Breitling enters the smartwatch race

Swiss watch maker Breitling is getting ready for next month’s Apple Watch release, debuting its first smartwatch.

Dubbed the Breitling B55 Connected, the company’s first foray into the realms of smartphone-syncing watches pairs a traditional analogue movement with digital displays for a hybrid-style approach to the techy timepiece race.

This isn’t a smartwatch in the same sense as the Android Wear packing Moto 360 or LG G Watch R, however.

Instead of offering call handling capabilities, wrist-based text and email notifications and all manner of other smart features, the B55 Connected takes a more streamlined approach to the connected watch market.

Syncing with the new Bretling mobile app, users of the Bluetooth connected device can alter the watch’s time, set alarms and share timings all via their handsets.

What the B55 Connected lacks in true smartwatch functionality, it more than makes up for in premium watch design.

Offering precise timekeeping, the watch, aimed at pilots, is built around the same thermocompensated superquartz chronograph movement as found in the company’s traditional B50 model.

It is expected that similarly refined ‘smart’ solutions will be adopted when further traditional watch makers, such as Swatch and Tag Heuer take their much anticipated bows in the connected timepiece space.

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Earlier this week Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek revealed the company will introduced similar smart features to its own products from May.

“We are not a consumer technology company,” said Hayek. “We don’t want to produce a reduced, minimised mobile phone on your wrist.”

Breitling B55 Connected pricing and availability is still unclear.

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