You’re looking at the face of what may just prove to be the next World Cup’s biggest star. Hublot has just revealed the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia smartwatch, which every referee at this summer’s tournament in Russia will consult for technical assistance.
The Wear OS timepiece has been specifically designed to simultaneously break millions of hearts, while making millions of others pee themselves with joy, by telling referees whether or not the ball has crossed the goal-line during matches.
It will also display the time (obviously) and substitutions.
A standard consumer version of the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia smartwatch, which won’t be hooked up to goal-line technology, will also be available. It will alert you to kick-off times 15 minutes before each game starts, and keep you updated with scores, yellow and red cards, stats and subs.
Related: What is Wear OS?
It also features a rather neat-looking double ring of “fan dials” in the colours of each participating nation, and will be sold alongside a range of straps that match each team’s kits.
The rather glorious press materials describe it as “A much-anticipated innovation that could not have been imagined by any other watch brand, given the extent to which Hublot and Football are as one. Not only is the footballing world going to march to the beat of the watchmaker, but now the pulse of the matches will reach its peak on your wrist!”
In terms of technical stuff, Hublot says it’s compatible with all mobiles that run Android 4.4 and above or iOS 9 and above, features a titanium case and bezel, a 35.4mm, 400 x 400 AMOLED display and around a day of battery life.
It’s set to go on sale on May 1, for 4,900 Swiss Francs (~ £3650) and will be available in very limited numbers − only 2018 are being made.
Related: World Cup VAR
FIFA this month confirmed that Video Assistance Referees (VAR) will be used at the World Cup for the first time this year, and plenty of figures from the world of football have voiced their concerns about the system. In testing, it’s proved effective but slightly confusing and desperately slow, and the hope is that referees manage to get their heads around the technology sharpish.
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