Gadgets for humans

This smartwatch helps you capture important moments in your life

What Monograph

Vienna-based firm What? is working on a radically different kind of smartwatch that focuses on sharing moments with people in your circle.

Pair the stylish new Monograph watch with your phone and hit the bold red button alongside its crown any time something notable happens in your life: discover a beautiful view on a hike, achieve a major milestone at work or kiss your partner for the first time. The dial will display a timestamp and the companion app will let you create a story to go with it, including text, images and video.

Once your story is ready, you can share it with your contacts through the app, and receive a notification when they add content to it as well.

It’s an intriguing idea that will likely only appeal to a tiny niche of watch wearers. While most smartwatches try to negate the need to whip out your phone, the Monograph encourages it.

Is it for you? That depends: are you the sort of person who shares moments from their life as it happens? And are you looking to do more of that? If so, this might be worth a look. For the rest, the need to push a button and use a separate app than their favorite social networks may prove to be an unnecessary hindrance.

So no, I can’t say I see a lot of people buying the Monograph – at least, not for its intended purpose. I do like the idea behind it, and I love the fact that if you share a moment with another watch owner, it’ll replicate the on-screen pattern on their dial.

But it seems like adoption of this concept will be hampered by the need for your contacts to also have the app installed in order to see your stories – and who’s going to do that, especially if they don’t also own a Monograph?

I’d love to get my hands on it for an altogether different reason: it’s gorgeous. The dial is distinctively designed, the case and lugs are beautifully styled, and I’ve always wanted a watch with a big red button. For $126 (early bird price), I’d be happy to give moment-sharing a go with a beautiful timepiece like this.

Plus, What? knows how to make watches. I’m reviewing the company’s Calendar timepiece right now, and it’s very well built. If the company can replicate that level of polish and durability on the Monograph, it’ll certainly have a winner on its hands, as far as crafting a solid watch is concerned.

There’s also an alternative design that features a radar-style watch face and a brass case, as well as a pocket watch edition. If the company’s project is successfully funded, its watches will ship in November. Head over to the Monograph Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

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Published April 14, 2017 — 10:18 UTC