Mutewatch pictures and hands-on

Christmas is a time of watches, according to Amazon, which is showcasing a number of wrist-strappers set to arrive in time for the 2012 festive season. One that caught our eye, as lovers of all things gadget, was the item simply known as Mutewatch.

Mutewatch is the brainchild of a Swedish team and started life as an entry in a design competition run by the Stockholm School of Economics. Three years later and it hit the shelves of a shop in Paris where, reportedly, Karl Largerfeld stormed in and bought three for himself. Don't ask us why one wouldn't suffice.

You can now buy one of your own for £199 in either charcoal grey, poppy red or pure white and here's why. Apart from the fact that they look ace, most of the time, the Mutewatch displays nothing at all. It is, as the name suggests, mute. But, start stroking the thing and that's when it gets interesting.

The motion sensor inside detects when you've held up it to your eyes and the Mutewatch displays the time. If you want to see the time again, just tap the surface. After that, you swipe through the functions with your finger between timer and alarm and watch modes. When you want to set the time or the alarm, you tap on the top of each digit to go up one or on the bottom of them to go down. And, when you want to stop the buzzer going off, you pinch across the surface. Very nice indeed.

Perhaps the only real style weakness of the Mutewatch is the fastening mechanism. It's a single popper which, although not a bad idea, doesn't look as stylish as it might, especially because it allows too much rotational play and the result is that the strap doesn't quite line up on your wrist. If the company adds a second popper, or perhaps switches to something like magnetism or velcro instead, then that would seem to be a better idea.

The final surprise in store is that the Mutewatch hides a little USB connector under the wrist flap. Sadly, it's not about storage but is instead where you charge the watch - the battery lasts only three or four days - as well as the site of future firmware updates, just in case they ever come.

Sure, it's a touch flawed but it's a lovely, original piece of kit.

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