At the beginning of this month, Swiss startup MyKronoz was present at IFA in Berlin, competing head-to-head with the smartwatch elite with their brand-new ZeTime hybrid timepiece. Because they were able to successfully raise nearly $6 million through Kickstarter for the development of the device, the company has created history. This makes it the most successful crowdfunding initiative ever launched by an organization based in Europe.
It is impressive that MyKronoz has been able to come up with a timepiece that has managed to attract such widespread attention despite the fact that there is currently no shortage of smartwatches on the market. I wanted to find out more about the product and where the company is going, so I met down with the company’s CEO, Boris Brault. Shipping to supporters is about to begin any day now, so I took advantage of the opportunity.
MyKronoz’s ZeTime is not the company’s first wearable product, but it is without a doubt the most innovative. This is a piece of hardware that combines the time-honored aesthetics of a conventional watch with the most cutting-edge capabilities of a modern smartwatch.
The Swiss watchmaking industry has, for a considerable amount of time, been able to maintain a feeling of exclusivity by effectively fending off competition from cheaper and more technologically advanced rivals. However, it has seen a consistent drop in the amount of mechanical watches exported over the last few years.MyKronoz is one of a small number of enterprises in Switzerland that have come to the conclusion that they cannot afford to ignore the prospects presented by this emerging sector of the industry.
The history of our company was actually the inspiration behind the creation of a hybrid smartwatch that we now provide. MyKronoz was the first and only Swiss company to concentrate on producing smartwatches when it was established four years ago. Since we first opened our doors, we have been able to sell more than 2 million wearables all over the world. This has provided us with the opportunity to gain some valuable insights from both our customers and the retail channels we work with.
As it turns out, we were able to discover some clear impediments to the larger-scale adoption of wearables, such as design, battery life, and water resistance. These limitations include: These realizations served as the impetus for us to design a smartwatch that would be capable of overcoming these restrictions. We wanted to design a watch that made no concessions in terms of design, technology, or performance; a watch that anyone would be willing to put on.
The end product is called ZeTime, and it’s a celebration of our desire to combine our Swiss heritage in watchmaking with our expertise in wearable technology. We wanted to create the ideal hybrid smartwatch by layering mechanical hands on top of a color touchscreen and selling it at an affordable price. ZeTime does just that.
The fact that ZeTime is the world’s first hybrid timepiece means that it combines mechanical hands with a full-color touchscreen. In other words, it is the first wristwatch that has genuine needles displayed on the screen. This is the main selling point of the product. In order to accomplish this, the central portion of the console has a hole drilled into it, and the hand gears are attached to this hole. This indicates that the timepiece provides you with the advantages of both analogue and digital timekeeping.
Creating a hole in a TFT display is, in reality, a lot more difficult than it initially appears to be. We spent endless hours with our technical team and industrial partners finding the ideal method to produce a brand-new touch screen that could accept a pass-through mechanical hand solution, and after creating hundreds of prototypes and design suggestions, we were eventually successful!
The most difficult aspect of the project was coming up with a classy timepiece that could be sold at a reasonable price without sacrificing the product’s quality or the customer’s overall satisfaction. I am confident that we have, with ZeTime, identified the optimal method by which to demonstrate both our Swiss roots and our proficiency in the field of wearable technology.
The high-end looking device not only has true mechanical needles, but it also has multi-layer technology that combines a TFT color display, a touch screen, and ultra-resistant Gorilla glass. The advantage of having mechanical hands attached to the touchscreen is that it eliminates the issue of what takes place once the battery runs out because the mechanical hands continue to function for a period of thirty days after the battery has been depleted. The remaining functions of the smartwatch can be used continuously for around four days on a single battery.
MyKronoz has come up with an ingenious new piece of technology that they creatively refer to as Smart Movement technology. The central processing unit of the watch is essentially in charge of moving the mechanical hands out of the way so that the display can have the greatest amount of view possible. This is required if, for example, you are looking at the alerts or checking out the weather forecast.
