If you’ve ever seen a cycling race, you’ll know that leading from the front isn’t always a great idea. The front runner has to cut a path through the wind and expend much more energy than the savvy followers behind him. The same is true for tech companies looking to establish new product categories — being first at something often means being first to make the big mistakes.

Samsung has reaped the benefits of the wily follower strategy by sitting in Apple’s slipstream and emulating the California giant’s designs, but it has taken a few calculated risks along the way as well. Two years ago, the Galaxy Note single-handedly carved out a new market for stylus-centric tablets, last year Samsung debuted the unprecedented Galaxy Camera, and this year the company is keeping momentum going with the highly anticipated Galaxy Gear.

Efforts at building a truly compelling smartwatch have been going on for years, including one attempt from Samsung itself, but no one has yet managed to turn that appealing idea into a commercial success. Now Samsung is ready to answer the call for a true trailblazer — and it’s doing so with a nonchalant flick of the wrist.

Before you even start thinking about owning the $299 Galaxy Gear, you should know that at launch time it’s only compatible with two devices — the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 2014 Edition — which it is being released alongside. For reasons that quickly become clear as you use it, the Gear is heavily dependent on a connected device for its functionality.