Swiss Watchmaker Montblanc Announces eStrap Smartstrap for Mechanical Watches

Montblanc announced Thursday a wearable computing option for mechanical watch owners. Being launched initially for the Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed line of watches for 2015, the eStrap includes an OLED screen and various fitness-related sensors.

Montblanc eStrap

Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed with eStrap

The short version of the eStrap is that it has sensors in the part of the strap that passes underneath the watch, as shown above. For non-watch nerds, this is a "pass-through" or "NATO-style" strap, but Montblanc has designed the eStrap so that it will work with any of its 42mm and 43mm time pieces (meaning it should work with similar sizes from other watchmakers if they have the same size lugs).

The strap is also designed to pass through the 128 x 36 pixel OLED display, which would then sit underneath your wrist. Many commenters at A Blog to Watch, which broke this news, were arguing that the eStrap would be uncomfortable to wear due to the placement of the screen.

The eStrap is 40mm long, 14.2mm wide, and 9mm high (or thick), and Montblanc said it will have a battery life of 5 days—it's rechargeable via a micro-USB port. It's shock and splash-resistant, and it communicates with both iPhone and Android devices through Bluetooth 4.0.

It's designed to display basic call information, texts, e-mails, calendars, social media, and reminder notifications, and it features a pedometer and an accelerometer. It also features a vibrator for alerts.

Montblanc, a maker of both fine pens and fine time pieces, competes starting in the mid-range of the Swiss watch markets. The piece shown is the Timewalker Urban Speed Chronograph with the workhorse ETA Valjoux 7750 movement, and it will retail for €4,690 (US$5,630), including the eStrap. The eStrap will be sold separately for €250 ($300).

Here's what the front of the Timewalker Urban Speed Chronograph looks like:

Timewalker Urban Speed Chronograph

Timewalker Urban Speed Chronograph