Christophe & Co CEO Aleksandr Bernhard and Paolo Pininfarina

Christophe & Co CEO Aleksandr Bernhard and Paolo Pininfarina

Product News


Think $130 for a Fitbit Force or $200 for a Basis Watch is a lot to spend on a gadget you wear on your wrist? How about $189,000?

That’s the projected retail price of the top-of-the-line Armill bracelet from Christophe & Co, a new wearables company based in Miami that has a partnership with Pininfarina, the company known for designing the Ferrari, to design and co-brand the device. (Sergio Pininfarina recently died, but the firm is now run by his son Paolo Pininfarina.)

The plan is for bracelet wearers to be able to scan their way into exclusive clubs such as the Monte Carlo Beach Club in Abu Dhabi, the Home House in London and the Kee Club in Hong Kong, where they will be able to press a button that relays their favorite drink order to a tablet at the front desk. A different button will place a call through a companion mobile app to a round-the-clock “dedicated lifestyle manager.”

Christophe CEO Aleksandr Bernhard would not provide images of the bracelet for publication, but early mock-ups show a thick metal bracelet with curves reminiscent of a sports car. The final version will include gems, he said.

Bernhard’s plan is to make the bracelets available for preorder this summer. They will include a kinetic energy generator to power the device with movement, as well as NFC and Bluetooth LE. The tech components are to be modular so they can be upgraded at a later date.

There are to be three different price tiers, with the lowest selling for $70,000. Lower-end editions will have lesser gems and fewer tech integrations, Bernhard said.

Later features may include smart home control via gesture recognition, virtual keys and a virtual wallet. Sure, it all sounds fantastical and idiosyncratic — but customization to the level that an individual bracelet is configured just for its owner is exactly the point of a luxury wearable, Bernhard said. The appeal is the exclusivity of the device.

“Our target customer probably owns a Ferrari or at least is aware of Pininfarina,” said Bernhard. “They’re very tech savvy, and they want to be the first to get it — even better if they can be the only one.”

Bernhard, who by day sells pianos to high-net-worth individuals in South Florida, said he has raised less than $100,000 in angel funding so far, primarily from his customers and contacts at his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon. That’s a lot for a smart bracelet, but perhaps not quite so much for a hardware startup.

Update: Bernhard said the company has raised over $100,000, including its angel funding, since August and is currently seeking an additional $1.5 million.



5 comments
JStarkman
JStarkman

He probably has enough from his personal assets to purchase one of the top tier models, and why not? The rich yearn for exclusivity and are willing to pay ridiculous amounts for it. I can see Demi Moore begging the CEO for one even as we speak! Ahh, if only I was a member of the upper financial echelon :((  

abarraga86
abarraga86

So basically with the total money he has raised, he can't even afford to purchase a single bracelet at his target price.

Mergatroid69
Mergatroid69

There is a phrase for that..."a sucker is born every minute..."

Luc@Mop
Luc@Mop

The car on the picture is not a Ferrari but an Alfa Romeo (even if maybe designed by Pininfarina who did also French Peugeot Car design)  ...


If the bracelet is so ugly than the dress code of the man at right of the picture, it's really too expensive :-(


On the other hand :-) about this "smart home control via gesture recognition" feature, he should not keep its bracelet all the day, mainly if he is bachelor ;-)

rafastipe
rafastipe

Things like that verges in the absurd.

I think even the super rich takes care of their money not buying stuff that makes them feel robbed.

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