Many people’s thoughts have been inspired by this one-of-a-kind design. Because of the generosity of more than 30,000 backers on Kickstarter, ZeTime has become the hybrid smartwatch project that has received the most funding to date.
A significant number of individuals became interested in our campaign since they recognised ZeTime as the first wearable device that they were truly willing to use on a daily basis. The ZeTime hybrid smartwatch is the first of its kind, featuring mechanical hands in addition to a color touchscreen. The innovative architecture behind the watch makes it possible for it to function for up to one month without requiring a charge, combining the advantages of conventional watches and modern smartwatches.
In addition to this technical accomplishment, I feel that the singular manner in which we have connected with our backers while maintaining complete sincerity and authenticity is another reason behind this astounding level of success.
It is undeniable that the approach that we take that is centered on the customer is what differentiates us from our rivals and is the primary reason why so many people believe in our product and brand. We have a solid understanding of the requirements of our customers, and we put in a lot of effort to make sure that we offer them the very finest wearable product that we can. Because of all of these factors, the ZeTime campaign successfully raised $6 million, making it the most-funded hybrid smartwatch project in the history of the world.
MyKronoz ZeTime is on track to become one of the rare crowdfunding projects that has delivered on all of its promises and appears to be on track for delivery in October on the exact date that was promised. The company has had a very excellent experience overall with Kickstarter, and its CEO, Mr. Brault, has stated that they would not be hesitant to use crowdsourcing in the future if given the opportunity.
The enormous momentum of this Kickstarter campaign has really been another market validation for us, both on the potential of hybrid smartwatches and the international growth of our Swiss brand thanks to this fantastic innovation. This market validation applies to both the potential of hybrid smartwatches as well as the potential for international growth thanks to our fantastic innovation. We have really felt that our backers have an enormous degree of passion for our product, and they cannot wait for it to be released.
It has been a very enlightening experience, both from a professional and a personal point of view. Every single one of our departments, including marketing, sales, customer care, logistics, and development, has been actively involved in the project and has had to overcome a variety of obstacles, each of which has provided invaluable information and new perspectives.
Our team continues to put in a lot of effort to make this fantastic campaign a reality. Furthermore, our team is still one hundred percent dedicated on a daily basis to responding to the inquiries of our backers and taking into account all of the pertinent feedback in order to guarantee that our product will meet their expectations.
As a result, we will most certainly utilize Kickstarter once more in the foreseeable future.
This is a clock that was designed to complement a variety of aesthetics. Its sophisticated appearance is achieved by the use of a watch casing made of stainless steel, sapphire glass, and a selection of digital watch faces. In addition, there is a selection of bands available, and some of the options include carbon fiber, genuine leather, and silicon.
We are designing watches for the next generation, which is a generation of customers who are always connected, cognizant of their personal style, and have a mindset that is oriented toward technology and quantified self. MyKronoz, the preeminent Swiss watch brand of the smart generation, is an heir to tradition while being connected to the modern world.
By drawing on its Swiss heritage and advanced technological know-how, MyKronoz is able to give the best mobile experience possible and make a stylish statement that is relevant to today’s lifestyle. MyKronoz is a hybrid brand by its own definition; it is neither just a watch brand nor just a wearables brand.
According to CSS Insight and other market research companies, smartwatches will be a driving force behind the expansion of wearables in the next few years, with hybrid timepieces serving as the industry standard. The CEO of MyKronoz makes no attempt to hide the fact that the company has extremely high goals for itself in this field.
According to Counterpoint Technology, hybrid smartwatches will account for 12% of smartwatch sales in 2017, with revenues more than doubling to more than $1 billion.In 2016, hybrid smartwatches accounted for only 7% of smartwatch sales.Our goal is to become the global market leader in the hybrid smartwatch category, and we believe that ZeTime and our upcoming models provide us with significant potential to get closer to achieving this goal.
Companies such as Fossil, as well as, more lately, Garmin and Nokia, have begun to capitalize on this trend as well. In spite of the fact that many other Swiss companies have arrived a little bit late to the party, MyKronoz is in a position to capitalize on prospects because of the industry’s distinctive positioning and the allure of the Swiss Made label.
