LG is getting into the luxury smartwatch business with the LG Watch Urbane Luxe, which it will release in October as a limited-edition premium timepiece that will be limited to 500 copies.
The 23-karat gold Watch Urbane Luxe, which will sport a watchband made from alligator hides, will be sold through Reeds Jewelers in the United States initially for $1,195. Preorders are being taken through the Reeds Website, with shipping expected in late October, according to LG.
The Watch Urbane Luxe also will include an exclusive piano-gloss lacquer case and a special "deployment clasp" invented by Louis Cartier in 1910 that provides a fitted, elegant look that isn't bulky, according to LG. The handcrafted alligator watchband undergoes 50 separate steps in its creation by some 30 experienced leatherworkers.
"Wearable devices shouldn't be thought of as an extension of one's smartphone but an extension of oneself," Chris Yie, vice president and head of marketing communications for LG Mobile Communications, said in a statement. "This blending of craftsmanship and technology is a natural evolution of the smartwatch, which is becoming more of a lifestyle accessory than a piece of hardware. We think this is a good direction for wearables and we want to encourage this transformation."
Each LG Watch Urbane Luxe will be engraved with its own serial number for authenticity and exclusivity.
Complete technical details about the new timepiece, including its processor, RAM, screen specifications and more, have not yet been announced by LG.
The original LG Urbane smartwatch, which was built with an all-metal body and a leather wristband, went on sale in the United States in May for $349, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The LG Watch Urbane features a classic round watch face that's aimed at fashion-conscious luxury goods buyers and joined a smartwatch marketplace that just saw the entry of the Apple Watch in April. The LG watch includes the same 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display that appeared on LG's G Watch R smartwatch in September 2014, but it has a narrower bezel with sleeker lines. The Urbane is aimed at wearers who are seeking a more formal device, compared with the LG G Watch R, which is aimed at more active users.
The original Urbane has a stainless steel body that is available in a polished silver or gold finish, as well as a stitched natural leather strap that can be swapped out for any 22mm watchband, giving users a lot of styling choices. The watch is designed and styled for use by both men and women.
The original LG Watch Urbane also includes a touch-based user interface that is compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above, as well as a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor that can measure a wearer's heart rate and average pulse during exercise. Also included is an "Always-On" ambient display mode that shows the time on the display at all times in dimmed mode, conserving battery life.
The LG Watch Urbane includes a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of LPDDR2 memory, 4GB of eMMC storage and a 410mAh battery. The watch, which also includes a 9-axis gyro/accelerometer/compass sensor and barometer, meets IP67 dust and water resistance standards.
The LG Watch Urbane Luxe joins a growing crowd of luxury-aimed smartwatches in the marketplace. The MB Chronowing smartwatch, which was engineered by Hewlett-Packard and styled by fashion designer Michael Bastian, debuted in November 2014 in two versions—a standard device priced at $349 and a more luxurious, limited-edited version for $649. The MB Chronowing smartwatches bring elegant design, luxury materials and modern electronics to the world of smartwatches.
Last November, Samsung unveiled its curved Gear S smartwatch, while Fitbit unveiled its then-new Surge smartwatch, which was that company's first venture into the dedicated smartwatch marketplace, bringing Fitbit into more direct competition against companies such as Apple, Samsung, Sony and LG.
Android smartwatches today can only be used in conjunction with an Android smartphone, but that could change in the future as Google continues to develop an Android Wear app that would allow an Android smartwatch to work with an iPhone.