MICA MICA MICA (Photo: Collier Schorr for Opening Ceremony and Intel)

Watch this! Wearable technology for the fashion-forward

The smartwatch gets a style upgrade.

Intel's new MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory), which works like a smartphone and looks like something you'd see in a glass case at Tiffany's, represents a new frontier in wearable tech. Designed in collaboration with hip New York fashion label Opening Ceremony, it marries technology developed at the Intel office in Herzliya, Israel, where much of the company's wearable technology development takes place, with cutting-edge American design. In other words, the company is using its technology to turn unstylish accessories into fashion statements.

At the advent of the cell phone, the watch's days appeared numbered. No longer a utilitarian accessory, since everyone now carried a clock in their pocket, the watch became a fashion piece or a status symbol, for those who could afford to strap on a Rolex.

MICA displaying SMSMICA displaying SMS (Photo: Opening Ceremony and Intel)

But in recent years the watch has come full circle, the convenience of having time strapped to your wrist being usurped by the convenience of having all your technology needs there instead.

All of the big tech companies have gotten in on the action. Sony, Samsung, LG – each has at least one smartwatch on the market. And then, of course, there's Apple's new watch, set to release sometime in April. These watches allow you to do anything from checking your email to checking your pulse. 

Liz Stinson, who writes about design for Wired magazine, told From The Grapevine that a wristwatch was the next logical step in wearable tech. "On a high level, I think everyone is grappling with how to best make use of the deluge of data that's suddenly in front of us, and a watch is the easy answer. It's a familiar form factor." 

But all of these watches have one thing in common: their designs have a truly masculine sensibility. MICA is trying to change that. 

"Today's modern woman maintains selectivity and exclusivity when choosing accessories, and MICA embodies a beautifully unique statement piece," said Humberto Leon, co-founder and creative director of Opening Ceremony. In this respect they're also rebranding, from it being a watch to an accessory.

The recording artist Will.i.am has introduced to the market the Puls, which meets a happy medium, catering to both genders' sensibilities. Will.i.am took a similar approach to Intel and Opening Ceremony, leaning on Israeli technology (and investment) while relying on an American design. 

Will.i.am wearing Puls Will.i.am wearing Puls (Photo: i.am/Puls)

When he unveiled the Puls last fall, he made sure to stress that it is a fashion accessory.

“This is not a watch,” he said. “It’s a new type of communication on your wrist."

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