Swatch Touch watches are on the way. Swatch (branded) is one of the last big companies to give in to digital. Now they’re leap-frogging past button operation affirming the validity of the touch screen functionality of digital timepieces in today’s market. Kenneth Cole and Freestyle touch screen watches have been available for a while now and are reported on in this post; mostly because they are mature products and represent good value at their current price. Several of the Kenneth Cole models no longer appear in their current catalog, but this blogger has no reservations about recommending them since they come with the best warranty in the industry; limited lifetime guarantee, free battery replacement and even a free tuneup.
* Best buy recommendation: while they last, the Kenneth Cole model KC6927 at $64.99, marked down from $175, is an amazing value. It is well appointed with a large negative teal readout, world time, chronograph, alarm, countdown timer, back-light, polished black IP stainless steel case and adjustable push-button clasp bracelet, mineral crystal and is water resistance rated to 99 feet. Check out this deal on amazon.com
Ease of operation is a key feature with all these watches. Unlike some of the newer generation touch timepiece devices (iPod & Mutewatch) that emulate smart phones and pad computers (with swipe, push and pinch control), the watches discussed here have specific tap zones on the dial’s edge (swatch is at the bottom of the dial) replacing physical buttons that would otherwise protrude from the left and right sides of the case.
“Swatch Touch 2011 models give touch-screen access to six digital functions: time (2 zones, t1 & t2), date, chrono, alarm, timer and beep. Users sweep through the functions with ease using finger-taps and sideways scrolls—no push-buttons—and can activate the screen’s built-in back-light to assure readability under all conditions. Revealing Swiss-made quality throughout, Swatch Touch’s 2011 curved plastic glass display and colored LCD present Arabic numerals in a big, stylish font designed to fit the shape of the watch. Ergonomic in every detail, the smooth integration of the watch head and strap makes Swatch Touch 2011 a real pleasure to wear.” says the amazon.com product description. The video (above) gives us a look that we can’t really get from the promotional pictures. (UPDATE: August 2012 – Swatch has expanded the colorway options for their Touch watches, as shown below)
“The Freestyle Response Touch Screen watch sports innovative Digi-Touch technology that lets you access and operate functions with a simple tap of the screen. Easy-to-view touch screen displays time, day and date. Advanced features include 32-city world time and chronograph. “Hydro Pushers” buttons can be pushed while submerged underwater without leaking. Durable polyurethane strap features proprietary Free Fit system, allowing the buckle tongue to insert at any point along the band for a perfect fit. The Freestyle Response Touch Screen watch is water-resistant to 100m.” describes amazon.com.
Tissot, whose numerous incredible touch screen models we really like, is covered elsewhere in this blog. Other touch screen entries are not covered in this article. The Fossil Abacus is a great idea, a PDA with USB connection and Palm OS, but it moves to the “don’t buy” column because it’s clunky huge, heavy, not water resistant, expensive and needs to be re-charged daily. Sony/Erickson offers a blueray-touch module that hints at what we’ll see in the next generation of wrist gadgetry – (which in this case is) an ancillary extension to your Android smart phone. It is not getting the accolades from it’s disappointed owners, however, that we need to recommend it here. Instead, we advise waiting for the next wave of technology to emerge. Similarly, watch phones from the Orient and the UK need to be more advanced, Americanized and supported by our big service providers before we review and endorse them here. The Apple IPod Nano can be worn on the wrist as a very capable watch but is somewhat impractical because it has to be charged so often.
Timex has a technology they call “TapScreen” which they incorporate into their Ironman line. The touch (tap)feature is primarily an information retrieval switch specific to laps and is therefore. primarily.of interest only to runners . The Ironman products will be the subject of a future in-depth review in this blog.