Finally a smartwatch concept that I could actually see myself wearing


I’ve said before that if Apple or anyone else wants to persuade me to wear a smartwatch, they’re going to have to design something that looks like a stylish watch rather than a chunk of smartphone glued to a strap.

Even most of the concept images floating around haven’t really hit the mark in my view. But this one, by Hungarian designer Gábor Balogh and spotted by The Verge, does.

Granted, it suffers the usual concept image issue of being designed with little thought to practicality (what happens when I answer that call?), and it’s not an iOS interface we’re seeing, but Balogh himself says that he’s aiming to illustrate a principle rather than a specific user-interface. That principle being that a watch should, first and foremost, work as a watch.


Check out the full set of images on Balogh’s Bēhance page, and let us know in the comments what you think.

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  1. degraevesofie - 9 years ago

    It looks nice for a guy.

    • Tim Jr. - 9 years ago

      Thats the issue with the whole watch concept.. Women / Men use them as much for style as they do for practical reasons.. It’s not like a phone that sits in a pocket.

      Women will want a smaller device.. well smaller means less capabilities.. and most likely want it to look elegant. men will want something larger, and more or less understated look. Tastes will vary as well. it will be very difficult to nail…

    • frankman91 - 9 years ago

      I agree, this is nice looking.

      I have never tried any of these (existing lineup) on or seen them in person, but I am worried about the bulk and size of them. I look like a clown in big mens watches, and I feel like most of them are on the large side. I am hoping they are eventually sized as large mens, small mens / large womens (big and small I guess) for those of us with skinny wrists and good eyes.

  2. Bene (@bfkremer) - 9 years ago

    beautiful! and i fully agree with you, nobody wants a tablet on his / her wrist!

  3. Mark Carabin - 9 years ago

    I’ve been testing a Pebble for the past week, and one of the things I like about it is that it functions as a watch. No need to turn on a screen just to look at the time. It could look a whole lot nicer, and the Steel is a small step in the right direction, but it’s functional. I’m much more likely to want to wear something that works as a watch but can also assist with some smart functions, rather than a product that’s simply a dumbed down smart phone screen for my wrist. There’s definitely a ton of room for improvement in the wearable space.

    If you care to read my thoughts on the Pebble after the first few days, I’ve posted an outline here

  4. Jeremiah Heckard - 9 years ago

    I completely agree. This concept hits the nail on the head when it comes to what a smartwatch would have to look like for me to wear it.

  5. lellis2k (@lellis2k) - 9 years ago

    Looks nice, I think a lot of people would go for something like this. However if I were to spend the huge amount it would cost to get a touchscreen into this small size and circular shape I would want something that people would see and go “oh cool what’s that?” But then I’m a show-off.

    I sometimes wear my nano as a watch and everyone loves it, all it needs is some extra functionality and it would be perfect!

    • Mark Carabin - 9 years ago

      I used to wear my iPod nano as a watch as well, and did get a lot of attention and enjoyed the functionality. One thing I like more with the Pebble is not having to reach down and hit a button every time I wanted to simply check the time. The battery life is also pretty great. My first week got 4 days of pretty heavy use before I charged it, and even then it was only at 20%. I could have gone at least another day, day and a half maybe, before it was fully dead. I miss the screen quality from the nano though. I’m hoping Apple will find some kind of middle ground between the two.

  6. rogifan - 9 years ago

    The problem with these concepts is its easy to look good when all the designer needs to be concerned about is aesthetics. And most computer renders of concepts don’t take into account the actual engineering required to build a physical, working device that could be brought to market. A good example is all these iPhone concepts we see of a super thin phone (where does the headphone jack go and what is the battery life like) with no bezel (how does that work in practice and what about unintentional touches). A designer mocking this stuff up in photoshop or whatever doesn’t have to worry about all that. They just have to make something look aesthetically pleasing and then it goes viral on the web with everyone drooling over it.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Indeed, this is a design concept rather than an engineering model, and agree completely on the iPhone 6 concepts. But design-wise, I think it’s a useful pointer to the direction I hope Apple will take.

  7. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    Got to agree, that’s pretty slick.

