Google Announces Android Wear Project – Information that Moves You

Google announced on its Official Blog March 18, 2014 that it is moving to launch Android Wear, a smart wearable project that extends the Android OS from smart phones to consumers wrists via their smart watches. (Click picture to the left to discover the Android Wear experience)

Per Google’s Official Blog The Android Wear Project outlines an emerging generation of wearable smart technology possessing a User Interface (UI)  that interacts with the smart watch wearer via a mere glance or spoken word.

Google has taken the pun “Google it” and essentially animated it using its expansive catalogue of Android OS apps, providing smart watch wearers with the ability to literally speak to Google using the spoken command, “Ok Google”. This audio capability adds yet another technical echelon in the development of wearable smart watches and/or devices UI.

Of course Android Wear apps will provide the same functionality that current smart watches (Pebble, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony) on the market perform: making and receiving calls, sending texts, performing searches and providing information of all kinds. However, Android Wear broadens this functionality by offering the ability to access and control other smart devices with communication features that enable the smart devices to transition seamlessly amongst themselves providing:

  • Useful information when you need it most.
  • Straight answers to spoken questions.
  • The ability to better monitor your health and fitness.
  • Your key to a multi-screen world.

Google is already working with Asus, Fossil, HTC and LG to market wearable smart watches powered by Android Wear to be available for retail later this year. Google is also making Android Wear and its resources available to developers granting them the ability to both tailor and create new Android Wear apps.

With a wealth of brilliant developers accessing and creating Android Wear apps, the next phase for its user interface appears to be that of artificial intelligence, inevitably evolving wearable smart technology for future emerging markets. It would also retranslate how information is received and transmitted when interacting with artificial intelligent wearable technology.

Google is certainly changing the interactive face of time and the manner in which we will interact with it. More so interesting is what will evolve as different developers begin experimenting with Android Wear to create apps that meeet the diverse needs of their brand’s smart wearable watches and devices.

Urwerk Shines with the UR-110 TTH and the UR-110 ST

The UR-110 Collection from Urwerk was a mechanical masterpiece from the beginning. But now, the distinct glamour of the UR-110 TTH and UR-110 ST will have watch aficionados drooling!

The Urwerk UR-110 is a fascinating timepiece. The means in which it indicates time is by the use of a revolving satellite complication on planetary gears that feature three parallel hour modules that appear to be arrow-shaped torpedoes. The actual time display occurs on the right side of the watch where the minutes are displayed from 0 to 60 in a downward arc. The rotating modules follow this line to constantly display the time. This is an ingenious complication which allows the wearer to glimpse the time by just barely pulling up on a cuff or long sleeve.

The complication of the UR-110 posed some interesting challenges for Urwerk. The watch does not support ball bearings. Instead, a fixed axis runs through the full altitude of the timepiece, thus allowing the complication to be perfectly balanced on the axis. This is a major mechanical achievement.

The dial of the UR-110 also sports a “Control Board” on the left side which displays indicators for Day and Night and whether the watch is due for an “oil change.” The oil change is akin to a service interval display, similar to a vehicle. A small seconds display is also featured on a sub dial. Turn the case over and you will find the automatic winding system which is enclosed and controlled by dual turbines.

 

The UR-110 TTH has taken the masterpiece a step further. The bezel is crafted in tantalum which is a hard and dense metal known for its resistance to corrosion. TTH stands for “Tantalum Hull.” This metal provides a pleasing bluish-gray shade to the bezel, while sand-blasting and satin-finishing helped to enhance its final presentation. Urwerk also upgraded the strength of the panoramic sapphire crystal.

The brother of the UR-110 TTH, the UR-110 ST is similar in shape and mechanical design but the bezel is another story. The satin finish of the bezel has been replaced by an ALTiN-treated grooved steel surface. Urwerk describes the watch by a famous quote from the poet Paul Claudel, “Sculpture is the need to touch.” With the UR-110 ST, the sensorial experience is what Urwerk wished the owner to encounter.

