The Meta M1 smartwatch designed by Frank Nuovo. Photo: AFP
The Frank Nuovo-designed smartwatch attempts to put traditional wristwatch elegance and subtlety above geek chic.
Therefore plastics have been passed over in favor of stainless steel and a clever "gullwing" lug design that ensures the rectangular watch sits comfortably and securely on the wrist without being bulky.
A leading light in industrial design, Nuovo made his name as the head of design at Nokia and was the brains behind the look and feel of the company's initial Vertu ultra-premium handsets. And as such, when MetaWatch announced it had secured his services at the end of 2013 it generated lots of excitement and expectation.
Well the wait is almost over -- it's not shipping until September -- and the Meta M1 does indeed look and feel like a premium object, and one with an equally premium $249-$449 price tag depending on choice of finish and strap.
"The META M1 is a collection of premium timepieces that just happen to be smart," says Bill Geiser, MetaWatch founder and CEO. "We're proud to continue the traditional elements of watch making such as beautiful design, quality materials, fine craftsmanship, and attention to detail, and then carefully infuse modern technology to deliver a relevant, new consumer experience."
However, despite Geiser's enthusiasm, it isn't clear exactly how smart the watch will be. It connects with an Apple or Android smartphone via a specially designed app that has been created to control and directly manage a host of typical notifications -- be it the weather, news headlines, live sports scores or incoming message alerts.
These alerts are pushed to a 1.3-inch monochrome LCD display; which is great for battery life -- the company claims it should last five to seven days between recharges -- but it isn't touch-sensitive, so how interactive or intuitive these notifications are going to be is yet to be seen.
The Meta M1 can be ordered directly from MetaWatch's website and the first US deliveries are expected in September.