We are in a fast-paced environment, meaning that a gadget that can perform different tasks is invaluable. You want a smartwatch that can alert you of important emails while you are on the go and help you stay healthy by tracking your activity level. Such features facilitate the growth of the smartwatch market, projected to hit $230.30 million units in 2026. Any watch enthusiast will always go for quality, and Rolex watches are in a class of their own. For this reason, you must be wondering if a Rolex smartwatch exists, and below is all you need to know.
A Rolex Smartwatch Does Not Exist
If you are quick to believe everything you read on the internet, you must have been excited to come across a certain 2015 Monochrome Watches article. They had “Breaking News” that Rolex was joining the smartwatch race with a titanium version of the Submariner watch: the Sub-Oyster-Tron. As per the article, the decision to join the smartwatch race was because Rolex does not like losing its dominant position in the watch market to Apple. Apple had already tapped into Rolex’s market share with a watch costing over $10,000; hence, the Sub-Oyster-Tron would be a great competitor. Monochrome Watches revealed the watch would be the first-ever Submariner to have a date. It would also have other features such as a smartphone, smart stapler, smart letter opener, all of which would be under a suite of products named “Smart-Desk.” The Rolex smartwatch additionally would have a remote key for your car and communication access to payment devices in whichever convenience store you visit around the world. As a Submariner, it would be water-resistant up to 10 feet and, if the watch did not do well in the market, Rolex would buy Apple products and rebrand them.
Of course, it is only after reading that you realize that the article was an April’s fools day prank, and Rolex does not have a smartwatch. Oh My Clock confirmed that Rolex does not have any smartwatches in its product offering but added that the watchmaker would soon have them. The author reasoned that Rolex would probably want to take advantage of the forecasted increase in demand for smartwatches to more than 109 million watches by 2023, from 69.3 million in 2019. However, you have to wonder if Rolex will ever make a smartwatch, given that so much time has passed since the introduction of the first true smartwatch in 2004. Yet, the Swiss watchmaker has not tapped into this market.
Will They Ever Make a Smartwatch?
In 2017, TechCrunch published that Rolex was fighting a losing battle with Apple because the Apple Watch had outsold the watchmaker in terms of revenue. The author, John Biggs, said that he was sure most Rolex owners still had an Apple Watch, yet only a few Apple Watch owners have a Rolex. Biggs said that if there were no smartwatches, most Apple Watch owners would stay without a watch. With such an analysis, you would think that Rolex would feel compelled to react by making smartwatches to beat the Apple Watch. However, that was four years ago, and there is no sign that Rolex is interested in going head to head with Apple.
Rolex has established itself as a status of power and elegance- one that can be relied on so much that even Wimbledon and renowned sports figures endorse it as their preferred timepiece. Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, the Vice President of the Reputation Institute, identified three areas where Rolex stands out. He said it had built a strong emotional connection over time through celebrity endorsements and sports sponsorships. Also, the company already has a perceived quality for its products in terms of watches that can withstand varied temperature ranges and water pressure. It even is recognized for its corporate social responsibility. With such a reputation to maintain, Rolex would not risk it all to pursue the smartwatch market, just because others are doing so. Remember that a Rolex watch can last forever so long as it is well maintained, while smartwatches barely last for a decade. Even if Business Insider predicted that Rolex would make up for the losses in revenue to smartwatches by venturing into non-core products, the watch manufacturer prefers retaining its reputation. Besides, it is an expert in mechanical watches; smartwatches operate like smartphones; hence, Apple and Microsoft can be comfortable making them. If Rolex decided to make a smartwatch, it might be forced to partner with a software company yet, that is not their style; they prefer making everything in-house to control the quality of their products.
You Can Turn Your Rolex into a Smartwatch
Still, if you long for a Rolex smartwatch, you can turn your mechanical one into a smartwatch. According to CNBC, the CEO of Kairos Watches, Sam Yang, wanted to give Rolex owners the privilege of transforming their watches into smartwatches by changing the band. The company made a T-band that can be attached to a mechanical watch. It enables mechanical watches to have features like push notifications for email and texts, track activities and sleep. Yang claimed the band, whose price range is between $129 and $199 based on the model, also has seven-day battery life. Sony was not left behind and came up with Wena straps in two versions. A metal Wena Wrist Pro was designed for dressier watches, while the silicone Wena Wrist Active is for fitness addicts. When the strap was launched in the market, the rollout was initially for the UK market, and the US market launch followed later. The Wena Wrist Pro can handle contactless payments and notifications synced with your smartphone. It has a heart rate tracker, GPS and is water-resistant up to 50 feet. Unfortunately, Bob’s Watches opined that both versions might not be aesthetically appealing to Rolex owners. That being said, until a Rolex smartwatch is unveiled, you will have to stick to the mechanical watch as it is or forego the aesthetics and attach a strap.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith