For smartwatch fans who think that current watches are more geek and less chic, South Korean startup Kairos is looking to change that with its more traditional smartwatch. Derived from Greek for the opportune moment, Kairos is hoping to join the smartwatch craze this December with a classically designed and connected timepiece. Like the recently unveiled AMVOX2 from Jaegre-LeCoultre, where the Kairos will set itself apart is the mechanical movement that should make a horologist's heart skip a beat.
At the heart of the Kairos is a traditional watch, and in fact when no notifications are being sent to your wrist, the Kairos will be a discrete timepiece that is powered by either a Japanese or Swiss automatic movement, meaning that at least the watch portion won't die if you've depleted the battery that's required to power the smartwatch portion. According to a report on Tech in Asia, the Japanese movement will be sourced from Citizen subsidiary Miyota. The optional Swiss upgrade will be coming from SOPROD.
The round, cylindrical watch face reminds us a lot of Motorola's Moto 360, which will be powered by Google's Android Wear platform. Like the Moto 360, the Kairos is also capable of displacing notifications on the watch's face, though at this phase it's unclear if Kairos will be using Android Wear or a proprietary platform to pair with your phone. Also unclear is what phones will be compatible with the notifications.
When notifications come through, they appear to be floating on the Kairos' glass thanks to a thin transparent OLED screen that could display notifications for text messages, Twitter, and incoming calls for example.
Thanks to the power-sipping OLED screen, the smarts of the watch could run for about a week's time before requiring a recharge, which is about double the battery life of Samsung's refreshed Gear 2 smartwatch, an instrument that's powered by the Tizen operating system and lacks the mechanical movement of Kairos.
Because of the Swiss movement, pricing is expected to cost $1,100 when the Kairos launches this December. However, starting on May 15, the watch is said to be made available for pre-orders starting at just $500. Even at the $1,100, the asking price doesn't seem too unreasonable given that many Swiss-made automatic movement watches hover around that price range, and that's without the OLED display and Bluetooth connectivity to connect to your smartphone.
According to the company, the watch will be made available through high-end watch shops, rather than gadget stores, which suggests that Kairos will be aiming at a more luxury demographic.
Whether Kairos could prove itself to be the Rolex of smartwatches is still yet to be seen, but it is one of the most classic and elegantly appointed smartwatch designs that we've seen to date.