  8. Fil Aperture - 9 years ago

    I’m not sure about this. Agreed, the watch looks like a watch, but taste is, as we all know, always and never up for discussion. Long story short: I wouldn’t want my 2013 MacBook to look like the Apple Portable or the Toshiba T1100…

  9. Tomas Vaitkevicius - 9 years ago

    I hope the actual iWatch will be nothing like this, looks awful to me:)

  10. amitvedant - 9 years ago

    Amazing. Simply awesome for men. Hope they design something perfect for women as well.

  11. This is a little how I have been envisioning the “iWatch”. I think Apple’s foray into leather iPhone cases was a pilot for other leather goods, such as, maybe wrist bands… I can also see Apple going with a somewhat “traditional” form factor, but perhaps not quite this traditional.

  12. sardonick - 9 years ago

    This is the only one I’ve seen that I might even consider putting on my wrist. This actually looks good.

  13. markpetereit - 9 years ago

    I think people need to stop looking at the smart watch as THE device, and instead consider it as a low-power Bluetooth extension of your smart phone. I can see this working as a simple interface to the iPhone in my pocket. I receive a call, I see who it is on my watch, I tap my watch to answer the call, my iPhone answers and I converse using the Bluetooth earpiece that’s paired not to my watch, but to my phone. The beauty of this approach is that my watch is no longer slave to Apple or Samsung — iOS or Android — but could easily pair with either.

    • Mark Carabin - 9 years ago

      I completely agree! I don’t need an underpowered mini-phone on my wrist! Something that makes it easier to do a few key things as an extension of my phone is perfect. That’s why I think Pebble has the right approach.

  14. Kamil Wszola - 9 years ago

    This one actually looks good, I would consider wearing it with a metal band. This is the first one I’ve seen that’s not laughable and may actually work for the mass market.

  15. I would by this watch. It has a classy look to it and doesn’t look like “a chunk of smartphone glued to a strap.” I hope if Apple does make a watch, they make it look like this one.

  16. RP - 9 years ago

    No way, this is still working in a the old paradigm. Why would anyone buy this? Why would anyone buy a Pebble? If Apple released something like this, it would really mean they were done

  17. Jasper Yeung - 9 years ago

    Please!! someone build it!!

  18. Dan (@danmdan) - 9 years ago

    Alas a round smartwatch is the least efficient shape you can have, because only the middle section has a really usable width for data – whereas a square or rectangular shape allows useful data from top of screen to bottom – see the new Pebble Steel, probably the best so-far embodiment of the smartwatch.

    We should not be shackled to over a hundred years of wrist horology and think a smartwatch must be ROUND !, any more than makers of modern smartphones retain physical keys.

    • markpetereit - 9 years ago

      Historically, critical information intended to be observed quickly has generally been presented on a round display. (Clocks, speedometers, tachometers, pressure gauges, etc.) If I want more information, I’ll pull out my phone. But for quick-glances, the traditional round watch face appeals to me most, and looks the last geeky/clunky.

      • Dan (@danmdan) - 9 years ago

        Yes, but only because the indicators mentioned were mechanical, and thus had center drive hand(s).

        A Smart watch no longer needs to effectively skeuomorphic – it does not NEED to look like a “traditional” wristwatch; and I argue should not.

  19. I like the styling of this one better than most smartwatch concepts I’ve seen around. Being a late-70s person, I like my watch to look like a(n elegant) watch and function as one.

    Also, engineering-wise, it’ll be much easier to have the watch’s bezel function like a wheel (sans the click probably, given the device’s probability to get pressed into clothing etc) and have one or (preferably) two buttons for navigation (yes/no, ok/back).

    Also, I wouldn’t be bothered if the display was monochrome (or oligo-chrome) e-ink or something power-frugal and there was no touch capability (to keep the costs down and to keep fingers out of the screen – i.e. legibility).

    And please, no more concepts of watches with cameras, speakers or microphones… no more Dick Tracy stuff, please. If I’m buying a smartwatch, it’s because I’ll want it to function as a discreet interface to my smartphone. Discreet means minimal interaction and fuss.

  20. techtalons - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on Tech Talon and commented:
    I agree with this


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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