It’s fair to say that Apple is one of the few companies in the world to produce technology which has changed the way we live. Whilst much of this technology wasn’t invented by Apple themselves, the way they were developed and marketed made the technology extremely popular with consumers. One of the best examples of this was the release of the Apple iPod – which was a huge success for Apple and revolutionised the music industry. CD’s and other forms of physical media dominated the world of music before the iPod, while today its all about downloadable music and streaming services!
Tony Fadell is one of the inventors of the iPod and can claim a lot of a credit for the way the device revolutionised music. He no longer works for Apple, but he is still working hard on technology which will change the world. His latest work is quite far removed from the kind of products that he has worked on with Apple and Google and isn’t quite a mass-market consumer good! But this new Luxury watch is an incredible piece of work which is well worth taking a closer look at.
Why Tony Fadell Designed a New Luxury Watch
Tony Fadell has had a interesting career since leaving Apple in 2008. Upon leaving the company he founded Nest Labs, a company which makes Wi-Fi enabled programmable thermostats. The company found a great level of success and it is currently in its third generation. In 2015 Google purchased Nest Labs and Fadell was placed in charge of the Google Glass project.
Fadell found himself the recipient of a large number of awards in recent years and was even named one of the top 75 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2014. In 2016 he left Nest Labs and it was unknown exactly what the innovator was going to do next. Few would have imagined he would move into the luxury watch business!
This new watch manufactured by watch firm Ressence is called the The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown and this was first unveiled at SIHH 2018. The device is a mechanical watch which links to your smartphone. Fadell said he was attracted to this project because represented the opposite of current smartwatch trends. He said, “Watch connoisseurs don’t want or need all these other functions. But they do like their watch being on time.” Many new smartwatches have touchscreens as well as all sorts of crazy new features, while this one has a classic design and has a mechanical movement. Fadell explained the purpose of producing this new luxury watch by stating, “Mechanical watches were at the forefront of technology when they were first invented 300 years ago. We wanted to get rid of the remaining issues associated with them.”
All About The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown
This new luxury watch looks to bridge the gap between a mechanical watch and a smartwatch by bringing connected features to a traditional watch. This combination of tradition and modernity is quite possibly the first of its kind in the world of watches and is very exciting to see. One of the biggest problems with mechanical watches is that they lose time whenever the power runs out, meaning that users need to reset the watch again by hand. Sure, some owners may enjoy this… but, if they were being honest, most find it a complete waste of time!
This new luxury watch offers something that you will not find in any other mechanical watches available today. The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown is solar powered, meaning that if you wear it out and about it will keep itself charged – allowing it to keep the correct time. If you take it off for over 36 hours it will stop running as the power will have ran out, however inside the watch is an electronic element called the e-crown which continues to keep the time. When you pick your watch back up, the e-crown will set the watch to the correct time again, saving you all the hassle of doing it by hand! The e-crown also helps eliminate another issue with all mechanical watches, the way in which they veer off by a number seconds over time. When the e-crown recognises that this is happening, it resets itself to the correct time – ensuring that you can always trust that you always know what time it is.
The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown also connects to your phone allowing you to access smart features. This new luxury watch allows you to set the time zone as well as a number of other settings from your phone. Designing such a watch also came with new challenges relating to the power source for the watch itself. “It is inconceivable to plug a high-end luxury watch into a power socket,” explained Fadell. This watch comes with two sources of power, the kinetic generator – a traditional source of power for many mechanical watches. One of the issues for this source of power is that once you stop wearing it, the battery in the watch will eventually go completely flat. This is where a secondary source of power, using photovoltaic cells developed especially for this new luxury watch, is used. “These aren’t your typical solar cells. These are actual satellite solar cells so they get a lot of energy – even indoors,” Fadell explained. These cells are hidden behind ten shutters which open downwards after the watch has not been used for a certain amount of time to expose them to light so that they can charge the watch back up.
It’s telling that Fadell has compared the experience of working on this new luxury watch favourably against the experience of working with Apple on mass-produced products. He has commented on the freedom he has enjoyed to work with cutting edge technologies that would never be practical in a mass-produced project due to the volumes that would be needed. Whilst this device is currently still at concept stage (with the concept apparently costing “more than a house”), Faddell is already discussing the possibility of the next watch he and Ressence will work on. “Hopefully we are going to continue to do this,” he explained. “There was stuff we haven’t done here. But maybe in the next few iterations.”
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