Is every watch a Smartwatch? Well if there is one thing that you should have already taken from reading my site, it is that a great piece of lateral thinking will always get a mention here. Successful or not. And Sony have taken logical to the kind of extremes that I just could not resist looking into.
The Sony Wena, has been available in Japan, for quite some time now, and I was always curious as to why. So when news reached my ears that the innovative concept was finally to be made available on our shores , my attentions was immediately grabbed.
In recent years the role of the traditional watchmaker has been put under increasing pressure by the advent of the Sportsband, and the Smartwatch. Sales of all but the most expensive, iconic marquees, or the cheapest tat have taken a serious hit, and continue to decline. The point in the future where manufacturers of some of the mainstream wrist-watch are forced to make serious consideration to dropping the wrist-watch completely from their range, are it seems getting ever closer. This is a situation that is obviously not acceptable to even those who consider themselves to be adverse to watches.
So it is highly commendable that Sony, has come up with a compromise, even if it is a little prior to the day the last watch was ever made. Or we are even in the unenviable position of asking our loved ones to consider purchasing us an old fashioned watch from a little back-street retro shop where, like the local blacksmith, some over-weight youth wearing torn jeans, and slightly offensive tee-shirt, brightly coloured beads and dredlocked hair, is trying unsuccessfully to keep the ancient art of watchmaking alive ‘man’, or ‘dude’, or ‘bro’.
Fad or Sense.
To be totally fair to the tech companies this is not really the first foray into this market. It’s not even the first attempt to find the compromise. There was in around 2015 the Sinn strap designed for the iwatch, which actually made tonnes of sense, and a massive splash when it flopped.
I remember also premium maker Montblanc, came up with a design very similat to the Wena, and this also proved to be a bit of a white elephant in the western market. So why have Sony suddenly introduced the Wena to the markets over here? Well if you consider that the Wena, also dates back to 2015, and even Sony’s home market. Something must have happened to change their mind, and if you look at their sales reports the Wena, seems to have attracted a major boost in popularity, so maybe Sony think that opinions over here may be starting to turn.
And let’s be honest here. In this industry, being on the tip of the wave when the tide turns usually turns out to be an advantageous place to be sitting.
Confused or Genius?
Sony have a remarkably speckled background with their product launches and marketing exercises. The commentator never really has a clue if this is a serious attempt or an attempt to get rid of some excess stock. The same can be said her. Sony have taken the blunderbuss product launcher out again, and what they are up to will eventually be shown in the scatter patterns against the wall of marketing.
As we all know, this technology is still in it’s infancy and is developing at a mind blowing pace and in directions far removed from where we all thought it was going only a short few months ago. Only 6 months ago Apple, along with several other leading companies predicted that the smartband market would begin to implode this year and be all but gone in 3 years, and that the Smartwatch had only a limited amount of extra mileage in it. Now the powers that be are indicating a much longer prospect for the market. Extension which in the main is being driven by innovation.
If this was supposed to be a serious attempt to jump the queue in the market> Well I’m really not sure, because if it was we would have expected either a massive leap in capabilities, or a decent give away either in the form of a phone, or some buds or something. Are they doing that? NO.
Maybe a give away price? Erm no, not really. The band alone costs around £400 and if you want to add a Sony Wena head, they start at £100 so the package as a fully functioning watch cost over £500, which is far from cheap.
Ok, an innovative tech package then…………NO. The band released this year has basically been available in Japan in exactly the same form since 2015! In fact the functions are restricted to phone alerts, fitness tracking, and remote payment is about all you get with the addition of GPS and heart rate monitor on the Active model. So hardly ground breaking.
So they are just trying to shift old stock then?
Well no I don’t think so, but I do doubt the wisdom of how they are selling them.
What do you do when trying to launch a new concept? I know pair it with another cool concept that, ultimately failed! Yep they are taking their selling point that you can pretty much fit any watch head to the Band and create your own watch, and pairing it with the other watch strap that you could have interchangeable faces on, the Swatch.
My only problem with this is that they seem to have done a great job in designing the 5 interchangeable watch heads that they are launching alongside the Band, and I would want all of them. Which is going to make this a mega purchase!
As a concept I really, really like the idea, and as I have loads of watches, but have moved now to almost always having some kind of smart device on my arm. I barely get to wear them, and I can think of about 7 watches that I miss being drawn to wear, so this is going to have to go on the must buy list for me.
Yes I am aware that at this price range it represents a big risk for both Sony, and myself, but over the years I have gotten used to people viewing me as that geeky bloke with the weird pointless tech that nobody else bought.