Wristwatches have always been a bit of a hybrid product – functional as timepieces, and, to varying degrees, attractive or even breathtakingly spectacular as jewelry. With the developments in technology over the past several years, more and more jewelry is being designed with a practical side that goes beyond telling time.
I previously wrote a blog post on medic alert jewelry back in my blog post “Stylish Life-Saving Jewelry” on JCKonline.com on June 3, 2011. I also spotlighted practical necklaces in my April 19, 2012 post “Locket Science: Flash Drive Necklaces.” The April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens provides a summary of other practical wristwatch hybrids, and spotlights watches that double as a training watch (Suunto X6HRM); a blood pressure monitor (RadioShack LifeWise); an anti-nausea device that uses a small electrical current to stave off motion sickness (ReliefBand); and a blood sugar monitor, sold by prescription only (Gluco Watch G2 Biographer); as well as an emergency bracelet (Medicalert bracelets “now extra kid-friendly with a number of sporty and attractive designs.”
The December 2014 issue of Good Housekeeping includes products not yet released at press time in a piece entitled “Game Changers: Smart Bling”: “Introducing a new generation of wearable tech that’s actually—well, wearable!” Spotlighted is a Bluetooth LE-enabled cocktail ring from Ringly that flashes subtly to alert the wear to incoming calls, texts & etc. Good Housekeeping describes this as a “polite (and fashionable) alternative to constantly glancing at your smartphone!” and notes that “Similar technology is now in bracelets, necklaces and watches, too.” Among the items featured as the future of fashion” are a pendant from CSR (“you can set the gem color to match your outfit!”); a watch that tracks calories, steps and sleep from Misfit; and a “high-end” bracelet that has “semi-precious stones and a curved touch-screen” from MICA.
The December 2014/January 2015 issue of Lucky contains more details about the MICA bracelet, from MICA by Opening Ceremony and Intel: “A cellular radio and touch display are artfully concealed by snakeskin, tiger’s-eye and obsidian.” In an article entitled “Go Go Gadgets: High-tech meets high fashion in the latest crop of electronics,” Lucky reports on the new devices that “simplify your day-to-day” and “look cool while doing it”: “Items like . . . Rebecca Minkoff’s chain-link notification cuffs [not pictured] and, of course, Apple’s hotly anticipated watch [not pictured] combine the latest advancements with a sophisticated, sleek aesthetic.”
Lucky continues: “’Technology is absolutely everywhere, so why not incorporate it into your wardrobe?’ says Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim, who, along with partner Humberto Leon, recently introduced a smart bracelet: MICA by Opening Ceremony and Intel.” Other jewelry featured along with the MICA bracelet is a Samsung 3G-equipped watch that allows one to make and answer calls, check email, and reply to texts; Google’s Android Wear Moto watch that caters to Android users; and the most recent version of the UP24 by Jawbone fitness band and accompanying app that includes a new food tracker.
The Samsung Gear S, mentioned in Lucky, is also featured in the February 2015 issue of Marie Claire in a feature of products that incorporate woodsy elements. “Take a hike (and a call) with this dust- and water-resistant wearable” suggests Lucky.
The Apple watch, mentioned in Lucky, has received plenty of positive press, including a piece in the December 2014 issue of Good Housekeeping, which reports five reasons to purchase it, including the reason that it is a chic accessory: “There are 34 cute combos of bands, sizes and designs.”
Versatility is a hallmark of Google’s Android Wear watches, as profiled in the January/February 2015 issue of Shape: “Big-name designers like Rebecca Minkoff and artist Hugh Turvey, as well as sporty brands like Specialized and Red Bull, are designing stylish custom faces for Google’s Android Wear watches. And here’s the really fun part—you can swap the face out and sport a new look every day depending on your mood, your outfit, your workout, whatever. New digital watch faces can be downloaded from the Google Play store with prices ranging from free to $3.99.”
Of course, fitness-focused magazines delve into the practical aspects of high-tech jewelry. The February 2015 issue of Fitness Magazine provides tips for using any GPS, like the Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS, pictured.
Especially helpful is the article “On the Right Track” in the January 2015 issue of Self magazine, which profiles fitness monitors that “do more than count steps—they analyze performance, measure progress and help boost motivation” for six specific activities: running, boot camp, hiking, yoga/dance, cycling, and swimming.
