The Handsome Smartwatch That Apple Wishes It Designed

mj-618_348_michael-bastian-smartwatch
 Courtesy of Gilt

Practical in use, smart in design, the MB Chronowing — a modern smartwatch designed in cooperation between menswear favorite Michael Bastian and Hewlett-Packard — offers the right amount of wrist technology without sacrificing the look of a classic timepiece.

Bastian was inspired by the dashboards and trim details of luxury cars — he calls his design a "personal dashboard for your digital life" — and having recently spent some time with the sturdy smartwatch, we found it to have great appeal. The most important thing to note is that it looks like what one would expect a watch to, well, look like. There's no touch screen, no convoluted futuristic shapes, no laser-like lights that flash. Even with the technology offered in this watch, Bastian and HP opted to include a classic face sub-dial to tell the time.

Just launched exclusively at Gilt.com last week, the 44mm stainless steel, water resistant timepiece sits comfortably on the wrist — its size instantly familiar to any guy who's worn an IWC, Audemars Piguet, or Panerai. The multi-layered finish looks handsome and the inlaid button controls are simple in their function and navigation.

Three interchangeable watchbands, including perforated brown leather, olive green nylon, and black rubber, allow for DIY customization. Yes, the process of swapping straps is surprisingly quick and easy. The chrono also has a built-in light for clear viewing, and its battery, with a seven-day power reserve, charges via its embossed back panel.

What's more, the crown bezel bolts give it an iconic look with some heft. Toggling through screens that show everything from real-time weather to sports and stock updates — or not — the versatility of customization is the true luxury. We personally enjoyed its subtlety — not to mention the fact that fellow watch aficionados all complimented it on its rich look.

Once in sync with the complementary app, the user can easily operate myriad functions right from the watch. Accessing a music playlist is a breeze, and the wearer can selectively choose what notifications are pushed to the screen. Texts and email come through clearly as well, albeit just the first two lines — so to read, or respond to, any messages will require your physical handheld device. But in cold climes, being able to push back a glove for a quick yet informative glance is second-to-none in convenience. [Starting from $349, Gilt.com]