Noel Campion says Sony has created something for everyone with the five watch face options of the wena
The way I see it, there are three types of people when it comes to wearing watches. Those who don’t wear any, the ones who only wear a traditional analogue watch and those who wear fitness and smartwatches.
Sony, who were one of the first companies to design and produce smartwatches launched a new product line this week and I was one of the lucky ones to get some hands-on time at the unveiling in London.
The new Sony wena watch (Wear Electronics Naturally) is a new concept in that it offers five new physical watch face options that are not smart along with a band that is. In turn, you can also just buy the smart band and use your own watch face.
Those with a collection of analogue or non-smart watches may find the latter appealing. I have an old watch my parents gave me for my 21st that I don’t wear anymore because I’m so used to wearing a smartwatch, but I’d love the opportunity to start wearing it again and this is a potential option for me.
The new wena range includes two straps and five different face styles and was the brainchild of a Sony employee called Teppei Tsumhima, through the company’s Seed Acceleration programme (SAP), which encourages its employees to propose and create new ideas beyond Sony’s existing business categories. Launched in April 2014, the scheme encourages innovation and provides the opportunity for its employees to propose and create new ideas.
With the latest smart technology all in a smartwatch strap, wena incorporates speedy contactless payment, advanced fitness tracking and direct link-ups for phone notifications into a luxury timepiece design.
One of the key selling points of the technology is E-money and Contactless Payments. The new watch bands utilise NFC technology to give wearers the ability to make contactless payments with just a tap of the wrist — something I’m a big fan of because it provides a more secure and safer way to pay and is less hassle than cash or even a card. Global digital financial technology leader Wirecard will be the launch issuer for the UK and Ireland. Using Wirecard’s boon app for iOS and Android, customers will be able to add a virtual card to the wena app and set up automatic top-ups, providing a simple way for everyone to access funds, no matter who they bank with.KBC Bank Ireland will be the first bank in Ireland to launch this new tech.
KBC debit and credit card customers will be able to pay for goods and services on the move with the tap of their wrist using a wena strap.
Georg von Waldenfels, executive VP of consumer solutions at Wirecard, said: “The cooperation between Wirecard and Sony combines the best of two worlds by tracking your activities and making mobile payments by connecting your boon app with a fashionable smart wearable. This brings a whole new lifestyle aspect to the market for mobile payments, which is experiencing strong growth worldwide, and this is why we are delighted to be among the first launch partners for Sony wena.”
As you’d expect, the wena smartwatch strap has all of the ‘smarts’ including notifications incoming calls, mail and app notifications with a one or two-line display. Notifications can be customised using the 7-coloured LED lighting and vibration, giving the wearer greater control of how the watch communicates with them. The smart band also counts your steps and calories burned. However, only the wena wrist active version has GPS tracking and heart-rate sensors to provide calories burned and distance travelled. The wena wrist pro, has a metal strap and is intended for the traditional watch-wearer. It will be available in both silver and black, the 20mm band — with 18, 20 and 22mm lug attachment options included. Water resistant 5BAR resistance, the wena wrist pro is a strap enabled with e-money, simple activity logging, and notifications, and designed to be worn for all occasions.
The wena wrist active has a silicone strap and has the latest fitness tracking including step tracking, GPS and heart rate sensors. The wena wrist active is compatible with both Apple health and Google fit app. With a band width of 20mm, the strap comes with 18, 20 and 22 mm lugs to match most watch faces and features a “quick release system” to remove the head during any intense workouts or for comfort while sleeping.
The range also comes complete with watch faces designed to match perfectly with the watch straps. Sony has worked with some of the finest Swiss watchmakers in the market to ensure premium quality. The Mechanical watch face is a classic design featuring high-performance mechanical movement and a see-through back which reveals the quality of the Miyota “905S” movement. The design includes spherical sapphire glass resistant to shocks and scratches.
The Solar is a model with solar movement, the Solar watch face is available in two classic designs: Three Hands and Chronograph. Water resistant 5BAR and a spherical sapphire glass impact-resistant finish, the designs are perfect for any gym-goer. Continuous operation time is around 6 months from a full charge. As with the Solar, the Quartz watch face is available in two styles: Three Hands and Chronograph. A thin and delicate design, the Quartz watch face blends a simple stylised look with clever design to create a classic face with a difference.
The new wena watch range is available to pre-order in the UK from February 13. The active strap is priced at €399 and the pro strap is priced at €449, faces vary from €120 to €520.