Fitbit has teamed up with designer Tory Burch to create a functional Fitbit metal-hinged bracelet. The August 2014 issue of Self describes the activity tracker “cocktail-dress-appropriate” and reports: “The Fitbit Flex activity-and-sleep tracker can be removed from its silicone wristband and secured into either the Tory Burch for Fitbit Metal Hinged Bracelet . . . or an equally stylish pendant necklace.”
The September 2014 issue of People Style Watch deems the Tory Burch for Fitbit Metal Hinged Bracelet one of its “10 Things to Try This Month”: “Get the health benefits of a Fitbit Flex fitness tracker without sacrificing style. Tory Burch designed a line of jewelry—including this luxe bangle—that discreetly houses the gadget.”
The Tory Burch for Fitbit Metal Hinged Bracelet is also featured in the December, 2014 issue of InStyle.
Along with a wristwatch/fitness bracelet, the Samsung Gear Fit, the December 2014 issue of Allure spotlights a Swarovski-crystal embellished stopwatch necklace from Lanvin.
Among the recommended Valentine’s Day gifts for men spotlighted in the February 9, 2015 issue of People magazine is the Martian Notifier Smartwatch, described as a “timepiece that’s stylish and smart—it makes hands-free calls and more!”
The February 2015 issue of Better Homes and Gardens says, “So long, silicone activity bands. There’s a new tracker in town. The Shine fitness and sleep monitor comes in a ton of color and pops into a variety of wearing devices—cuffs, fobs, necklaces.” The trackers run on watch batteries and do not require charging stations. Pictured is an available mesh band.
You might wonder why there haven’t been forays into fine jewelry with high-tech functions. Martha C. White, writing in the June 2014 issue of JCK explains: “Many precious metals inhibit the transmissions of signals that make smart jewelry work.” Brass is one material used in the new high-tech jewelry. Leather, resin and plastic provide additional options. No doubt we will be seeing many beautiful developments in high-tech jewelry in the months and years to come.
- Basis: Basis Peak activity tracker for hikers (1/15 Self), $200
- Bia-sport: Multisport GPS Watch for swimmers and triathletes (1/15 Self), $279
- CSR: pendant with alert function (12/14 Good Housekeeping), price upon request
- Fitbit: Charge HR activity tracker (1/15 Self), $150
- Garmin: Vivosmart activity tracker for cyclists (1/15 Self), $170
- GlucoWatch: G2Biographer (4/14 Better Homes & Gardens), price upon request
- Google: Android Wear Moto watch (12/14-1/15 Lucky), $249; Android Wear watches with customizable faces (1/15-2/15 Shape), $180 to $300
- Jawbone: UP24 by Jawbone fitness band (12/14-1/15 Lucky), $130
- Lanvin: Swarovski-crystal stopwatch necklace (12/14 Allure), $2,685
- Martian: Notifier Smartwatch (2/9/15 People), $129
- Medicalert: bracelets (4/14 Better Homes & Gardens), enrollment fee $35
- MICA by Opening Ceremony and Intel: bracelet with snakeskin, tiger’s eye and obsidian (12/14 Good Housekeeping and 12/14-1/15 Allure), $495
- Misfit: Shine watch (12/14 Good Housekeeping), $100+; Flash activity tracker for yoga/dance (1/15 Self), $50
- RadioShack: LifeWise wrist-cuff blood pressure monitor (4/14 Better Homes & Gardens), about $50
- Reign: activity tracker for runners (1/15 Self), $200
- ReliefBand: anti-nausea device (4/14 Better Homes & Gardens), about $90
- Ringly: Bluetooth LE-enabled cocktail ring (12/14 Good Housekeeping), $195+
- Samsung: Gear Fit fitness bracelet (12/14 Allure), $199 ; Gear S wearable (12/14-1/15 Lucky and 2/15 Marie Claire), $199
- Shine: activity tracker and mesh band (2/15 Better Homes & Gardens), tracker, $99.99; mesh band, $49.99
- Suunto: X6HRM training watch (4/14 Better Homes & Gardens), $600
- Timex: Ironman Run x20 GPS watch (2/15 Fitness), $100
- Tory Burch for Fitbit: Metal Hinged Bracelet of brass [OR BRASS PLATE? VERIFY] (8/14 Self, 9/14 People Style Watch, 12/14 InStyle), $195