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Designer Gábor Balogh Asks, “Why do Smartwatches Have to Look Futuristic?”

gabor smartwatch

There is no denying that Android and the mobile world are in the midst of a wearable technology craze, with every OEM trying to figure out what makes a smartwatch look and function well. Samsung’s Gear watches or Razer’s Nabu project are taking it into the futuristic realm, but why not try and keep it closer to the timepieces that we already wear on our wrists? Gábor Balogh thinks it is possible. 

In a post on his Bēhance page that features a concept for a much more classically designed smartwatch, Balogh asks why are we throwing out the years and years of watch design for smartwatches? His design certainly reflects the typical look of an upper-class watch, but would function just as well as any smartwatch that has been announced to date. By keeping the watch’s dials that set time and date, Balogh found a way to control your apps and screen without smudging it. The bezel also responds to touch for even more interaction.

Gábor watch

However, the face of the watch is not actually a traditional watch face. It would feature a screen that could easily swap between different apps like weather, music and health related information. The design looks great and there are surely people out there who would jump at this over something like a Gear 2 or Gear Neo. If you are more interested in the design, check out the source link below for Balogh’s full description.

How much would you pay for a smartwatch like this?

smartwatch concept

Via: Gábor Balogh
Cheers Justin!
  • Good luck with that circular screen.

  • wtsamatta

    Don’t like watches. Wouldn’t wear one, but this is one good looking smart watch. Might tempt me if the price is reasonable.

  • Michael Harrison

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

  • Anon

    I have said this again and again. Current smartwatches are ugly. I want classic style in a watch; if I can’t get it in a smartwatch, I don’t get a smartwatch.

    Have a Citizen’s Eco-drive military chronograph now. I’m hard to please with watches.

  • Chris

    because they can.

  • mog386

    The question that should be asked is not, “Why do smartwatches have to look futuristic?” but “Why doe smartwatches have to look anything remotely close to a watch?”

    When you start to think about the designs of smartwatches from that angle, you get some pretty interesting concepts.

  • JudyOMiller

    The nine new colors are purple, hunter green, blue, dark teal, orange, golden yellow, red, smoke, and slate. There are also three new accents of metallic orange, purple, and green. The College Collection can be found here; new MotoMaker colors here. http://num.to/5177*8826*7842

  • Daniel Walsh

    Damn, that’s nice.

  • Alex

    $250 is top of the line for me. Pretty much for any add-on gadget that is the top for me.

  • dizel123

    Somebody gets it

  • John Motschenbacher

    This I could do. Other ones are pretty stupid. Price would depend on if it can do data so I don’t have to be around WiFi 100% of the time…pointless if it doesnt

  • MH

    With a proper steel bracelet, $250. The Pebble steel was a huge step forward, as in it’s not woman repellant (like the orig pebble, gear, etc…). This is another leap. Hopefully these are reasonably priced and functional. Gabor gets it. Not everyone that likes technology wants to look like a geek.

  • trevorsalienarms

    I still don’t want a ‘smart watch’ but that’s a hell of a lot better than what’s been offered up to date.

  • LionStone

    nice! My main gripe about other smart watches are they are square. I’d have a hard time wearing a “square” watch of any kind!

    • MH

      Im ok with squarish, but this is FAR better.

      • LionStone

        Definitely!

  • bionicwaffle

    They should not look conventional because it’s a completely different device and it’s not logical, and probably not efficient, to have it fit the same form factor, round for example, or work using the same dials or buttons.

    I would ask, why do they need to look old/conventional/fashionable?

    • OF

      Im not sure if serious… These look much better than the futuristic smartwatches that we are getting now.

    • trevorsalienarms

      They don’t “need” to, this just looks better. Nothing about this display shape or the button configuration is going to compromise the intended usage. In fact, I’d say having a big open circle for a screen makes for better options than the forced-futuristic shapes currently in use.

      Also, there is something to be said for the familiarity of this type of design. Might make more people interested in checking one out as it looks like something they would wear, not some goofy angular chunk of aluminum and plastic that looks like it should be part of a Daft Punk show.

    • MH

      This looks so much better than any other smartwatch to date. You wouldnt be embarrassed to wear this with a suit or dressed down with a button up and jeans. Other smartwatches relegate you to wearing a tshirt (or you look silly).

      • bionicwaffle

        I agree, these look awesome! The problem is it may not be such a practical design. For instance, if you want to read short messages on the display or scroll through any list a rectangle or square is just much more practical for displaying text. Also, the limited buttons on a conventional watch may not give the best user experience for controlling a smart watch. I’m sure there’s a market for this but when the technology is so different, UI changes and input controls may need to be changed to fit the new functionality better. Those watches work great, they just may not be as functional or easy/fun to use as they could be when constrained to conventional design elements like the side buttons and the round face.

