What? A smartwatch for smart, creative folks.

By jes. on December 14, 2015

d894491f-54fb-4b5d-93d9-4c9e8030fddfWASHINGTON, DC (Herald de Paris) — ¬†I am a self-professed watch junkie. ¬†I admit it. ¬†I love them. ¬†More to the point, I love the intricacy of classic timepieces, the exceptional micro engineering that goes into every single one, be they winders, self-winders, solar powered, or even battery powered quartz. ¬†I am also obsessed with mobility, Android mobile phones, and everything you can actually do with the magnificent little computer we carry around and call a phone.

It would seem natural then, that I should have been enamored with the SmartWatch, Android Wearables, or even the iWatch. ¬†I haven’t. ¬†You see, my phone is always with me, so I never saw the point of wearing a watch that did exactly what my phone already does. ¬†I vowed not to try a smartwatch until someone created one that was truly unique (Actually, I think what I really said was that I would not try a smartwatch until they could put an actual and entire mobile phone into it, like Dick Tracy had, but I digress). ¬†Well, I found one.

What? ¬†No, really – that’s the name – What? Watch. ¬†Inspired by renowned Japanese Art Director Masashi Kawamura, the What? Watch actually does something novel – it stops time. ¬†Hold that thought.

The What? Watch, itself, is a beautifully crafted timepiece. ¬†The case is round, and recalls the early wrist watches of the beginning of the 20th century. ¬†Early wristwatches were actually pocket watches with wire lugs welded to them, popularized by¬†WWI soldiers who wanted to wear their timepieces, not carry them. ¬†The What? Watch case recalls that history beautifully, in fact, the case reminds me of a 1913 wrist watch I have been saving to restore. ¬†It continues the nod to tradition with nicely crafted lugs that, again, recall the original wristwatches. ¬†My What? Watch came with a black leather band and a beautiful, black, modern face. ¬†How modern? ¬†It reminds me of MoMA. ¬†The face is classically analog with a precisely clicking second hand. ¬†Each watch has a traditional crown, but it also has a prominent red button at 2 o’clock.

Masashi Kawamura and European accessories designer Daniel Julier collaborated on the watch design, giving the piece a balance of Swiss precision and Japanese-inspired aesthetics. The Stop the Time watch features Swiss mechanical movements in a 42mm body with an e-paper display, protected with hardened mineral glass. Along with traditional numeric hash marks, the display is adorned with the months of the year and option to feature up to five key moments each month.

You pair your What? Watch with a phone app, synchronize your phone and your What? Watch and the big red button is activated. ¬†What do you do with it? ¬†Mr. Kawamura explains, “Stop The Time started as a simple concept aiming to redefine convention – What if a watch could stop the time when something really remarkable happens in the wearer‚Äôs life? And when would you stop the time if you could only do it once? Both unique and poetic, Stop The Time was born, and today enables wearers to track meaningful moments in their lives by pressing its red button, instantly creating a digital diary that can be augmented with titles, photos, stories and more through its mobile application. Photos and collections of photos saved as stories can be easily shared with friends on the App and/or via social media.”

I’ll admit, at first I didn’t get it. ¬†I love the watch, but I didn’t see the need to press a red button to stop time. ¬†I said to myself, “Aren’t all digital photos time/date stamped already?” ¬†Then it happened. ¬†After telling people about the What? Watch and what it did, people would lean over, grab my wrist, and hit the red button on my What? Watch. ¬†People, actual people, were stopping time, creating moments, and capturing memories FOR ME. ¬†Once you see it in action, you don’t need more convincing.

Available on iOS and Android, its mobile app called What?Now records users locations leveraging Foursquare API, inserting nearby venues and places at the moment the wearer creates a time stamp. Wearers can choose which moments they want to ‚Äúwear‚ÄĚ on the watch face and which to feature in their personalized app timeline. The moments that are saved on the watch face create a unique pattern on the e-paper display, personalized and unique to the wearer.

It’s a smartwatch, but it isn’t. ¬†It won’t read your texts and it won’t tell you who is calling. ¬†You have a phone for that. ¬†Instead, What? Watch is a smartwatch for artists and for thinkers.

For more information or to purchase a Stop The Time watch, visit whatwatch.com. 

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