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January 9, 2018

Kate Spade’s smartwatch for women shuns tired old ‘shrink it and pink it’ style

by John_A

“There’s a viewpoint in the technology space that all you have to do to make a product for women is, ‘shrink it and pink it,” Kate Spade executive vice president and chief marketing officer Mary Beech told Digital Trends, “and we didn’t want to approach it that way.”

The lifestyle brand has announced its first Android Wear smartwatch, the Kate Spade Scallop, and like DKNY recently, it definitely hasn’t followed that lazy, well-trodden path. Instead, it has made beautiful piece of jewelry, that not only complement’s the wearer’s lifestyle, but the rest of the Kate Spade range as well.

The Scallop follows a selection of hybrid smartwatches from Kate Spade, and it’s the wide-range of functionality offered by Android Wear that attracted it to go ahead with the project. Beech continued: “We’re excited about the function. We’ve always approached our products this way. Our first bag was a perfect blend of design and utmost functionality, and so when it came to smartwatches, we wanted a package that fitted her look and lifestyle, and that also helped manage her busy life.”

Iconic design elements, and custom watch faces

At the center of the watch is a 1.9-inch touchscreen with a 390 x 390 pixel resolution, showing Android Wear 2.0, and powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor. Like other smartwatches, it will deliver notifications from a Bluetooth connected smartphone, run apps, count steps and calories, play music, and allow you to use Google Assistant on your wrist. There are two body colors available — rose gold and yellow gold — along with three different strap styles.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Design is an important part of the watch, and it was, “important to make a product that fitted into the Kate Spade range,” Beech said. “When you look at the watch with the screen off, it’s so Kate Spade. The iconic scallop design is on the top ring, there is a spade insignia on the crown, and the metal colors are the current best sellers throughout the rest of the Kate Spade range.” The bracelet colors and leather from the bands are also shared with other Kate Spade designs, resulting in a cohesive, attractive look.

There are also several custom watches faces. “The animated ones are lots of fun,” Beech told us, describing faces with taxi cabs, falling daisy petals, and winking eyes. They’re also part of Kate Spade’s commitment to giving the watch an up-to-date look, and it will deliver new faces every quarter, with a popular monogram face coming next. In addition to these, the Scallop watch has a Choose Your Look custom watch face. Here, wearers can create a watch face that matches their bag, jewelry, and outfit. “It’s fun, useful, and we’re really excited about it,” Beech enthused. Apart from the watch face updates, in the future the company will look at expanding the range of bands.

Make life easier

True wearables designed for women are still a rarity, with those that fit into the accepted stereotype of glittery and pink being prevalent. This was on the company’s mind during the watch’s development. Beech said, “We didn’t want a new product to be ‘me too.’ Making a smartwatch felt natural, but the older bulkier designs didn’t feel right, so when the tech caught up and allowed us to have the slimmer case we felt it was the right time to bring out a smartwatch.” The idea was to combine features usually seen in multiple devices into one watch. “Making women’s lives easier is one of our favorite things to do,” said Beech.

The Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch is available to pre-order from January 9, with sales beginning online and in stores on February 5. The two styles with leather straps will cost $295, and the model with the rose gold bracelet strap will be $325.

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