The long awaited Dot Braille Smartwatch is finally here — or just about. The sculpted aluminum watch looks sleek, but frankly its wearers probably won’t give that much thought. What’s more important are the four dynamic braille arrays, with dots that rise and fall at different speeds to allow the visually impaired to read quickly and discreetly anywhere. It’ll also output navigation directions, notifications from the user’s Bluetooth-linked smartphone, and contains both an accelerometer and a gyroscope for, possibly, more not-yet-announced features.
So Steve Jobs is not technically a part of its name, but it may as well be. You might recognize the Seiko Chariot from one of the most iconic photographs of Jobs’ leaning on the first Macintosh (click to second image), though the angle certainly doesn’t help. A limited edition run of the simple, minimal watch is being released, with the option of the original 33mm case size as well as a more modern 37.5mm case and the choice of white or black dials. An equally spartan black leather strap complements the quartz watch. Which begs the question: had he still been with us, would Jobs’ wear a Chariot or an Apple Watch? The release is limited to the Japanese market but there’s a good chance that more than a few will trickle out onto eBay and the like.
Learn more at Seiko (Japanese site) – roughly $200
MVMT Watches launched a few years back with the mission of selling stylish watches at a price point that guarantees you can buy two and still not miss rent. And MVMT’s Chrono Series watches are no exception. Boldly sized at 45mm, these eye-catching timepieces feature minimal, monochrome two-layer faces with time, date, and chronograph functionality. Wondering how to read the time on the unmarked latter? You’ll get used to it, but if not keep in mind your phone has one too. Straps include stainless steel or genuine leather and pair with various case and face colors a dizzying array of combinations, our favorites which include Gun Metal & Sandstone (shown), White with Caramel, and Black on Tan.
Learn more at MVMT Watches – $135+
Nearly all of Grovemade’s work features wood in one way or another. Naturally so does the Grovemade Watch 02 in the form of a concave CNC-milled dial, though it sits behind the timepiece’s lens and stainless steel case in black, raw silver, or plated gold, to make it as easy to care for as a watch made of more traditional materials. This face is available in either Eastern Hardrock Maple or Oregon Claro Walnut and hides the Japanese-built quartz Miyota 5Y26 movement beneath that tracks time accurately for several years on a button cell. Coupled to vegetable-tanned leather straps the Watch 02 is an attention-grabbing wrist piece in a unique, organic sort of way.
Learn more at Grovemade – $150+
Timepieces in Victorinox’ I.N.O.X. collection are already put through the paces with well over one hundred stress tests. The only way we’d figure they can make them stronger is to use the material that protects the space shuttle from burning up during re-entry, and that’s precisely what they’ve done with the Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon series. The carbon resin composite used is strikingly unique, with a rugged matte-black appearance that’s subtly marbled and that makes the watch look as durable as it is. A triple-coated sapphire crystal lens caps the front and, along with the case, shields the watch from drops, shocks, scratches, water (to 200 meters), and probably everything else you’ll encounter. Available with or without a Naimakka paracord bracelet that can be unravelled if you’re ever in a bind and in need of some very strong rope.
Find it at Victorinox – $950
If you know of Ressence you’ll instantly recognize their latest watch, the Ressence Type 1² Squared. Just like their previous timepieces the automatic Type 1² Squared breaks time down across several orbiting dials, the largest straddling the face’s perimeter showing minutes, the next in size displaying hours, and the two smaller disks representing seconds and the day of the week. Where it differs from other Ressence timepieces is first in its dressier complex square shape, born of the intersection of six spheres, as well as in thinness made possible thanks to both the absence of a look-through sapphire caseback (though it’s got a domed sapphire lens on the front) and the addition of a new retractable lever used to set the time. Despite its distinctive design it’s highly legible both in the day and even at night with Superluminova applied to all hands and markers. Available in four colors: silver, night blue, champagne, and ruthenium.
Find it at Ressence Watches – roughly $15,725
It’s not only [very slightly] smaller and sleeker than before: the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 is also smarter. The watch is tailor-built for use in the great outdoors with a ruggedized case and includes a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and for the first time a low-power GPS with downloadable maps. You’ll have to settle for viewing maps on its 1.32-inch color display which is also touch-enabled, but fortunately the WSD-F20 runs Android Wear 2.0 with a user-friendly interface — not to mention Google Assistant for quick voice-powered commands. And when you’re not relying on its full capabilities the watch can switch into timepiece mode on its secondary monochrome display (there are two stacked layers) to extend battery life from about a day to over a month, something which puts most other smartwatches to shame. Though at this price it’s best reserved for individuals making the most of its outdoorsy features.
Learn more at Casio – $500
Like its predecessors in the Carrera 01 family, the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matte Ceramic shows off TAG’s Caliber 01 automatic movement through its skeleton dial. The difference is that this time just about everything besides the movement is made of ceramic that’s micro-blasted to matte black for a very dark and very scratch-resistant finish. Of course sapphire crystal lenses on both sides let you peer into the movement (and see the time). Else the 45mm watch pairs with either a black rubber or matching ceramic strap and features black luminescent hands and hour markers for better visibility (which would otherwise be nigh nonexistent) in the dark.
Available in 2017. Until then, check out other timepieces at Tag Heuer – $6,300