Around 2010 I was invited to a friend’s surprise 40th birthday party in Essen, Germany. The actual night was a roaring success and still is an unforgettable memory. Whilst there, I got the opportunity to visit the Red Dot exhibition. The museum is housed in a historic red brick building that is a labyrinth of hidden treasures. To win a red dot award is the design equivalent of an Oscar. That’s why brands spend millions on research and development to achieve this type of recognition. Even more prestigious is the ‘Best of the Best’ award, which Apple won in 2015 for the first incarnation of their smartwatch. Here’s the jury statement: “The Apple Watch convinces with a new concept of a timepiece that distinguishes itself fundamentally from other smartwatches. Fascinatingly it bridges the gap between the worlds of digital computers and traditional watch design. With its perfect design down to the last detail, the watch delivers a high degree of precision and the experience of an innovative interface that offers users a myriad of different customisable configurations”
I’ve always been a devout admirer of Apple and have purchased many of its products over the years. As a die-hard mechanical watch fanatic, I have never been tempted to purchase a smartwatch. I love the minimalistic façade of the Apple watch and can appreciate why it was awarded the ‘Best of the Best by Red Dot. However, I always felt the dimensions were too small for a design this sophisticated. For that reason, I was delighted to hear the tech giant had just released a supersized version called the Ultra Watch. This piece of wrist art is an industrial designer’s dream.
About 11 years ago high-end watchmaker HD3 unveiled a wonderfully designed (Fabrice Gonet and Jörg Hysek) watch called the Slyde. This timepiece was well ahead of its time and had some exceptional digital interfaces. However, with a starting price tag of $6,895 and additional costs for downloads the brand’s success was short-lived. This model was also limited by the technology of the time and couldn’t be connected to external devices. I believe the Apple Ultra is aesthetically appealing as the Slyde, and much more affordable ($799). Personally, I would like to see some more sophisticated three-dimensional engines but am sure that will come in time.
If you are in the market for a Smartwatch I can’t recommend a better alternative than the Apple Ultra. I love the design of the original Apple Watch and its curvaceous silhouette. However, in my opinion, it does look generic compared to this premium version which has a bolder identity. The Ultra watch also features a larger sapphire crystal screen (On Retina display is 2,000 nits at its peak) which is twice as bright. Other improvements include a state-of-the-art GPS, a re-imagined compass and an 86-decibel Siren to name just a few. This is the ultimate action watch that is housed in a beautifully crafted 49mm titanium case.
Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to test the Apple Watch Ultra extensively over the last few weeks. I live a very active life that includes daily gym sessions, tennis practice and matches. This device is like wearing a portable computer on your wrist. It’s very easy to synchronise with your iPhone enabling phone calls, emails texts etc. With the inclusion of visible pushers including a crown-style button, the Ultra resembles a conventional watch. This is an inspired touch by Apple because it broadens the overall appeal. It is important to note these buttons also make it easier to navigate through the menu under any conditions. As a perfect final touch, my review watch is presented on a high-performance elastomer yellow ‘Ocean Band’ which has a really cool tubular geometric aesthetic.
For comprehensive specifications about the Apple Ultra Watch follow this link