Flashy and attention-grabbing smartwatches aren't exactly a new trend -- think Apple's $10,000 18-karat rose gold Watch Edition -- but Samsung is finally entering the high-end smartwatch market following a partnership with watchmaker de Grisogono.
The aptly named de Grisogono Gear S2 smartwatch, which is expected to become available this summer, but doesn't yet carry an official price tag, is sculpted in gold and precious jewels. It features Samsung's Gear S2 technology.
The diamond-set gold bezel turns around the dial, allowing users to access the Gear S2's library of applications and features, including notifications and activity logs.
The 1.2-inch, Circular Super AMOLED display boasts 302 pixels per inch (ppi). The device has 4GB of internal memory and 512MB of RAM, as well as wi-fi, Bluetooth, and near-field communication (NFC) connectivity options. It can also be charged wirelessly.
The luxury pedigree of the Swiss jeweler is evident in the 100 black and white diamonds, and in a bracelet studded with de Grisogono's signature galuchat -- a type of rawhide consisting of rough untanned skin.
Watch faces include one with a two-hand dial with dual-time display, complete with a day/night indicator at 3 o'clock, a day-date display at 6 o'clock, and a small seconds counter at 9 o'clock. There's also a two-hand dial with a central seconds counter, a power-reserve indicator at 4 o'clock, and a moon phase display at 8 o'clock.
The limited-edition smartwatch will be available for purchase through Samsung's and de Grisogono's retail channels following its debut at Baselworld 2016, a marketplace and trendsetting show for the world's watch and jewelry industry that kicked off March 17.
While a price hasn't yet been released, de Grisogono's men's watches seem to fall between $5,000 and $10,000 on average, putting the figure in competitive range with the Apple Watch Edition.
Samsung will have stiff competition for attention at Baselworld this year, since Movado Group announced the expansion of its collaboration with H. to bring smartwatch technology to its brand portfolio, including Coach, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Juicy Couture, Tommy Hilfiger, and Scuderia Ferrari.
Other legacy luxury watchmakers are already gearing up production on their popular smartwatch models.
TAG Heuer, part of the LVMH Group, is planning on ramping up production of the Connected, its first smartwatch, just a month after the product became available in December.
The $1,500 smartwatch features an Intel dual-core processor with a max clock rate of 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, a 410mAh battery, and a 1.5-inch full circular LCD display.
Compatible with Android and iOS smartphones, the watch also features an IP67 splash-proof rating, Bluetooth 4.1, Touch on Display supporting multiple finger recognition, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
Among the other brands competing for upper-crust wrists are Breitling's Exospace B55 Connected, which uses Bluetooth LE to connect to a smartphone, allowing users to add functions such as setting a second time zone, alarms, and reminder vibrations.
The Exospace B55 Connected debuted at last year's Baselworld event. It currently sells for around $9,500.Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio