The market for wearable tech shows no signs of relenting. And while many are still scrambling to catch the smartwatch wave, one budding startup has been making considerable inroads at delivering a product that doesn’t sacrifice aesthetic appeal at the expense of innovation. Established in Seoul and based in Hong Kong, Kairos is instead positioning itself as a “mechanical watch smartwatch hybrid.”
Founder and Managing Director Sam Yang refers to his patented technology as “a combination of a traditional analog watch and a smartwatch rolled into one.” The 34-year-old Korean-Canadian has found a way of synergizing smart technology and classic watchmaking, keeping both equally relevant. He believes watch enthusiasts can have both. And he’s well on his way to convincing the majority of the titans in the watchmaking industry that classic watches can be technologically advanced while retaining their classic edge.
“The idea came about several years ago, largely driven by my passion for watchmaking,” Yang says. “I often wondered how premium watch brands like Rolex or Audemar Piguet would ever go about making a smartwatch. I tried to follow that idea throughout the design process, incorporating smartwatch technology into a mechanical watch without deviating from its analog make up.”
By creating a way for top watch brands to evolve with smartwatch technology without losing any of their unique attributes and craftsmanship presents an enormous opportunity in the watchmaking industry. And the interest Yang has experienced thus far shows no signs of abating. In just over a year, Kairos raised $2 million in pre-orders, a further $2 million from investors, and currently boasts a $45 million valuation. Japan is their biggest market, followed by Russia and Switzerland.
Kairos is now seeking another $8 million to grow and expand globally. They are already on track to meet pre-orders batch but are seeking investors to continue production. Prices range from $1,190 for the Japanese Miyota movement with icon screen, and $2,549 for the Swiss movement in gold.
The full article appears on Forbes and can be viewed here.
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