Gilt, HP launch Michael Bastian-designed luxury smartwatch
Menswear designer Michael Bastian took a stylish step into the wearable technology arena with Friday’s launch of the MB Chronowing, a handsome looking wristwatch-shaped device with Hewlett-Packard technology under the hood that will retail exclusively through Gilt.
Bastian was in town Thursday night for a celebratory prelaunch dinner at the SoHo House in West Hollywood, where he was joined by members of the Hewlett-Packard and Gilt teams and he told us the starting point for the look of the watch was the dashboard of a luxury car. “Car dashboards are something men are very familiar with,” he told us, “they can be analog or digital or a mix of the two. Once I had that concept everything just fell into place — like the perforated leather watch strap that was inspired by car seats.”
The result is a 44-millimeter stainless steel watch case and a round, watchlike face that sports a smaller round window in the upper left. While the three buttons on the right side of the watch case can be used to cycle through various functions (including email, text and calendar alerts and weather and stock information), the smaller window will continue to display the time (with digital representations of an hour and minute hand). It connects via Bluetooth and can sync with smartphones running iOS or Android. It’s also water resistant up to 50 meters and boasts a seven-day power reserve.
While none of the above functions chart any new ground in the wrist-based wearable technology category, what Bastian has brought to the table with the Chronowing (named after his signature wing emblem, engraved on the back of the case) is simple, straightforward style that would be a handsome accessory on any gentleman’s wrist even if it was powered off altogether. To borrow a term from the automotive world, it’s got serious curb appeal.
The three-way partnership came about after Hewlett-Packard, looking for a way to make its first foray into wearable — and fashionable — technology, approached membership-based e-tailer Gilt, which brought in the New York-based menswear designer. That’s why Gilt.com is the only place the device can be purchased.
The base version of the MB Chronowing boasts a brushed stainless steel case, three interchangeable bands (brown leather, black rubber and a textured olive green nylon) and retails for $349. A limited-edition version (just 300 pieces are being sold) has an all-black Physical Vapor Deposition-coated case and black alligator watch strap and a price tag of $649.
But if you want one of those limited-edition versions you’ll need to be speedy as a race car driver. The collection became avaiable at 9 a.m. PST and as of this writing there are only three of the 300 still on offer.
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