The Helvetica 1 is the first ever Swiss-made smartwatch launched by iconic watch brand Mondaine. It takes from the the simple design,easy-to-read face,distinctive hands seen on their classic range, with just the famous red seconds hand missing from this smart edition. The Helvetica 1 is not an Android Watch OS-powered smartwatch, but it’s smart in the sense that it’s capable of monitoring and capturing the amount of steps taken throughout the day, your sleep (length of sleep and sleep quality) and using the iOS or Android app companion called MotionX, the data is displayed on an easy to read and understandable charts.
Mondaine Helvetica 1 design:
When you see a Swiss-made watch in general, you expect simplicity, elegance and a product that feels just right in terms of weight, how it sits on the wrist and the attention to detail in every part of the watch. Mondaine have taking their classic design and made it modern without compromising their design language.
To the naked eye, the Helvetica 1 is just a watch on the wrist, but looking closely, you will see the a small dial sitting on top of the ‘6’, between 5 and 7, it’s there to indicate sleep mode and percentage of steps completed, depending on your set goals. You will also see the signature branding on the top right side of the screen too. To keep your watch looking fresh, Mondaine have used an anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal glass which is refreshing, as it makes it easy to read the time in all lighting conditions, easy to clean ( should you end up with fingerprints all over it) and safe to say it won’t just smash if you accidentally bump it against a hard surface – did I forget to mention it’s also water resistant for up to 30 meters?
The entire body is crafted in stainless steel with brushed IP gold plated finishing and that goes underneath it too with fixed screwed back. On the right side, there’s a stainless steel brushed crown that acts as a button for activating sleep mode and connection to your device for synchronizing data. For those thinking about whether it will go well on a small or big wrist, the case size is about 44 mm in diameter with a 20mm genuine leather strap – my wrist is medium sized and it sits on it nicely with no issues.
Mondaine Helvetica 1 Functionality and performance:
The Helvetica 1 is not Android powered, so the functions are quite limited but, in fact rather than seeing it as a limited product in terms of functionality, it’s more of a simplicity thing. For me, it’s more for Mondaine to ensure its fan base won’t go elsewhere because they want smart features like counting steps and sleep monitoring. The steps counter will also calculate calories burnt to allow you to see how you’re progressing in terms of staying fit.
Motion X is the accompanying app, free to download and easy to use. Connecting your smartphone with the Helvetica 1 is very straight forward and took less than three minutes to get going. One really good thing I like about the process is how it’s not constantly connected or automatically syncing throughout the day, which would drain your smartphone battery – you will have to sync it manually and even when I downloaded a week’s worth of data, it was very quick.
The elephant in the room here is data accuracy. It’s all well and good that you can see steps, sleep and calories data, but how accurate was it? The Helvetica 1 performed very well and when compared to know devices in the health and fitness arena like Fitbit and Basis peak, the data were very similar. My only qualms is that you still have to tell the Helvetica 1 that you are about to sleep in order to collect sleep data, although what Modaine have done here is made it easy to put it into sleep tracking mode, but simply using the crown push feature.
Battery life is no issue at all for the Helvetica 1. Mondaine said you can expect your watch to last two years before you have to get the battery changed. That is not something we can review here, but if true then that’s good news – as it’s now 2016, you may not even need one by 2018.
Motion X in more detail:
I tested the Helveta 1 Motion X app on the iPhone 6S Plus so I hope the experience is similar for the Android users. The first thing you see when you open it up is the very simple interface which offers your activity, sleep and coach measurements, all reported in percentage format to give a quick overview of how well you’re performing.
Tapping on each options at the bottom of the screen will give you more detail into how you performed, so for example, tapping on activity will give you the option to swipe in order to reveal each day and at the bottom, you’ll see how many steps taking, active time, distance in kilometers, total calories, step calories and rest calories. Tapping on sleep will reveal more information on deep sleep, light sleep, awake time, total sleep time, time you fell asleep and woke up. The coach section is meant to bring everything together for analysis, so you can sort of see how your steps correlates with your calories and sleep – you can view it on daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Overall the app is very simple to use, it’s responsive, you can change your watch settings and set alarms withing minutes. In the settings area, you can also record a powernap to ensure you don’t miss any data, although most of the time, powernaps will happen unplanned. I also like the active alarm to help you stay active and not spend your day sat in front of a computer with no activity or exercise.
In conclusion, the Helvetica performed really well and does exactly what it says on the tin. If you are looking for some sort of hardcore fitness training device, this one is not for you, but if you need something that is stylish, elegant but still offer the basic fitness features, this is definitely one to consider. It’s very expensive in the £600 plus bracket, but you are also buying into a brand, a very brand with years of watch making history and did I mention that it’s Swiss made?