Pininfarina designed Christophe & Co’s $150K Armill self powering smart bracelet with upgradeable tech

It’s exciting to see how luxury brands start conquering the digital space and especially the wearables market. New brand Christophe & Co. announced its debuts in this flourishing market. It begins with a simple premise: creating an ultra high-end wearable which incorporated high tech components, while focusing on exclusivity as a jewelry product for men (yes, fashionable wearables do not only focus on women!).

Not a watch, the bracelet can be worn along side your favorite timepiece. The brand says the debut of Armill bracelets will be the “entry-level” Virtus, then Orion, topped off with the ultra rizty Apollo.

These wearables were designed to incorporate small rotors that charge their batteries like automatic/auto-quartz watches, generating power from the motion of your wrist. The brand claims that the power reserve can last up to 1 year, hence frequent wear likely allows users to never charge their Armill devices.

Christophe-Co-Armill-Apollo

A Blog To Watch reports that the devices will be produced in Britain, and begins with a carbon fiber inner frame. On top of that will be materials from 18K Gold to high-tech ceramic as well as precious stones. Further decorative and personnalization feature include hand-engraving on some models. The company worked on limited edition versions of the bracelet and made it clear that they wish each piece to be individualized to the wearer and even often perfectly sized for the owner’s wrist.

“Armill” refers to an ancient type of bracelet, often worn for symbolic protection or to designate one’s own esteemed status. The design was assigned to Italian Pininfarina design house, famous for its work on Ferrari cars. They combine a slightly automotive and very modern edge to this high-end, yet very bling-bling, wearable that will consist of a lot of gold and precious stones. For the comfort of the wearer, the bracelet was designed to be more square in how it fits on the wrist, so it should not dangle around like a bangle. Pininfarina worked hard to feature a bit of “old word royalty” merging with modern flair that would appeal to today’s high-end sports cars or/and yachts owners.

Pininfarina

The design, masculine but yet decorated with diamonds makes me wonder what they were thinking. Ok, I get that this targets rich individuals, who represent a huge opportunity of business, but I still think it’s too much to be chic… But anyway, I really do not worry for them, there are plenty of rich people with questionnable taste who will find this absolutely fabulous! Good part is that they already thought of local adaptations: for Chinese market the bracelets will feature engraved dragons, and Russian market will get St. George slaying a dragon.

Christophe-Co-Armill-Apollo-2

On the tech part, what’s interesting is the possibility to upgrade the tech so that these status wearables don’t get obsolete. When Christophe & Co. talked about the tech in each Christophe & Co. Armill device:

“In addition to the marvel of engineering found in the jewelry piece itself, we offer a cutting edge embedded hardware module as an option. This module is fully upgradable as technology advances and employs ultra-low power NFC and Bluetooth LE communication technologies in conjunction with a ground breaking kinetic energy generation system to recharge the battery using the natural motion of the user’s arm. This allows for up to a year or longer between wireless charges. The functions of the wearable technology module include a one button valet press which communicates through the user’s phone and Christophe & Co companion app to the personal assistant’s phone in order to alert them that their presence is requested. Additionally, the secure module can be used in order to authenticate the user for entry into partner events and venues around the world. Future functions in development include integration with smart home, yacht, or vehicle, gesture recognition, and contactless payment. Custom functions may also be requested.
Owning a Christophe & Co Armill represents membership in one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. This includes access to highly exclusive events and venues around the world. These benefits include invite-only high profile social events, access to member’s clubs, benefits at top restaurants, and sold out sporting events. Additionally, every year, we hold a very private member’s only event at an exotic location in the world featuring well known chefs and entertainment. Finally, Armill owners have access to a 24/7 global concierge service via their companion app. Customers can request just about anything at any time. This service is included at no charge for three years for Apollo owners, 2 years for Orion owners, and 1 year for Virtus owners.”

When it features no screen or input methods, the bracelets seem to rely on Bluetooth communications or NFC to integrate with an app or various exclusive clubs that they will have relationships with… What exaclty will be possible to do with these devices is still kind of a mystery. Sometimes enigmas are better than the reality, when it allows us to imagine what it can do and what we can do better with them…

Christophe & Co. says they currently are taking pre-orders for the planned initial run of 425 Christophe & Co. Armill devices. It includes 300 limited edition Virtus models, 100 Orion models, and 25 Apollo models. Prices are $75,000, $93,000, and $149,000 respectively. To stay tuned, visit their website.

Christophe-Co-Armill-Apollo-1 Christophe-Co-Armill-Orion Christophe-Co-Armill-Virtus

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