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Is the Kairos smartwatch too good to be true?

Is the Kairos smartwatch too good to be true?


A mechanical wristwatch and a full-color digital display in a single device

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This doesn't look real. And right now, it isn't — but a startup named Kairos claims that it will be shipping the first versions of its stunning mechanical-digital hybrid smartwatch in December of this year. If that actually happens, it could dramatically close the gap between the two oft-opposed forces — tech and fashion — that are driving the market for wristwatches today.

The Kairos MSW and SSW models combine actual self-winding watch movements (Japanese on one model, Swiss on the other) with a transparent color OLED display to give you a "real" watch when you just want a fashion statement with full-on smartwatch capability — notifications, fitness tracking, and so on — when you need it.


Considering the vast gulf between today's smartwatches and what Kairos is proposing, skepticism is fair: this would be a difficult watch for a giant like Citizen or Seiko to pull off, much less a startup. Pre-orders range between $499 and $1,199 and are non-refundable unless there's a defect in the watch you actually receive — in other words, caveat emptor — but this is a product that both watch enthusiasts and would-be Moto 360 buyers will want to keep an eye on over the coming months.