    • trevorsalienarms
  • That looks amazing.

  • jaylanPHNX

    That is dead sexy!

  • I think the biggest issue is the design of the main circuit boards. They are much easier to cut square or rectangle vs. Round, this also changes where all the components and devices get placed. I think as tech gets smaller round faced digital will more of an option.

    I wonder if Rolex or high brand names will make the switch to digital or will they continue the route they are in.

    • MH

      Rolex, et al will continue making watches the old fashioned way. There is a huge market for them.

    • trevorsalienarms

      lol. As if Rolex has just been grinding along with dated, analog technology just waiting for the ability to switch to digital displays.

      They barely made any quartz models either; they sure as heck aren’t going to jump on this sort of thing any time soon.

    • trevorsalienarms

      Round PCBs are literally everywhere. You know how many millions of LED flashlights have round driver boards in them- not to mention countless others electronics?

      Looks like it’s not “the biggest issue” afterall: http://www.droid-life.com/2014/03/18/moto-360-in-360-degrees-gifs/#more-135103

  • FAL_Fan

    $200

  • Michael Ouellette

    I would absolutely buy this watch!

  • archercc

    That is more like it!

  • Jeff C

    considering i dropped a lot of loot on my watch, it would take something like this to get me to switch over to a smart watch.

  • BigFonz

    Wow that looks really nice. I would seriously consider this watch

  • Nexoduss

    Wow what a surprise. Someone at droid life talking shitt on a samsung product. Meanwhile writes 5 articles that day about the moto x and how much they love cumming all over it. I wonder how much they paid you to praise it like this because it’s honestly not as great of a phone as you make it out to be. I should know because I had one. Everything about it was average; battery, screen, camera, etc.

    • Chris M

      but yet here you are……….smdh

      • Nexoduss

        Yeah I came to read about a watch not a bash against samsung. They’re sucking motos dick around here far too much. Good thing for those of us that can’t stand it is that motos dick keeps getting shorter and shorter

        • Chris M

          guess i missed where they were bashing samsung in the article. when you really have an innovative product people respond to it. This site is not the only site that said the X was the best Android phone last year. If im not mistaken almost all Android sites did and CNET too. Sorry you love Samsung so much and not everybody agrees with you. That’s just life though.

          • Nexoduss

            There’s a sly stab at them for their design language when I believe the design of the gear is excellent both in terms of quality and size. I don’t love samsung so much. I just hate the fact that all this site has become is bashing the top oems that actually make sales for android and praising the oems that do absolutely nothing to help android get in the hands of more people.

          • cns2007

            You’re way too sensitive and reading too much into that sentence. I’m sure they only mean the Gear are very modern looking, while this has more of a classic approach.

          • Nexoduss

            I know it’s not a drastic stab at samsung but I think we are all in agreement that they hate on everyone but moto. I mean look at the answers for the q&a. Not one person was excited about lg? Come on we all know the g3 is more than likely to be the phone of the year.

    • cizzlen

      Yeah this site used to be fun before all the constant negativity. Stock this, Moto that or gtfo blah blah blah blah blah. That average ass phone is still somehow being compared to 2014 flagship phones…like how do you even.

      • Nexoduss

        You can compare it but it’s like comparing a Chevy cruze to a Ferrari. I just don’t think Motorola did something spectacular with this phone. They made something safe that would make a few sales and keep them in business so Google could sell the off.

        • cizzlen

          It’s just stock Android with touch-less control and customize-able backs. The difference between Moto, before and after Google is night and day.

  • Drew Chapman

    I am a watch enthusiast and this is just what I’ve been waiting for in the smart watch scene. I own 6 watches now and this is one I’d actually add to my collection!

  • jamaall

    I’m hoping when Motorola said they were going to make a stylish watch, they meant something like this. I guess I have high hopes

  • ChrisCorp

    I would like to add this movable picture to the collection below:

    http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Fry-Shut-Up-and-Take-My-Money-Futurama.gif

  • Shadowstare

    That face with a two tone band and you have a deal. Thank GOD somebody thought about this.

  • viewthis66

    brilliant. i’m down for this.

  • Anthony

    Should also partner with citizen Eco drive. Could save room with a very small battery and then like the Eco drives it gets it power from light.

  • trumpet444

    I’m all for this, if possible

  • Ahku Droid

    Now this is a sexy smartwatch.

  • Sean Lally

    Analog hands and I’d buy it (even if they were just displayed on the screen).

