Hoptroff Hotblack 02

Hoptroff is a British Watchmaker who is doing very interesting complications with electronic watches tied to your smart phone.  Instead of trying to do everything, and losing the look of a conventional watch in the process, the watches specialize is a specific function, and use the hands and subdials of the watch to convey the information.  The Hoptroff Hotblack line of watches is available with options to keep you up to date on football (soccer for those in the US) scores, stock prices, the direction and time of day for Muslim prayers, and important notifications.Hoptroff Hotblack 01The base for each of these watches is the Gravitas model (above), which automatically tracks and adjust for daylight savings time and has a perpetual calendar, with retrograde days at 6:00 and the retrograde date at 12:00.  The watch, as are all the Hotblacks, is accurate to 15 seconds a year, but this watch can be further calibrated and subjected to temperature compensation to drive the accuracy to 1 second a year.  The watch case is PVD coated stainless steel, with a sapphire crystal, SuperLuminova on the hands and numbers. and 5 ATM of water resistance.  All the models can be ordered with the pushers on the left side if that is your preference.

If you look closely at the two watches immediately above these paragraphs, you will notice striking similarities, with the exception of the little red light on the upper one.  This is a feature of the Pharos, and what distinguishes it from the Gravitas.  That little light can flash red, yellow, or green, tuned to events you set up on your smartphone.  You decide what events trigger the little light, you you get a discrete notification without having to check your phone.

Hoptroff Hotblack 04The Hotblack Sports (above) is one that I covered previously, where the watch is tied to the score of a football (soccer) match.  The paired app on your phone sends live score updates to your watch, where the score is shown on the subdials at 9:00 and 12:00, and the remaining time is shown at 6:00.  So if you need a discrete way to check scores when something else is going on, this is the way to do it, just no cheering.  The Stockmarket, horizontal at the very top of the page, is keyed to a stock or exchange rate or index, and the sub dial at 9:00 shows the percent change (delayed 15 minutes) relative to the previous night’s close.

Hoptroff Hotblack 03The last variation is the Salah, which adds complications that would be very useful for a devout Muslim.  Every 14 days, or whenever you change locations, you would pair the watch to your smartphone and then the watch’s internal compass will provide the direction of Mecca and the proper time for each of the daily prayers.  The sub dial at 9:00 here is the second hand, and the day/date displays are removed.

Overall, it is an intriguing line of watches that provide some connected functionality without changing the overall look of an analog watch.  Currently, the watches only pair with iPhones, but an Android compatible application is in the works.  There is no word about Windows or Blackberry.  The watches retail for £999 plus VAT where applicable.  It would be interesting to see if they could rework the Sport to be compatible with American sports.  The 10 goal (or point) limit would be limiting for football or basketball, but it might work for baseball, or the scale could be adjusted to present higher scores.  hoptroff.com

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Hoptroff Hotbalck
  • Price: £999 + VAT
  • Who we think it might be for: Techies who love analog watches.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I like the concept, but the specific options don’t apply to me.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Open the sports model to more sports.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: The smartwatch concept, in an analog watch.

Tech Specs from Hoptroff

  • Movement: In house electromechanical movement with geared hands
  • Functions: Multiple, tied to bluetooth data feed
  • Case: Black PVD coated stainless steel
  • Glass: Sapphire
  • Water resistance:  5 ATM
  • Lug width: Not specified
  • Straps: Black PVD coated stainless steel bracelet
  • Diameter : Not specified
  • Length: Not specified
  • Case height: Not specified
  • Weight of watch head: Not specified


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