Sony-owned Fashion Entertainment presented its new e-paper watch at consumer electronics show IFA in the form of the FES Watch U.
A prototype of the new device was on the Sony stand at the show, sitting alongside its significantly less attractive predecessor - the FES Watch. The original didn't make it further than Japan so there is a good chance the new model won't either, but you never know.
The FES Watch U isn't a smartwatch, just like the original FES wasn't. It won't show you who is calling, send you calendar alerts or allow you to read incoming messages. Instead, the FES Watch U connects to your iOS smartphone via an app and allows you customise the strap and watch face, like the original did. There is currently no Android compatibility, though it is apparently coming.
The functionality of the new FES Watch U therefore remains the same as the original, but the design has changed quite significantly - it no longer looks like a toy for starters. There are two models, the premium black steel body option with sapphire glass and black detailing, and the cheaper option featuring white detailing and a silver case.
The second generation FES Watch looks much more like a watch thanks to its raised bezel around the e-paper display and the overall chunkier design.
It also looks like it will much more comfortable to wear, adopting a more curved strap compared to the slightly square and awkward shape of the original FES Watch. In terms of the casing, the FES Watch U is thicker, which is a good thing and the button on the edge of the casing is much more substantial.
There are 12 extra deigns to choose from when it comes to the customisation of the watch face and straps compared to the first generation, all of which are of course monochrome. The new designs range from a plain black strap and simplistic white face, to patterns and even a face with a full calendar month.
The FES Watch U is able to store 24 designs, any of which can then be selected by pushing the button on the device itself rather than having open the app to change. The FES Watch U is waterproof and it has a battery life of up to three weeks.
Overall the FES Watch U is an interesting idea and one that is now in a much more exciting and appealing design. We'd like to see it become a little smarter, rather than just offering the time and date, and the monochrome customisation but it's now a pretty cool alternative to a standard watch, even if it is on the pricey side.
The FES Watch U premium black model will cost around €600 (ouch), while the cheaper version is said to sit around the €500 mark. As we said though, it is not clear whether the device will even make it out of Japan. We will keep you posted if we hear anymore.