had invested as much money in customers as they appear to have invested in biased reviews. 

    DO NOT BUY THIS HORRIBLE PRODUCT!

  • Karlb says:

    As others have said, don't order this awful, ridiculously over priced product from an awful company.

    The vibration is so inaffective you never notice it, ever. The flashing light and different colours are never seen. You may see them in a dark room if you don't wear sleeves of any sort. Other than that you will never notice it. I own a £20 fitness band that is far, far superior and so much cheaper.

    Chronos Wearables scammed their preorder customers by delivering to retailers before delivering to preorders as you would expect from any decent company. They never answer questions and treat paying customers as idiot cash cows. If only they had invested as much money in customers as they appear to have invested in biased reviews.

    DO NOT BUY THIS HORRIBLE PRODUCT!

  • timbambam says:

      I purchased the Chronos  disc. It sounds like a great idea. When I purchased mine I was under the impression that it would work with any phone. It turns out that they are still developing the app for Android . I got this wadi school going on 2 weeks. I  was told the app would be up and running by the end of November . Obviously that didn't happen . If I have to wait much longer I will be sending it back.  

        When you go to purchase one of these Chronos discs remember NO ANDROID APP. I WAS LIED TO WHEN I PURCHASED THIS DEVICE. 

  • blkatz1 says:

    I've had my Chronos for well over a month.  Hasn't worked yet on my Pixel XL.  Phone recognizes the disc, but disc won't pair with phone.  It's proven to be useless.  I plan to return it.

  • KevinBland says:

    I can see a lot of negative comments on here, and I may be one of the lucky ones, but, whilst my experience has not been perfect, I believe it's a winner.  

    What attracted me to this was the fact that I have a number of watches I like to wear and, whilst I've tried the Apple Watch for a month or so, it does mean I can't wear my other watches else I lose tracking.

    Like a lot of people I Pre-ordered mine and it arrived on Christmas Eve. It worked great for a month or so, then the back plate came off.  I'm guessing it's due to sweat as I wear it on a sports watch when at the gym.  I contacted them and within an hour they replies, apologised and offered to ship me a FOC replacement.  

    They clearly have more demand than supply so I am still waiting, although they have kept me up to date and apparently it's just shipped.

    Meanwhile, I have (a number of times) superglued the back into the old one which lasts about a week.

    Battery is OK.  I put it on the charger every night, like my iPhone.  The alert vibrations are excellent and I've come to rely on them for WhatsAppa Dan other apps.  The gestures work well, although I sometimes start the music playing by accident so often disable that option.

    Lots to love about this device; clearly they have an adhesive problem with the back plate they need to resolve though!

  • muleshoeracer says:

    Got mine and am still trying decide how you know if it is charging.  Seems it charged the first night and worked for a day.  Now all I get is a message on my phone saying it needs to be charged but it doesn't ever take the charge. 

    Also, does anyone know if the different lights mean something or just pretty?  No instructions with mine other than a quick start guide and nothing on the website.

    Second question - it acts like it is just turned off - does it have an on/off function?

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