Frank Nuovo, the pioneering Nokia industrial designer that founded luxury phone brand Vertu, is working on a smartwatch. Quartz reports that MetaWatch will release the product in the first quarter of next year; it'll feature upgrades to the display and operating system seen on earlier watches from the company.

"To me it’s about crafting beautiful products."

Although there are next to no details yet, Nuovo's involvement suggests that MetaWatch is looking to focus on the areas of the wristwatch market so far underserved by the likes of the Pebble. "To me it’s about crafting beautiful products," says CEO Bill Geiser. "That’s a word you rarely hear in the smartwatch arena — the word 'beautiful.'"

"Together we will launch a series of new creations for this emerging experience, marrying the passion and artisanal aspects of the traditional watch market with the benefits of state-of-the-art, wireless, multipart functionality," said Nuovo upon the partnership's original announcement in February of this year. "Our mass market to luxury and first-hand experiences will bring the highest level of understanding to what is arguably the next big opportunity in the world of mobile lifestyle products."

MetaWatch has made nods to design in the past, such as a limited edition Strata watch featuring graphics from former Apple iconographer Susan Kare, but its products to date are far from the finished article. Vertu, meanwhile, is largely known for its "premium" phones featuring expensive materialsoutdated specs, and astronomical prices.