on Nov 19 2016
The world’s thinnest wearable, Chronos comes in at under 3mm thin, so it doesn't interfere with the design or feel of the watch while it tracks your fitness metrics.
Micro-suction technology attaches and detaches to 80% of current watch designs. That means no sticky adhesives, no residues, and no magnets.
Control phone with taps and gestures that silence calls, skip music tracks, and more. User customize Chronos so they're only notified by the things they care about.
Customer surveys reveal that most consumers just don’t like the look of current smartwatch / fitness wearables. Any wearable is effectively a piece of jewelry and if it doesn’t look good, only fitness fanatics will wear it regularly. Just like a watch, necklace, or any piece of clothing - wearables are an expression of the customer’s style.
Chronos is solving that problem. We’re enabling anyone to track all the fitness metrics of our competitors, as well as being able to receive unique, personalized notifications, while preserving their own sense of style. Chronos makes you healthier, educates you about your health, and allows you to keep your phone hidden away in your pocket. Chronos is invisible, nobody knows you’re even tracking your health or silencing a phone call. This is how wearables should be - personal.
We’ve spent the last year and half honing our feature set and have distilled it down to three things. 1/ Fitness tracking – counting steps and measuring general daily activity. 2/ Notification filter for your smart devices – users can set the device to only bother them for critical interruptions like Mom calling, an email from the boss, an upcoming appointment, etc. 3/ Chronos is ultimately an invisible device that enables control of your phone from any watch. Chronos has as much phone control as all the latest smart devices. You can tap your watch to silence a call, you can skip to the next song, snap a photo from a distance – all from the face of your favorite time piece.
The biggest thing we’ve left out is a heart rate monitor. Tracking heart rate takes a lot of processing and battery power – for little benefit. During our design process we surveyed 1,000 people about what they wanted from a smart wearable. None of them had a good answer for why they wanted a heart rate monitor.
While most consumers will say they want a heart rate monitor, there is little you can do with the number. Granted it may be cool to watch your heart tick but we’re trying to keep Chronos as minimal as possible. HR is in our product roadmap but we’ve chosen to sacrifice HR for a slimmer, less intrusive v1 product with longer battery life.
What we wear is a reflection of who we are – personal style is important for everyone and the more unique the better. Wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbit all look the same. There’s no expression of personal style, and they often come with negative stereotypes like ‘techie’. If all the benefits of the Apple Watch were baked into a single T-shirt design, nobody would wear it because they don’t want to look the same as everyone else.
Wearable haven’t been widely adopted because we can’t wear them as a reflection of who we are. With watches there are thousands of choices from Rolex to Timex with every color and pattern imaginable - and Chronos works with almost all of them. Chronos is the first wearable that lets users express exactly who they are.
We fit over 80% of watches sold today and every watch on the top 20 best seller list.
We have one size: 33 millimeters in diameter (just over 1 inch). Watches are trending bigger and bigger these days - 42 millimeters is the average for men while women’s watches average 38mm. Also, we’ve designed Chronos to make sure it fits on the best selling watch in the world, the women’s Michael Kors watch. The only watches we don’t yet fit are the ultra small timepieces, which we’ll adapt to with V2.
Our direct competition is the current smartwatch and wearables market: Apple, Fitbit, Pebble, etc.
Yet our addressable market is actually much larger than theirs. 55% of Americans already wear a traditional watch every single day. To add a smart device, they can either swap out their highly personal timepiece for a commonplace Apple Watch or wear two devices on their wrist (personal watch + Fitbit). With Chronos consumers can wear one item – their favorite watch. They can also swap our tiny disc between watches if they have multiple timepieces.
Established watch companies need a way to compete with Apple and Pebble. They love Chronos because we turn any of their products into smart devices. Their customers will become our customers and the watch market is huge.
The watch industry is enormous. 2014 was record setting - 1.2 Billion watches were sold last year (that’s more than cell phones) and sales are up even more in 2015 despite the Apple Watch release.
The watch industry is a lion, it’s a growing industry that’s got a lot of amazing metrics, internationally and domestically. By comparison current wearables sales is like a fast growing kitten - expected to sell 45 million units this year. The vast majority of that is fitness trackers, while Apple has pushed less than 10 million watches.
A few companies have attempted to build an attachable smart device similar to Chronos. However, they all dramatically change the look and feel of your timepiece. Nobody has built an attachable device in as discreet a way as we can.
There are a few established watch companies that have tried to integrate ‘smart’ tech into their own watches. Fossil - at the lower end of the market - just bought a fitness tracker company called Misfit and has plans to integrate the tech into a few new watches. High end players like Montblanc have also tried their hand at smartwatches. They built a small screen into their classic watch strap, but reviews suggest the Bluetooth connection is spotty and more often than not just doesn’t work. IWC built a connected strap with a fitness tracker built into the band of a $10,000 watch. Both these brands are at the very top of the watch market and still their technology just doesn’t work well.
Fossil just bought the Misfit fitness tracking device and they also just launched their Q line of connected watches. It’s clear that connectivity is an important part of their future and the watch industry as a whole. Yet Fossil owns just a small slice of the affordable watch market – they’re huge in the U.S. but just a small player globally.
Fossil’s recent jump into smartwatches is a great sign for the industry. Other watch companies are starting to realize that connected technology in their watches is inevitable. Many have already reached out to partner with us – Fossil has actually opened a lot of doors for our OEM strategy.
