When Mondaine released its first smartwatch (the Helvetica 1) in 2015, the features were… limited. It could track your activity, but it quickly fell behind other hybrid smartwatches, let alone high-end smartwatches from the likes of Apple or Samsung. However, the company has clearly learned some lessons in a few years. It’s releasing the Helvetica Regular Smartwatch, which finally adds notifications. If you receive a message (including from Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp) or telephone call, the hour hand will point to “M” or “T.” That’s not as helpful as seeing what the message says, but you at least won’t have to wonder whether or not someone got back to you.
You can also press the crown briefly to see your activity, and hold it down for 3 seconds to cover sleep tracking. The Regular still preserves the 2-year battery life of its predecessor, although the considerably smaller 40mm case (versus 44mm for the Helvetica 1) makes it considerably subtler.
Mondaine had teased the watch a year ago, but it’s finally ready to ship and should arrive before the end of March for $660 (£450 in the UK). That’s very expensive if you’re just looking for a hybrid smartwatch, as brands like Fossil have a slew of options that cost much, much less. However, that’s not really the point here — the Helvetica Regular is ultimately about catching up to modern hybrids while maintaining Mondaine’s usual super-clean aesthetic.