When you hear the term “hybrid smartwatch”, what is it you think of? Most likely, you’re picturing a watch that has an analog display (for reading the time) along with a (usually) smaller LCD for giving you some notifications. Well, that’s sort of what we have here with the Leitners Ad Maiora – but not exactly.
First off, let’s talk screen, as there is indeed a screen. In fact, the whole of the dial is the screen, albeit one made of eInk. This has the decided advantage of being very friendly to battery life, and manages to give you the look of a plain dial (should you want that). So, that’s a cool path to take, especially if you’re looking to track slowly changing things, such as your upcoming calendar for the day.
That’s not all there is to this hybrid. You see, the Leitners Ad Maiora also manages to have an automatic mechanical movement (a Miyota 9039) tucked inside, so you really are getting the “best of both worlds”. The potential fly in the ointment here is the inductive charging for the smarts of the watch. They claim to have this setup and isolated so you’re not throwing the timing off of the movement, but it’s something I’d want to keep an eye on.
In terms of smartwatch capabilities, the Leitners Ad Maiora offers quite a bit:
You will be able to connect with your phone via Bluetooth, control camera and music player, track your physical activities, receive notifications including GPS tracking and barometer, measure your heart rate with the estimation of blood oxygen levels, and much more. Control buttons will make the use easy and quick.
The heart rate bit is curious. There’s no obvious spot for an optical heart rate monitor (especially with an exhibition caseback for the mechanical movement), so perhaps that’s intended to be used with an external HR strap? And then, for exercise, you generally have that updating much more quickly than an eInk display would be flipping around. Still, if that’s the capabilities, you could leverage as much (or as little) as you want, and still have the look of a standard watch.
One other note – the Leitners Ad Maiora is reliant on it’s own operating system, and will have it’s own companion app for your phone (Android or iOS). This is potentially a lot of a new brand to bite off, and we’ll have to see what the long-term support is for the device. Then again, even if it craps out, the watch itself will still keep working away, so that’s good – you don’t need to worry about the battery running out, at the very least.
The campaign for the Leitners Ad Maiora is running right now on Kickstarter, with earlybird pricing starting at $558 for the watch (about a 50% discount on MSRP), with delivery anticipated for August 2021. While I appreciate the effort here (particularly in merging smarts with a mechanical movement), I still have not found a good use case for me to want to add a smartwatch into my own rotation. If you dig it, though, I say enjoy it and use the snot out of it. You can check out all the details – and get your pledge in – before the campaign closes out on December 4. campaign page