Guess has become one of the first big watch brands to jump into the smartwatch fray, slapping some high-tech features onto its most popular designs.
The new Guess Connect Powered by Martian watches have a small OLED strip near the bottom that shows text notifications from a paired smartphone. They also have a microphone for sending voice commands to the watch (Siri for iPhone, Google for Android) and a speaker for relaying voice calls. iPhone users can control music playback with the watch’s buttons as well.
As the name suggests, Guess teamed up with Martian, which has been producing traditional-looking smartwatches for a couple of years now. The Guess watches will be available in men’s and women’s styles this fall, though the company isn’t talking prices just yet.
Martian is also expanding its own watch line with some new styles and features. Previously, if you wanted a Martian watch, you had to choose between Voice Command and Notifier models, with the former unable to filter out unwanted notifications or provide custom vibration patterns. The new watches combine the features of both older models, while adding standard Micro-USB charging and waterproofing (though there’s no specific water resistance rating yet).
Martian’s new watches will run from $199 to $399 depending on the style, and will launch this summer.
The story behind the story: Major watch makers have been eying the smartwatch space for several months now, with brands like TAG Heuer and Swatch showing interest. But while luxury watch makers must struggle with issues of obsolescence—you wouldn’t want to drop thousands of dollars on a watch with rapidly-dating technology inside—that’s less of an issue for Guess, whose watches often sell for under $200. The partnership with Martian is a fine fit, as their watches hover in the same price range, and could help put dumb-looking smartwatches on the map.
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Jared Newman covers personal technology from his remote Cincinnati outpost. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for help with ditching cable or satellite TV.
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