By Brecken Branstrator
This editor has been wearing the Kronaby “Apex” with a black dial and brown leather strap.
I am not--or haven’t been, until very recently--a wearables person.

I recognize that it’s a growing segment for which there is obviously a place, based on consumer reaction to the products available, but I have maintained that it’s just not for me.

Honestly, the thought of wearing something like an Apple Watch that sends text to a screen that I can see, even when my phone is down, sounds more stressful and intrusive than just putting my phone away and having nothing around me.

I’m of the opinion that when I’m in someone’s company, I want to be in that person’s company, and don’t need a wearable telling me about a notification on social media. Or if I’m busy doing something, I’ll get to my phone later.

But for about a week now, I’ve been wearing a connected device to give it a try, and I’m converted. The philosophy of Kronaby, and my favorite part about its products--for design to begin with watchmaking and smart features to be added after--might help you understand why.

Kronaby’s products are, first and foremost, watches. There is no digital screen. There are no lights. They want the wearers to “stay connected, not distracted.” This, to me, is one of its biggest strengths.

Kronaby is a Swedish brand that launched in the U.S. in the spring and now is working on building its presence in the market.

It debuted with four classic collections--Apex, Sekel, Nord and Carat--ranging in price from $395 to $675, depending on the model and variant. The brand is adding nine new watches to its collections this fall, taking the price range up to $725 at the most expensive.

I met with the brand last spring when they were launching and immediately liked the way the product looked.

Last week, I went to a press breakfast in New York, where they were rolling out the new collection and taking the time to educate media a little more about the products.

So, full disclosure, the watch I have been wearing was, unexpectedly, given to me by the brand on my way out, but without any sort of commitment or promise of coverage. I just wanted to give it a try and was surprised by how much I liked it.

I chose a model with a chunkier face and case, almost like a man’s watch, and a leather strap that I thought would be wearable every day. (I’ve been considering a good watch purchase lately anyway, so this was perfect.)

Here’s how it works.

The Kronaby watch syncs with a complementing app, available for both Android and iOS, which is where you pick and choose which smart features you want for your watch--features you can change at any time.

The watch has a decent amount of options, but no so many that it seems overwhelming.

For example, the watch face has a second, smaller dial that can be used to keep track of steps and how close you are to your daily target (my personal choice), tell time at a second location or be used as a timer.

The buttons on the side can control your music or camera, work as a “find my phone” feature and more.

And then there are, of course, notifications that come to the watch in the form of a buzz. There are three buzz options--one buzz, two or three--and you can categorize and prioritize what you want each to be used for.

I’ve set one to notify me of calls and texts from those people for whom I might want to be interrupted--Mom and Dad, for example--a few other contacts into the second, and then used my third category to remind me to get up and walk around (so important for those of us sitting at desks) to meet my daily steps goal.

Other features include a silent alarm and GPS tracking. They’re going to roll out additional features slowly and methodically, the team has said.

But ultimately, like I said before, what I love most about it: it doesn’t look like a wearable. Nowhere is there a screen sending me text or an obvious flash of light to make me aware of something.

The most “invasive” part of the experience is that it has a setting in which the hands move to indicate the number of the notification received--both hands moving to the 1 position to indicate a single buzz, for example--but I actually find it a positive since I may miss or not pay attention to how many buzzes came through.

I love being able to prioritize what I want it to tell me, and that I get even those notifications in a very discrete way.

I am, admittedly, terrible at leaving my phone within eyesight, at the office especially, and then letting myself get distracted by stupid notifications. For the past few days, I’ve set it away and let myself rely on the customized notifications I’ve set up on the watch. It does wonders for productivity.

There’s also just a surprising joy in being able to find out what time it is without having to look at my phone. Don’t we do that enough times during the day?

My one complaint is that, since the watch is attached to my phone, the app has to be on in the background to work. I’m usually connected to Wi-Fi, but I’m curious to see how much data it will end up using on a regular basis and what that does to my phone battery.

Still, for now, I’m convinced. Perhaps a watch this like might do the same for consumers who are a little hesitant when it comes to wearables?

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