Withings launches fitness-tracking, analog-looking Swiss watch

By Aditi Pai
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Withings ActiviteWithings has joined the growing number of companies focusing on style above all else when it comes to wearable devices. The digital health device maker announced a new wristworn activity tracker, called Withings Activite, that looks similar to a regular analog watch.

This fall Activite will be available with a black or silver face for $390 in stores and on Withings' website.

The watch, designed in Le Locle, Switzerland, a village that's known as a center of Swiss watchmaking, has a Swiss-made stainless steel watch case, sapphire scratch-proof glass, and French calf leather straps. It's also embedded with an accelerometer and connects to Withings' health app, called Health Mate.

Activite tracks swimming, steps taken, and sleep. The watch also can detect which of those activities the user is partaking in. For the fitness-related activities, Activite also comes with a plastic strap. The glass on the watch reacts to tapping -- users can tap on its face twice to see what time their alarm is set for. In the morning, the watch will vibrate to wake the user. The watch also vibrates upon completion of an objective. 

“This is a really exciting time in fashion, which until recently has not been on speaking terms with technology. We are now seeing these worlds coming together in highly creative ways and the Withings Activité is at the forefront of that charge," Marie Claire Creative Director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, who spoke at the launch event, said in a statement. "It’s unlike any smart watch I’ve seen, a true style accessory and one of the most wearable wearables out there.”

Other companies have worked on bridging the gap between fashion and digital health technology.

Another wearable developer Misfit Wearables debuted its newest accessory, a necklace, for its activity tracker Shine. The tracker clips into the necklace, called Bloom, like a locket, so that users can wear the it in a new way.

Last week, Qardio received FDA 510(k) clearance for its connected blood pressure monitor, QardioArm. Qardio said they aim to not only be accurate, but also sleek, so that it fits into the user’s daily life. According to Qardio, the device doesn’t look like a blood pressure monitor, which means users can carry it around in their purse or pocket without drawing attention to it. In fact, developers tried to make it look more like a notebook so that it looks like other items that users might carry around in their bag.