Baselworld 2015, which wrapped on Thursday, was certainly the year of the smartwatch.
The world’s biggest watch showcase saw a slew of wearable tech announcements, including Gucci (in partnership with will.i.am); TAG Heuer (teaming with Google and Intel); Tissot; Frederique Constant; Vector (integrating into the smarthome with Nest); Breitling; and Mondaine.
Add Kenneth Cole to that list, as it closed this year’s Baselworld by announcing its first smartwatch in partnership with the Geneva Watch Group: Kenneth Cole Connect.
“As a designer, I always try to give customers what they want but in a way that they don’t necessarily expect it,” Cole stated in a press release. “Wearable technology is one of the fastest growing fashion categories today and I am excited to be on the forefront of embracing this platform.”
The high-tech line comes in 12 styles with app-enabled functionality so users can stay connected via alerts for incoming calls, texts and calendar events.
Priced from $135 to $165, the watch uses Bluetooth connectivity to choose music and even take selfie photos from the wrist—in fact, the Connect technology lets users “take selfies longer than their arm.”
Compatible with Android or iPhone smartphones, its features include a stopwatch, low battery phone alert, water resistance and an alert for those straying too far from a Bluetooth-connected smartphone.
— Kenneth Cole (@kennethcole) March 19, 2015
Promoting its touchscreen tech watch at the recent SXSW in Austin, the Connect collection doesn’t mark the brand’s first foray into wearable tech.
Kenneth Cole signed on as a branded Google Glass explorer to help launch its Mankind fragrance last year.
Working with Men’s Health magazine and New York-based digital agency Ready Set Rocket in order “to give a consumer the tools to be a better man,” the brand challenged Google Glass users to complete the Mankind Glass 21 Days/21 Deeds challenge in the pursuit of self-improvement.
“We ran the idea of ‘taking social action by using Google Glass’ by them and fleshed out a prototype within two weeks,” Ready Set Rocket co-founder and Chief Strategist Alex Lirstman told Adweek, noting “a strong call to action for the social cause.”
The digitally adventurous brand has also experimented with augmented reality. And while Google Glass is now being revisited as a platform, the opportunity and experience proved invaluable, according to Kenneth Cole VP of integrated marketing Robert Genovese.
“We go into any campaign agnostically,” he commented, “learning a new device first hand and determining how you can leverage it. If a smartwatch fits into a future strategy, great. If it doesn’t, we will run a completely analog campaign that will (hopefully) deliver similar results.”
Now that its smartwatch is here, we can’t wait to see how Kenneth Cole uses intelligent accessories—well, intelligently, in order to differentiate its brand.