Because we provide such a diverse selection of products, including hybrid watches, smartwatches, activity trackers, and watch phones, we are in direct competition not just with traditional watchmakers but also with wearable technology producers.
Our product category is clearly benefiting from increased visibility as well as credibility as a result of the introduction of smartwatches by major watch manufacturers such as Swiss and others. It demonstrates that wearables are not only gizmos, as many people believed only a few months ago; rather, they represent a genuine disruption for the consumer electronics industry as well as the watchmaking industry. This contributes to the formation of a market that contains a large number of businesses that are able to provide a diversity of items to cater to a number of distinct audiences. In addition, the ever-increasing level of competition we face compels us to be ever more inventive and creative as we battle to expand our market share while remaining true to our company’s core mission of producing affordable smartwatches for all consumers.
What separates MyKronz from its rivals is its Swiss heritage and its commitment to fulfilling its mission of offering consumers wristwatches that are fashionable, technologically advanced, and compatible with mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android at a price that won’t break the bank.
MyKronoz is currently exploring expansion opportunities outside of Europe. It would appear that the company has some exciting new smartwatch designs and features in store for the future of its devices, and we may look forward to seeing these.
Our objective is to replicate the kind of success we’ve seen in Europe and elsewhere in the world. We have just recently opened offices in Miami and Shanghai in order to build a strong presence in the United States and China, two key strategic markets for us, and we are starting to engage in strong marketing initiatives in order to develop our brand awareness. In addition, we have recently opened offices in China in order to build a strong presence there.
In terms of a roadmap from a design aspect, we need to make smartwatches less invasive, closer to a classic watch, with better personalization opportunities and higher battery and water resistance capabilities. Moreover, we need to deliver these improvements as soon as possible. In addition to the physical hardware, it is vital to give the product a new meaning by incorporating novel functionality and product-tailored services that go beyond simple activity monitoring and alerting capabilities. As an illustration, we have released models that are equipped with NFC in order to make our contactless payment service, MyKronoz Pay, available. With the use of NFC, we plan to provide access control that turns our wearable into a key that can be used to open a variety of locations, including a car, a house, an office, a hotel room, and so on.
Last but not least, cultivating and sustaining solid relationships with members of our community is of the utmost significance. We are going to continue to pay close attention to what they have to say in order to provide the most superior wearable design and experience possible at the most reasonable cost.
The ZeTime comes with a 3-axis accelerometer and an optical heart-rate sensor so that you can keep track of your overall health and fitness. It will monitor your heart rate as well as your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, active minutes, and quality of sleep. Inactivity alarms can also be periodically generated by the clock.
However, Mr. Brault envisions the future containing an increase in the number of health sensors as well as an improvement in their accuracy. In addition to this, a more natural incorporation of such technologies into our day-to-day lives might be anticipated.
We believe that with the miniaturization of key components and the new possibilities offered by a wide array of sensors, smartwatches will gradually become more and more mainstream and suitable for our day-to-day lives. This will be the case in terms of both the design of the watch and the features and services that it provides.
In the realm of high-tech health and fitness, I foresee a day in the not-too-distant future when wearable technologies such as smartwatches and activity trackers will be able to monitor one’s health in a more precise and reliable manner than ever before.
With ZeTime, users are able to operate the functionalities of their phone right from their wrist. This includes the ability to receive incoming calls, read notifications from social networking sites, check the weather forecast, play music, snap photos, and more. Additionally, there is a water resistance rating of 5 ATM on the device.
This watch has a number of benefits, one of which is that the display is always active, meaning that the wearer does not have to manually turn it on in order to view the time. In addition, the company has built its own operating system, which is compatible with mobile devices running either iOS or Android.
All MyKronoz wearables, including ZeTime, use a custom operating system that was conceived and built in-house. This OS is fully compatible with mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. Having our own operating system enables us to be more flexible and responsive, as well as to autonomously manage our upgrades. Because our operating system is significantly lighter than the traditional ones, we are able to concentrate on the collection of features that we feel are truly essential.