The Omate Rise: A Smartwatch for Car People

This smartwatch is gaining a lot of buzz because it looks like, well, a watch.

It won’t be live on Indiegogo until December 7th, but the Omate Rise is already catching a lot of attention on the Interwebs. Why? It packs a ton of tech and will sell for only $199 at launch. (You can queue up for the campaign by giving Omate your email here.) That, and it’s subtle.

Omate (pronounced O-Mayte), one of first brands to debut a 3G-capable Smartwatch, gives two reasons for going the Indiegogo route. First, they want to raise enough funds to build a carbon fiber bezel for the Rise. Second: a low-price, 3G-enabled, Wi-Fi ready smartwatch is an internet cannonball, and Omate wanted to maximize the splash. When the Rise goes on sale for the masses in March, the price will rise to $349.

Still, the main attraction isn’t just that you can get calls and texts independent of your phone, or that the smartwatch is good to 10 meters underwater. It’s not even the bevy of gyros and accelerometers, and a GPS to enable phone-free workout tracking. (The latter remains unavailable on the Apple Watch.)

Those guts are great, but the primary draw is superficial: The Rise looks like a watch. Yes, a watch, not a chunk of wiring harness that fell off an Olds Cutlass, an unfortunate norm for “wearable” tech. It’s low-key, not a Silicon Valley class signifier.

We need our smartwatches to be smart, but we want them to look like analog timepieces. The Rise may not be Tag Heuer deluxe, but it’s also a lot cheaper than Tag’s $1,500 chunk of smart man-jewelry. Is the Omate Rise a Timex for the connected car guy? Sounds right.