Even if Fossil manages to perfect the technology – which is a long shot for a company with zero connected device experience – other watch brands won’t work with a competitor as their tech partner. Chronos doesn’t compete with anyone building watches, so every watch brand will prefer to partner with us rather than buoy Fossil.
Chronos is the cheapest way for any watch company to offer connected devices. Before Chronos it was exorbitantly expensive for any company just to try this – tooling a prototype costs tens of thousands of dollars. Now they can play with smart tech for just $100.
Chronos also fits well with the trending customization movement. Watch companies have started to offer a variety of customization packages like multiple straps, interchangeable faces, etc., all together with your watch. Chronos is the perfect addition to those customization packages. Now companies can sell one watch that includes a variety of colors, straps, faces, and a connected device.
Finally we provide an amazing app which they can use to interact with their customers. This has never before been possible for watch companies – they had no way to engage their customers after a sale. At the simplest level, they didn’t know when and how often their customers wear their watches. Simply knowing this fact can open up a lot of doors to direct marketing to create a stronger relationship with their customers. Also, customers will be checking the application regularly to check on their activity and program their notifications. This regular engagement provides more opportunities to engage and market to their customers - something they’ve never been able to do before. Watch brands are very excited about this opportunity.
We soft launched with some press articles in early November and pre-sold 250 units in 2.5 hours. We added 1,000 units and sold those out in a week. We’re expecting another wave of press in mid December. By all measures initial response is going very well.
If all goes according to plan, we’ll deliver the first Chronos by early Spring. We’re also aggressively pursuing retailers to launch with prior to graduation season and Father’s Day (which is the second peak in watch sales after the holidays). Retailers like Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms, Bloomingdales, etc., are high on our priority list.
Our current pre-sale MSRP is $129. While our cost of production for our initial 10,000 units, including shipping, hovers around $25. Direct sales margins are unbelievable and retail sales are still upwards of 65-70%.
We’re negotiating with a number of watch manufacturers right now. They’re all testing the Chronos in house at the moment, giving us feedback, and a few have moved on to the LOI phase. All of them are super eager – but we really just released the Chronos so it’s still a bit early to tell how the OEM sales process will play out.
There’s a couple ways we can structure these deals: we can license the hardware or we can be an end to end supplier for any of these watch companies. We’ll also license the software for an ongoing fee. Our customers will still own their customers, but every interaction will happen via the Chronos app and we’ll have access to all that customer data.
We hope to build a better app experience than any of our competitors but we also understand that some customers want to stick with what they know, so we’ll easily integrate with any fitness tracking apps out there. For instance, MyFitnessPal has a huge user base and we definitely don’t want to exclude them from being Chronos users. We’re ready to sync all Chronos data with their app.
Our first major challenge was designing the Chronos to be so minimal – it’s now the thinnest wearable product in the world. This is huge because you can hardly notice the Chronos on your watch – it’s effectively invisible to both touch and sight. We also designed it to be all metal which brings an added level of quality to the Chronos. A Rolex owner would never attach a plastic product to their favorite timepiece.
Next we have to partner with watch brands and establish ourselves as the defacto smart watch solution for any watch company. It’s still early but this has been surprisingly easy so far – everyone we speak to is receptive to Chronos as an OEM. They know we’re not competing with them but actually helping them compete with the Apples of the world.
The Chronos lasts 36 hours, and charging is as easy as dropping your watch on the charging cradle. Nearly everyone takes their watch off at night, so we’ve designed Chronos to work with this routine by making charging simple, no need to take Chronos off your watch, and we sell beautiful watch stand accessories to make sure your watch continues to look great bedside.
Chronos has taken ~25 people 18 months to develop. This is a sizable head start and we’ve also filed a variety of IP protections on the product.
We’re the first to market on the back of an incredible press launch. To seal the lead, we have to execute on partnership deals and be the first in big box retailers. If all goes well we’ll soon be synonymous with transforming your existing watch into a smart watch.
I (Mark) was an investment bank at Piper Jefferey before Chronos, handling transactions in the consumer and technology space. Over eight years as a banker I realized just how much I love how the consumer and technology can interact. All the while I wore my favorite watch (gifted by my wife on our wedding day) daily and never wanted to exchange it for a commonplace Apple Watch. The moment I had the idea for an attached device I immediately filed the IP and went out hunting for a Co-Founder.
Luke has been incredible since we got together a year ago. Before Chronos he was on the Product Innovation Team at Samsung as the leader of prototyping before being promoted to Innovation Manager.
Besides Luke and I, we have a few other people on staff but we largely work with a couple agencies to keep costs and hiring risk down.
We’re 100% focused on product manufacturing and launch over the next few months. To do this we need to make several key hires: a firmware engineer, several more software developers, and an Android developer. This money will also get us through our first OEM deals. Once we sign a couple big partners we’ll be in a great position for our Series A – hopefully by early Summer.
Yes. Initially we assumed our target customer would be largely wealthy males. We were totally wrong. The love for Chronos was split 50/50 male and female and evenly across a variety of age groups. Our early sales are nearly 40% overseas. We couldn’t be happier with this distribution.
The best news though? 90% of those surveyed wanted to buy a new watch, even though Chronos converts the watch they already wear. Watch wearers want connectivity and are currently sitting on the sidelines when it comes to new watch purchases. This number is a huge selling point for us when negotiating with OEM brands – we can prove that customers want connectivity, and connectivity will drive sales for their brands.
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