Chronos Wearable enters into a market where there is an extreme shortage of options for those who do not wish to give up their analog time pieces for a digital and (let’s be honest here) unsightly IOS or Android smart watch. Until this point, the leagues of watch aficionados that are unwilling to give up their timeless time pieces had no option. Chronos entered the stage wanting to change all of that. Bringing a wearable to the world of analog watches. Finally an option.
The Chronos Wearable is a small disc that adheres to the back of your analog watch via a micro suction pad (no magnets). It is a very bare bones smart module for your watch. Chronos boasts that it will fit 80% of watches currently on the market and that it will bring some smart watch capabilities to the world of analog watches.
I initially saw the Chronos Wearable on my Facebook feed back in early 2015. Though I was not all that interested in the smart watch market, this little guy had my interest more than peaked. I checked out what their website had to say about the product and pined over the idea of still being able to wear my analog watch while having some smart capabilities. With a manageable pre-order price of $99 ($130 retail after launch) I took the dive and figured to give the Chronos Wearable a shot.
The Chronos Wearable includes features such as:
• Phone call and Text notifications.
• Facebook and Facebook Messenger notifications.
• Custom preset light colors and vibration patterns for all notifications.
• Chronos Contacts. Custom light colors and vibration patterns for specific contacts.
• Fitness tracker and goals. Steps, Distance and Calories.
• Preset Gestures: Silence incoming call, Camera remote, Media playback, Find phone and Repeat notification.
• 36 hour battery life.
• Wireless charging dock.
• IOS and Android capability (No Android app currently).
Here are some specs:
• Dimensions: 3mm thin x 33mm diameter
• Weight: 10g
• Stainless steel and polycarbonate construction
• Low energy Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
• Built in accelerometer, vibration motor and led lights
• Micro suction pad
I finally received my Chronos Wearable just over 2 weeks ago after a very long wait due to some shipping push backs. The packaging was extremely pleasing. I was quite happy with the presentation that the packaging put forward. Installing it to the back of my watch (Orient M-Force) was very straight forward and easy. The disc does add some noticeable loft to your watch and if you have a tight-fitting with a metal band, you will more than likely have to adjust your watch band. I had to make some adjustments to my metal watch band due to some discomfort. At that point I let the Chronos Wearable charge for the recommended 30 minutes before installing the app on my iPhone, pairing it and updating the firmware.
When I finally got to the point of setting up my notifications, light colors and some custom contact notifications. I was shocked with how under pronounced the vibration and the lights are. I even had the lights up as bright as possible and tried all of the vibration presets. To this day if I have my phone silenced and am relying on the Chronos Wearable for certain notifications, I can easily miss them. The only time I can really notice the notification lights are in low light conditions. After some time with using it, I figured out which vibration patterns work best for me to notice and what does not work. Sometimes I do still miss a notification but the same thing happens when I have my phone on silent without Chronos.
My time with using gestures has been difficult. The media playback (pause and play) gestures can be so difficult to recognize. A lot of the time when I am trying to skip a track (tap the crown of your watch 3 times) it will pause the music. I have tried different tap speeds and how hard the taps are. I have had similar issues with the Find my device, Silence call and Camera remote gestures. The only gesture I have not had a hard time with was the Notification repeat. My biggest issue with the Notification repeat is the very short time that you can do this gesture (if you can notice the initial notification at all).
My absolute biggest gripe about the Chronos Wearable is the battery life or therefore lack of. Chronos states a 36-48 hour battery life. To date I have not been able to get a battery life longer than 8-12 hours with minimal notifications I contacted them about this issue and it seems to be a common issue.
“Battery life may vary depending on the user; to note, fitness data is actively being collected, and this weighs in on its battery life. We are working on app updates that will further optimize battery usage.”
This is a very respectable response to this issue. Currently, there is no way to turn off fitness tracking as a basic work around. A basic patch to the Chronos Wearable app would be fantastic so you can switch fitness tracking on or off and I do hope that they promptly fix this issue.
I really like the idea of the Chronos Wearable and I will continue to keep an eye on its progress. While the product does have minor issues such as short battery life, some IOS app bugs and some issues I had with gestures, it is still a promising product that does have a future in the smart watch and wearables market. Keeping in mind that the Chronos Wearable only brings basic smart watch features, it does do its job. Unfortunately at this time an Android app does not exist. Chronos is still working on publishing an app to support Android fully.
It COULD be better but I have seen a lot more far less attractive products and half baked kickstarter projects that target the same audience. The Chronos Wearable is the only one that shows any sort of promise which is why I was so eager to back it. With a $99 price tag currently it is an obvious choice for those who want to jazz up their analog watch while giving it a James Bond feel!
All images courtesy of WearChronos.com