The oddly named uBirds is manufacturing while Switzerland burns. Their product, called the Unique, is essentially a smartwatch hidden inside your watch band. This way you can strap on your Panerai or RGM and rock out while your band buzzes, not your watch.
Check out the video:
Creating a “convertible” watch seems to be Switzerland’s Grail Quest. This solution, created by a company based in Poland, is one of the more clever solutions I’ve seen in a while simply because the entire thing is carefully hidden. The band contains an LED, a piezo buzzer, activity sensor, and Bluetooth chip. Your phone can send signals to the band to let you know when someone is calling or it’s time to hit your next appointment. From the Kickstarter page:
Unique looks like a traditional leather watch strap and fits any watch – but thanks to its discreet multi-colour LED, vibration alerts and gesture recognition, it lets you receive notifications, reject inconvenient phone calls, send pre-written texts, monitor your fitness, store all your security or transport passes, and be reminded instantly if you’re about to leave your phone behind.
I’ve seen this in action multiple times and have come away impressed with the quality and ambition. The straps are slightly thicker than traditional watch bands but, given the prevalence for cuff-like bands these days, they won’t seem odd. They are priced at $199 right now but you can get one for $139 during the early-bird offer. They are looking to raise $50,000 and are already half way there.
The Unique is a clever solution to a thorny problem. While it’s not quite as unique as its name – there are plenty of iterations on this idea out there these days – this one is the most unobtrusive. It’s well worth a closer look at the very least.