Three UOIT students design timepiece that allows users to change its look
Justin Greaves / Metroland
OSHAWA — Today’s watches do more then just tell time and act as a fashion accessory, but one Oshawa start-up company is trying to bring style and versatility back into the smartwatch market.
Henlen watches, created by three University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) students, lets users change the entire look of the watch just by swapping watch bodies.
“Our purpose was to re-establish the original purpose of the wristwatch as a fashion accessory that you would change day to day based on what you were doing and where you were going,” says Kyle George, one of the founders and the chief executive officer of the company.
The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign on May 5 in order to gain the much-needed finances before mass production can begin.
“The Kickstarter fund is to raise money for the minimum quantity order,” says Mr. George. “To manufacture, you need a lot of up-front capital. Rather than go to an investor, we went straight to the crowd.”
So far the company has garnered more than $25,000 of the $100,000 goal.
Pledgers can choose early-bird bundles of watches and bodies at discount prices compared to the estimated retail prices.
Mr. George says the watches are made of a body and cell component. The round cell is the watch face and hosts the technology of the smartwatch. The cell can be popped into individual watch bodies, which allows the watch to have interchangeable styles.
“You don’t want to wear a sleek-looking watch when you are going out fishing, but at a wedding you don’t want to wear something too rugged,” says Ryan Nasara, the Chief Marketing Officer of the company.
Henlen Watches first started as a side project for Mr. George and friends Mr. Nasara and Gregory Barnes in Feb. 2015, after Mr. George bought a smart watch.
“I mentioned how it would be cool to switch the body of it without having to buy a new smart watch and it kind of just escalated until we got to where we are today,” says Mr. George.
Since then the trio have received support through the UOIT Firefly fund and several incubators led by the Spark Centre.
“I’m not sure we would be where we are now without the support,” says Mr. George. “It has really pushed us further.”
The Kickstarter campaign will run until June 4. If you want to back Henlen Watches on Kickstarter visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1567495264/the-interchangeable-smartwatch