The Urwerk UR-110 Collection is truly a work of engineering ingenuity. The UR-110 TTH and the UR-110 ST have only confirmed what we already knew – Urwerk has the creativity, skill, and world-renowned reputation that will continue to keep them in the forefront of haute horlogerie.

Fondation Cartier: Where Math Meets Modern Art

Cartier is known partout dans le monde for it’s fantastic (and fantastically expensive) jewelry; it is fairly common knowledge among horological enthusiasts that Louis Cartier’s beloved square design was inspired by the military vehicle known as the tank; a few are even aware that the company contributed significantly to the popularization of the wristwatch in the early 1900s when they created a watch (the Santos) for a pioneering Brazilian aviator named Alberto Santos-Dumas. But did you know that the company is also a devoted and effective champion of the modern arts?

Originally conceived in 1984, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (Cartier Foundation for Modern Art) was intended to promote modern art and serve as an expression of Cartier’s commitment to supporting and sponsoring the contemporary arts. After ten years near Versailles in France, the Fondation Cartier moved into a beautiful new building designed by Jean Nouvel in Paris, an inspiring work of modern art itself.

 

Over the years, Fondation Cartier has played host to (and commissioned works by) such artists as renaissance artist and American pop culture icon Patti Smith, French comic strip creator Jean Giraud, Japanese animator Tabaimo, fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, painter Bernard Piffarretti, sculptress Sarah Sze and filmmaker Raymond Depardon. They have also dedicated entire exhibitions to ideas and movements, inviting artists to contribute to an overall theme. Graffiti, the desert, rock and roll, virgin lands and humanity’s relationship to the world have all been motifs explored and celebrated by the foundation over the last 18 years. Their current exhibition ends in March and is an in-depth look at the intersections of art and mathematics, two ostensibly unrelated subjects until one looks a little deeper.

“Mathmatics, A Beautiful Elsewhere,” is the result of the cooperative efforts of artists with eminent scientists and mathematicians such as Giancarlo Lucchini, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Misha Gromov and Nicole El Karoui. Representative of various disciplines – differential geometry, number theory, probability and partial differential equations, to name a few – the nine artists chosen to take part were picked due to their “exceptional ability to listen, as well as for their great sense of curiosity and wonder,” according to Fondation Cartier. Their goal: to turn abstract mathematical thinking into an experience affecting all five senses. Among the artists chosen were the multi-talented Michael Alberolba and Tadanori Yokoo, the painter Beatriz Milhazes and American icon David Lynch.

Fondation Cartier: Mathematics Exhibit Image

 

In addition to the ongoing exhibition, Fondation Cartier also offers a series of evening events called “Nights of Uncertainty,” in which some of the more provocative linkages between math and art are explored further through activities and discussion. The first four of these have already occurred, unfortunately, but the final event – “The Big Night” – will be March 15 at 8:30PM. Hosted by Jean-Pierre Luminet and Etienne Klein, among others, the evening will focus on “cosmo-theological uncertainty,” the number zero and the “absolute origin of everything.”

The exhibition closes on March 18. If you’re in or around Paris between now and then, it may be worth your time to head down to 261 Bvd Raspail and check out the Cartier monument to modern art and it’s homage to mathematics.

Rolex’s “Oyster”: Changing the Way we Use Watches

Rolex is a Swiss watch making manufacturer of high-quality, luxury watches. Rolex produces about 2,000 watches per day, with estimated revenues of around three billion dollars. Rolex watches are most popularly regarded as status symbols.“Oyster” was the first waterproof wristwatch by Rolex. This innovation was a huge success for the company in 1926.

The first Rolex Oyster Watch.

Oyster’s case was hermetically sealed which allowed for it to have the utmost protection. Mercedes Gleitze, a young English swimmer, swam across the English Channel wearing the Oyster. The swim lasted over ten hours and the watch remained in perfect working order when Mercedes was finished her swim.

Some of Rolex’s other innovations are the production of the first wristwatch with an automatically changing day and date on the dial, the first wristwatch case waterproof to a hundred meters, and the first wristwatch to show two time zones at once.

