When you’re looking for a smartwatch, it sometimes makes sense to go with a manufacturer who has a proven track record in consumer electronics products. After all, a smartwatch isn’t much good if it can’t make the best use of the technology that it’s meant to work with. However, as smartwatches grow more and more as a field of products, more and more companies who perhaps don’t have as much past work in the field of technology are making great strides in gathering talent to help flesh out the more technical side of their interests. What this boils down to could mark something of a major shift in the way that smartwatches are produced; it’s common now for electronics companies to diversify into watchmaking, but increasingly it seems that it’ll be watchmakers diversifying into electronics. A great early example of this is the Hyetis Crossbow, a device that combines the best of a high-end wristwatch with all the functionality that you would expect from a top quality smartwatch.
From first glance, you’ll notice that the Crossbow shares much in common with the sort of visual design that you’ll see many luxury brands of watch offer as a practical wristwatch. It’s a robust piece that has the look of something that will hold up to anything that you ask of it, and that’s very important for something that you’re going to be wearing on a daily basis. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been designed to be attractive, far from it—this is a very appealing device. The metal exterior is hard-wearing, but its functionality carries with it a rather elegant sense of style. There’s nothing too ostentatious about the watch, but it’s certainly a very nicely designed piece.
The same can be said of its user interface, which refrains from anything too complicated in favour of a very sleek, usable experience. It has to be said that the Crossbow can display a lot of information on its watch face, but it never gets too cluttered such that said information would become difficult to take in. It’s a credit to the smart use of colour and typography that the device can effortlessly bring you SMS notifications, weather updates and your music player controls all at once without ever seeming like there’s too much going on to take notice of. And, unlikely some other models of smartwatch, it can do all this whilst still displaying the time—all the added smartwatch functionality is neatly placed into the background of a traditional watch fact, so whatever else you’re doing with the Crossbow, it’s always a watch first and foremost.
The fact that this is primarily a watch, with its other functions being secondary, is perhaps as a result of it being developed by Hyetis as ‘the first and only’ Swiss smartwatch. It’s widely known the world over that no one has quite the watchmaking acumen that the Swiss do, so it makes sense that the massive experience that Swiss watchmakers have in the physical process of creating timepieces could be harness to make a standout smartwatch. However, it’s the balance between the electronic and traditional components of the watch that will make or break such a device, and that’s where the Crossbow really shines. Most smartwatches tend to veer towards being either a traditional watch with electronic influences or vice versa—the Crossbow doesn’t make any such compromises. It’s clear that this device has been designed from scratch as a product that integrates the best of both world smoothly and succinctly, and it is very successful in its efforts.
Similarly impressive is the huge amount of raw power that the Crossbow has under the hood. As well as the very impressive standard of the watch mechanism itself—an automatic Swiss Made movement for all three hands—there’s a quad core GPU, a dual core 1.2 GHz ARM A9 and 64GB of onboard flash memory for storage. All of this should ensure that the device will continue to be effective and competitive for its lifetime, rather than becoming obsolete all too soon, something that can happen rather easily if designers aren’t as forward thinking as the team at Hyetis. There’s also plenty of functionality enhancing hardware that makes sure that the watch isn’t beholden to any other device—a 48 Megapixel camera will be able to compete with most phone cameras and even some dedicated compacts, whilst a range of biometrics trackers will give future apps for the device the ability to track your heartbeat, body temperature and blood pressure. There’s so much going on with this device that, in lesser hands, it could end up being a rather unfocussed project—but thankfully that’s not the case. It’s simply an extraordinarily fully-functioned bit of kit that manages to keep a lot of different plates spinning in rather amazing synchronicity. The Crossbow gives you the ability to a lot from your wrist, but it does so without ever over-complicating matters and realizing that those features need not detract from the simpler functions that you’ll be using more often. This is a device that can do a lot—but can also do the simply stuff very, very well.
As you might imagine, such a device as the Crossbow that offers high-end internals, luxury finishings and all the trimmings that come with Swiss design is going to carry with it a considerable price tag. At $1200 USD for a special early bird edition of the device, there’s no way of getting around the fact that this is an expensive smartwatch—but in terms of what the Crossbow can do, it’s not an unbelievable sum. The bottom line is that the Crossbow is a smartwatch for someone who doesn’t want to compromise in any area; aesthetics, internals, interface—every part of the user experience has been fine tuned until there’s little else that can be done to make it better. If you’re the sort of smartwatch user who demands perfection from their device, and won’t shy away from paying what it takes to get that result, then the Crossbow might just be for you. If you’d like more information about the device, you can visit the Hyetis website for a full listing of its specifications and features, as well as the brand’s official store where you can buy the Crossbow direct from its manufacturers.