HP has announced the newest smartwatch in a series of collaborations with big brand names, and this one comes from Isaac Mizrahi. Like the others in the "Engineered by HP" series, this watch eschews a big color touchscreen, which we've come to consider as a standard for a smartwatch. Instead, a small screen sits just underneath the mirror-finish face, and can serve up only basic notifications from your phone.
The Isaac Mizrahi Smartwatch, as it's being called, will also do basic activity tracking. At $249, it's the cheapest in the series yet. It's available in two different Swarovski Crystal-outlined faces — one silver, one gold-tone stainless steel — and the leather strap comes in five different colors.
The new watch is unabashedly aimed at women. According to the release, the watch "infuses the classic, chunky style of a menswear analog tank watch with a touch of femininity that allows women to subtly add smart technology into their everyday looks." Previous watches in the HP series came from Movado, Michael Bastian, and Indian watchmaker Titan, and were much bigger and bolder. This is apparently HP's way of rounding out the lineup.
HP and Mizrahi aren't the first to try something like this. Intel released the MICA in 2014, and Huawei released a "smartwatch for women" at this year's CES, just to name a few. But as Racked Style Editor Nicola Fumo wrote earlier this month, women aren't buying smartwatches. A big part of the reason why is styling:
The solve for this has been smartwatches designed specifically for women, to varying degrees of offense. Resizing is the first step: a thinner strap, a smaller face, more delicate styling (though, of course, not all women have tiny wrists, the same way that not all men have big wrists). Colorways come next, trading "masculine" black, gray, or brown for "feminine" white, tan, and now-ubiquitous rose gold (seriously, ever since Apple added rose gold to their lineup in September, every damn tech company has followed suit). The final step in making wearable tech for ladies? Throw some jewels on it. Sigh.
To be fair, the smartwatch market in general is just in a weird place right now. The smartwatch's utility could either keep bleeding out, or — if they get smarter — they might finally find a way into the mainstream. Both options seem equally likely at this stage.