    • cns2007

      Follow the source link.

      • Sean Lally

        Guess I hadn’t scrolled all the way down. Thanks for the pointer.

  • James Johnson

    Uhh… Where do I swipe my card? I’d totally rock this!

  • Mark G

    Shut up and take my money!!

  • e_droid

    This is beautiful

  • I would buy that in a second. No one would know it wasn’t a Timex weekender haha.

  • flyinggerbil

    ideas like this are why we have kickstarter, right? make this happen, brah.

  • Rand Paul 2016
  • NastyEmu

    Now make it super efficient so you can use something like Citizen’s Eco-Drive to power it. I don’t want to have to remember to charge my watch.

  • jbdan

    Now this is more like it! Thank goodness 🙂

  • Ed Chan

    Yes please!

    • Maxim∑

      one more time please! didn’t see the first to images

      • cizzlen

        Ok

  • Tiago Pestana

    EPIC EPIC i totally prefer this design

  • Cesar

    For such a watch I would pay all my dollars!!

  • gambit07

    That actually looks awesome, I would purchase

  • Adrynalyne

    I’d drop 600 on it if implemented correctly.

  • Just out of curiosity, are there any actual circular shaped monitors out there now? As much as I like the look of this and that Google Now watch I keep wondering how to program for one

    • Yup

      • I’ve seen that before but the Nest felt like bezel on that is big enough that it could actually be a rectangle behind it. I’m not saying I think you may not be right, it’s just the watches are edge to edge screens

  • Adrynalyne

    Now this is something I would be very interested in.

  • the.cyber.trekker

    I buy that!! If the price was REASONABLE…

  • Tommy V.

    DUDE. This is something I would consider so long as it could display a regular watchface while not in use. Then flash notifications like the Moto X!

  • enigmaco

    Still want one with a metal band

    • Intellectua1

      I think a metal band would kill it’s elegance, I’d have to see it.. Just my opinion though..

      • enigmaco

        The right metal could look nice or a ceramic band would be nice as well. Just never been a fan of leather or plastic bands.

        • The Narrator

          Definitely not Faux leather, either.

          • Intellectua1

            Yes and definitely I could never do Faux leather, though genuine leather straps aren’t expensive so I don’t see this coming with faux leather..

        • Intellectua1

          Every time I think metal band I think Breitling. Big, bulky, and glittery. Black ceramic would look great. I’m just not into shiny metal (with the exception of Breitling) unless it’s gold (not that a gold band would look nice on this)

        • Nice real natural leather that ages and patinas its self on your wrist with wear. A mans watch.

          • enigmaco

            To each their own my friend.

  • Patrick Crumpler

    $450 if water resistant and stainless. No leather. $600+ if 200m waterproof. Battery would be an issue with that it looks.

  • Jon Soucy

    if this actually comes into fruition, it will be the first smart watch that I would consider and probably end up buying (~$500)

  • cwillen

    because I know you all were waiting for this…

  • Rodeojones000

    I like it. And sticking to a more traditional watch look is the reason I’m a fan of the Martian Passport. If a designer can implement the look of an actual watch with the functionality of a full smart watch I’d have no problem paying $400-$450 for it.

  • AUSTEEEZZZ

    Like it

  • Jason Downing

    These are beautiful

  • finally someone who gets it…i would actually rock that thats a nice looking watch

    • thejoker

      who gets it? Pebble ?

      I mean like, this isn’t new….. Everyone in tech world talks like he re-invented the smartwatches.

      • archercc

        Gets the concept. Mainstream people arent going to want a nerdy looking calculator watch. The Pebble is CLOSE but still doesnt look like a jewelry watch, this is MUCH closer

    • cizzlen

      This is definitely my idea of a smart watch.

  • MrBouche

    You know, I like this more than other smart watches. It’s very aesthetically pleasing. What I would pay for it (if I could) depends on it’s specifications. functionality’s a little more important to me than design. Just a little. 😉

  • imHOWIE

    Great idea! That looks really stylish. That’s definitely something smart watches are missing. I could see myself wearing something like that.

  • James_Kernicky

    This guy’s a fan

  • Avi Faitelewicz

    Why does everyone always forget that Casio makes normal (digital) looking smart watches already?

    • Grayson

      I don’t think anyone forgets. No one knows in the first place. What is this watch you speak of? Hopefully you aren’t referring to the G-Shock.

      • Avi Faitelewicz

        The Casio GB-6900B. With a battery life of 2 years.

        http://world.g-shock.com/eu/en/ble/products/

        • Grayson

          Functionality looks extremely limited compared to watches like Pebble and Gear though.

