Nowatch is a health-focused smartwatch that doesn't tell the time

A screen-less smartwatch has launched at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), promising to improve health and reduce stress without becoming a distraction.

Nowatch, pronounced "now watch", is actually not a watch at all – it's a health tracker that prioritises mental and physical wellbeing above everything else.

Without a screen, the Nowatch can't display the time or deliver digital notifications.

Nowatch
Nowatch is a health tracker that looks like a smartwatch

The intention is to offer an alternative to the "always-on culture" of other smart devices. Instead, the wearable uses gentle vibrations to deliver key information.

In place of a screen, the device features an interchangeable gemstone face.

Nowatch was developed by Amsterdam-based entrepreneurs Hylke Muntinga and Timothée Manschot, in collaboration with electronics brand Philips.

Nowatch on pointing arm
The screen-less device supports physical and mental wellbeing

Muntinga came up with the idea after being diagnosed with pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a rare genetic condition that will eventually cause him to lose his sight.

He wanted to create a device to break the cycle of overstimulation and anxiety typically caused by smart devices, allowing users to "get the most out of every moment".

"People are more stressed than ever and need simple but powerful solutions that help them stay mindful of their emotions and health," Muntinga said.

Nowatch
Information is delivered by gentle vibrations

The Nowatch is equipped with Philips Biosensing technology, which uses electrodermal activity (EDA) sensors to measure sweat gland activity.

The device combines this information with readings of the wearer's heart rate, physical movements and sleep patterns to help build a picture of their mental and physical state.

Touching the Nowatch
Pressing the watch crown pinpoints stress moments

The wearable is supported by a companion iOS and Android app that displays detailed information about the wearer's physiology and makes personalised recommendations to improve wellbeing.

The app creates dynamic graphics to visualise the user's current state and also offers guided breathing exercises.

Nowatch's vibrations are designed to be supportive rather than anxiety-inducing so that users can recognise when stress is building and manage it better.

Users can also pinpoint specific stress moments in the day by pressing the watch crown, creating a time stamp in the app that users can later review and add notes to.

Nowatch app
An accompanying app displays detailed information about movement, sleep and stress

"Nowatch is easy to use, so it doesn't become another distraction or obstacle for the wearer," added Muntinga. "It is a powerful tool to help people stay grounded in the present and achieve wellbeing."

"Nowatch reminds us all there's no time like the present and there is only now."

Nowatch app mindfulness activities
The app creates dynamic graphics to visualise the user's physiology

The product is among several health-centric wearables that debuted at CES this year, as reported in Dezeen's roundup of the biggest tech trends from the Las Vegas trade show.

Other new launches included Citizen's new productivity-improving CZ Smart and the solar-powered BHeart bracelet, all designed to offer an alternative to traditional smartwatches by the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google.

Nowatch gemstone range
Nowatch is available with different straps and gemstone faces

Nowatch is available with a watch band in leather or woven recycled plastic, while the face comes in a range of gemstones that include amethyst, white agate, malachite and rose quartz.

According to the brand, the device is waterproof, temperature-resistant and has a battery that can last up to four days without charging.

CES 2023 took place in Las Vegas from 5 to 8 January 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.