The Swedish startup has finally released its first collection of connected watches, but has it set the “new standard” for connected watches that it promised us?
The launch of the first watch collection by Swedish watchmaker Kronaby was much anticipated. Part of the excitement was the mystery around what to expect from the start up.
We first discovered Kronaby in 2016, when its parent company Anima announced that they will be launching men’s and women’s smartwatches in the near future. Anima itself was relatively unknown, too; we just knew it was a Swedish tech company specializing in connected products that was bankrolled by Chinese investors.
Our curiosity was finally abated when the brand launched its first ever watch collection on January 26, 2017. And we were not disappointed.
The collection consists of four models – the APEX, SEKEL, NORD and CARAT - allowing for 24 timepiece variantions in total. They come in either 38 mm or 43 mm stainless steel cases and the expected retail price should range anywhere from 395 EUR - 595 EUR, depending on the model. A relatively broad product proposition at a solid price point – so far so good.
At first glance, all Kronaby watches look like relatively classic timepieces. In other words, I would never have guessed they were connected watches had I not know in advance. And we would expect no less from a Malmo-based company channeling a strong Scandinavian design heritage, I suppose.
Indeed, the philosophy driving the brand is to put design at the centre of watchmaking and only add the most relevant smart features. The idea is not to put all of our trust in smart technology, which more often than not will just end up distracting us. Rather, the focus is on what the brand calls “human technology”. Sarandis Kalogeropulos, the brand co-founder, explains:
“The watch is developed around the concept of human technology - we want to bring back the experience of truly living in one moment, focusing on the here and now and let people experience more in life. Taking the connected watch into the future and making technology work for people.”
So how do they accomplish that? Well, on the inside there is the Kronaby Connected Movement, which has been developed in-house by top software and hardware engineers in Sweden. The movement powers various smart functions, but just enough to allow the user to stay connected, but not distracted.
Still, the watch is packed with interesting smart features. For example, no matter how many time zones the watch crosses, the movement automatically adjusts and displays the local time - sometimes my mobile phone won’t even do that...
Another impressive feat: the battery should last up to two-years, which means that the user will not be a slave to the watch’s energy needs like with most connected watches.
The APEX model and some of the SEKEL models also have sub dials for showing additional time and activity progress, which can be controlled via the side pushers that link to the Android and Apple compatible Kronaby app.
We weren’t exactly sure what to expect from Kronaby last year but we gave them the benefit of the doubt, even when we were told to expect a “new standard for connected watches.” But they didn’t disappoint, delivering an understated connect watch based on excellent Swedish design acumen.
Expect to see plenty of Kronaby timepieces on the wrists across Europe, where retail sales will begin this spring. Unless of course you can’t wait, in which case check out their website and find out how to get your hands on one.