The origins of Rolex date back to the early 20th century with creative thinker Hans Wilsdorf at its side. When Hans entered the world of watch making, the pocket watch was the call of the day. Hans only dreamed of a watch that could be worn on one’s wrist, and he did everything in his power to make this dream of a wristwatch come true.

Rolex’s cutting-edge technology and extensive expertise make each individual watch a masterpiece in itself. Each watch undergoes rigorous examination and testing before being sold to the general public.

It is not just a single craftsman that takes credit for the production of a successful Rolex watch. Watchmakers, designers, gem-setters and chemists all contribute to a watch’s success. Every watch begins with an intricate sketch by an artist to what they want the watch to look like and it ends with putting the lid over the face of the watch; something that Rolex would not be able to do single handedly.

The Rolex DateJust Lady watch in gold.

The collection “DateJust” by Rolex is “the ultimate reference chosen by those who believe in timeless elegance,” according to Rolex.com. These watches are beautiful in design and invention, with silver links and a silver face. It even shows the date on the front of the watch! There are not only two hands, but also a third red hand for telling time.

For women, Rolex has created the “DateJust Lady 31” collection, 31 standing for mm size. The website describes it as “a unique combination of robust steel and dazzling yellow gold.” One particular model is lined around the face with diamonds, and what woman wouldn’t want that!

Zodiac, Breitling, Emporio Up to Specs at an Array of Prices

By: Alexis Poole

Zodiac is a brand that many adventurists hold in high regard. Similar to Breitling, Zodiac embodies the features anyone rugged would find useful in a watch. With price points at an attainable $700-900, Zodiac watches are the best choice for timepieces that can survive just about anything.

Zodiac collections
Faces of Zodiac’s Collection of Rugged Watches

 

The popular Racer collection of Swiss-made Zodiac watches features a variety of chronographs with exposed lugs, oversized faces, and stopwatch pushers that resemble the pedals of a car. Popular in racing circuits, the Zodiac Racer offers 7 different styles of ion-plated grey, black or silver stainless steel and titanium cases contained by either rubber or stainless steel wrist bands.

Made with similar materials, rugged styling, and with surprisingly fewer standard features, the Breitling Colt Chronograph (below, right) and the Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Chronograph range from $3850-$5650. Neither Brietling uses titanium or any precious metal and neither chronographs are standard so if you find those features useful for whatever you do, you’d have to pay extra for it.

(L) Breitling Colt Chronographe; SuperOcean Heritage Chronograph

 

Zodiac’s Special Ops collection has illuminating LED backlight around the dial and behind each accent so you can even see your watch in the dark, perfect for those Swiss-timed stealth missions. Besides the price, the only stark difference between the Zodiac and the Breitling is certification. Breitling’s self-winding movement is officially chronometer-certified by the COSC, which is the French acronym for the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. Breitling is also water-resistant up to 660 feet. Zodiac’s Diver collection features 16 styles that all get 20 ATM or better.

Now if you’re after something a bit more stylish, Emporio Armani timepieces offer the name brand, some decent features all at a price below Zodiac. The Emporio Armani Sportivo watch offers 20 different styles ranging from ion-plated stainless steel to an array of colors matched with silicone or steel bands. Two silicone-banded models are water-resistant up to 20 ATM–yes, the same 660 feet Breitlings get. From $300-475 the Sportivo Emporio Armani watches rely more on the brand’s namesake than anything else and is more fashion-focused. While the silicone bands and designs are sports-inspired, the Sportivo line only offers two models that have water-resistance that many adventurists look for and none of them have chronographs.

Emporio Armani Sportivo
Sportivo handles 660 feet depth and flaunts the Armani label too.

Of the three sports watches, Zodiac combines fashion and function with chronographs fitted with unique pushers, LED backlighting, rugged appeal and a water resistance that can take you beyond all human limits. The Breitling does the same thing, but is water resistant up to 660 feet and is COSC-certified. But all that comes at a hefty $5000 price tag and again, you’ll have to pay extra for the chronograph that comes on all but a few Zodiacs. COSC-certified or not, the Swiss-made Zodiac is the best buy that boasts it’s own unique style and rugged construction that can take it as you take on the elements.