          • Avi Faitelewicz

            Indeed, but some of us aren’t looking to take pictures, use maps, or see the weather on our watch. Some people would like a watch that also shows us notifications from our phone and can find our phone if we lose it (also the time syncing from your phone is pretty cool). I think it has just the right mix and if nothing else, you still have the watch itself which is perfectly worth wearing in its own right if you like g-shock watches.

          • Nick

            But its garbage wrt aesthetics (imho), so I’m not surprised that most people have never heard of this. I have a phone/PC/any electronic really that can tell me the time/notification/etc., if I’m going to wear a watch it has to differentiate itself through craftsmanship and design.

          • Avi Faitelewicz

            You are obviously not the audience for it. It’s for people who value the durability and robustness of a g-shock watch. If you want it to look fancy, look elsewhere. There’s a lot of people who already wear a g-shock though and that’s who this is for.

          • Nick

            I understand completely who this is targeted for. You asked why people ‘forget’ about this watch and my point is that because of it’s design it is catering to a more niche segment of the market (purely an educated guess but one I stand by) who wear G-Shock style watches and therefore it is not surprising that it is relatively unheard of.

          • Avi Faitelewicz

            My point is that it’s a smart watch that looks like a normal watch (g-shock is less niche than you might think). That’s all. And that whenever I hear a title asking what if smart watches could bebe like “normal” watches, I wonder why people forget about casio.

            To me, a digital watch is a normal watch.

          • Garrett

            Which is exactly why your original statement about the G-Shock looking “normal” doesn’t make any sense. It looks like a normal digital watch, no one in their right mind would wear that thing unless they want to go running or swimming, the design on this page may not be currently feasible, but the point was to show a watch that actually looked like a classic watch but had great capabilities.

  • Zachary Coles

    This is what we’ve all been waiting for!

  • ckruppy

    Now that is a smart watch i would actually wear! and i am the last person you would see wearing one of these smart watches that are currently out.

  • Intellectua1

    I love the brown strap. It makes it look like a Panerai luminor

  • Jonathan

    Why has no one done this yet? I thought America was good at capitalism…

  • The Narrator

    $250 tops. Looks good, but not “money” good.

  • Rafter

    That’s hot

  • I would buy that. Most Definitely.

    My guess would be around $400-$500 — a good anniversary, holiday, or ‘I’m sorry’ gift, lol.

    • WAldenIV

      I would start acting like every possible slight, dig, or misunderstanding was a crime against humanity if I got $500 “I’m sorry” gifts out of it.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    YES!……. Saw this over at the verge but really didn’t read any of it… I thought it was their mock up. That’s why reading is important. But this looks beautiful. Only if we could get something like this.

  • litobirdy

    i recommend clicking on the source link so you can see a picture at the bottom with a black strap instead. looks fantastic

  • Intellectua1

    Wow that’s very nice and more of my style, I’d buy this over the Razor Nabu.. Now as for how much? This watch probably retails for about $450

  • Ben McDonald

    /throws wallet at screen

    • Collin Chapin

      LOL

      Yep!

    • Jonathan Oh

      This made my day

    • The Painter

      Unlucky you..

      Designers are not engineers. if they were they’d know you can’t fit a battery, memory etc in that.

      but hey it’s fun to watch it, like a painting.

      • Prox

        I understand what your saying about designers not being engineers, but automatic 40-42mm watches with a power reserves are heavier and bigger than most smart watches. Batteries and memory etc, can fit fine.

        • TJWaterskier

          Design engineer here: This is doable. We’re probably talking at least Gear pricing.. but doable.

          • L_P

            I wear a Nixon 51-30 and it’s a decent sized watch. Inside is mostly empty space as the actual internals are not that large. If you used a casing similar in size I bet you could cram in the necessary hardware.

          • BigFonz

            I wear the same watch and was going to say the same. It would probably weigh a lot less too.

      • Lucky Armpit

        Things are getting smaller/faster/better all the time. Give it a few years, and I bet battery life and memory will easily fit into that kind of form factor.

    • New_Guy

      hahah, that basically made my day right there 😀

    • feztheforeigner

      I think you’re supposed to put cash into the CD tray

  • Jonathan Bunch

    Love it!

  • Tony Byatt

    Not bad…

  • mog386

    Skeuomorphic smart watch design? Blech. No thanks.

  • Carlos ⌘ Franco

    3….2….1…Samsung Gear 3

    • The Narrator

      I can imagine them trying to make it, then completely butchering it.

  • litobirdy

    wow i massively agree with that question and with those designs.