There’s a tremendous amount of semantic value to the round-faced watch. It is what most people visually associate with the idea of a wristwatch. And while smartwatches have toyed with their own, at times bold, visual language (and wearable fitness trackers at times openly flout previous design language) there’s something to be said of a device that embraces what is tried and true. French consumer electronics brand Withings has done exactly this with their just-announced Steel HR. It’s the first analog wristwatch to incorporate heart rate monitoring, and it’s a substantial step up from their previous Steel release. But with 36mm and 40mm case options, this is a reasonably sized timepiece that should appeal to watch-lovers as much as those in on the quantifiable self movement.
From a design perspective, minimalism dominates the black (or white) and steel watches. On the face, however, a small sub-dial, just beneath the numberless 12 o’clock marker, contains a low-power monochrome screen alerting the wearer of their heart rate, steps, walking distance and calories burned—as well as personal assistant functions like text, call and email alerts, and a vibrating alarm. All of this can be toggled through by way of a pusher at the three o’clock crown position. From a technical standpoint, the app-connected watch tracks all of the above and send it to a user’s phone, building 24-hour-a-day profiles. The watch has a 25 day battery life and is water-resistant, meaning there’s minimal interference for showering, swimming or charging up the battery. Altogether, this is a comprehensive tool, but presented as a watch classy and stylish enough for even the fanciest of occasions.
The Withings Steel HR will be available 1 October. At present, the European pricing seems to be €190 for the 36mm and €200 for the 40mm. You can sign up for more information online now.
Images courtesy of Withings