In the car world, Pininfarina is a byword for coach-built Italian elegance. Their name next to a particular model is enough to guarantee concours-level beauty, not to mention an extra zero or two on the price tag. Founded in 1930 by Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, they have been responsible for more iconic four-wheelers than pretty much any designer in history, whether that’s the painfully beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, the downright weird X from 1960, or the recent all-electric hypercar, the Battista. And their Ferraris of course.
But like any serious studio, you can’t put Pininfarina in one corner and expect them to stay there. Yes, they made their name working on cars, but over the decades they’ve done so much more. Public transport? They’ve done trains, buses and trams aplenty. Buildings? Both inside and out with interior design and architecture. They’ve even levelled their luxury Italian sights on private jets and yachts, channelling their inimitable style into things even more eye-catching than a 1996 Ferrari 550 Maranello.
So, it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise that Pininfarina is also into watches. It’s not their first foray of course; they have a long-lasting collaboration with haute horologist Bovet, resulting in a collection of exclusive timepieces. But now they’re striking out with their own brand with the Senso Hybrid smartwatch… and it might not be in a way you expect.
With a name this hallowed, you might be thinking they’d leverage that prestige into a mechanical and exceptional piece. But no. Instead, the Italian coach specialist has gone the other way and instead launched a collection of hybrid smartwatches created by the specialist in the field, Globics, to celebrate the iconic brand legacy of Pininfarina. The question is: why?
“The unicity of our brand relies on the combination of a long tradition”, explains Pininfarina’s Fabio Calorio. “Our company was founded in 1930 – and a strong passion for innovation – we have been the first design house to build a wind tunnel, for example. We love to say that our brand stands for the “tradition of the new”. In this sense, hybrid watches perfectly embody our approach: a combination of elegant and classic shapes, coming from the tradition of mechanical pieces, combined with the state of the art technologies of the smart watches. Moreover, since the origins, we always put at the centre the human experience and hybrid watches are the answer to those people who are looking for a watch with a classic look but with smart features.”
And it makes sense. As the dynamic between technology and old-school mechanics are a little different in watchmaking (quartz has been making mechanical watches redundant in a practical sense since the 1970s), a genuinely useful yet exceptionally good-looking smartwatch has a lot of cerebral clout from a brand/product/user standpoint.
The smartwatch in question is the Senso Hybrid and is, at a glance, deeply inspired by Italian values. The cushion case feels like the well-heeled lovechild of the Florentine tradition of fine timepieces from the likes of Panerai and the kind of curvaceous bodywork of Pininfarina’s vintage back catalogue. They’re finished in a range of classic colours with different case finishes, all with the same pared-back elegance. That’s helped immeasurably by the subtle integration of the smart functions, displayed at 12 o’clock in a svelte digital display, balancing the true subdial at six o’clock.
Said display is perfect for quickly referencing the data, but like many smartwatches, the Senso also sends its data straight to an app on your smartphone – and it’s a good amount of data at that. A heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, activity tracker and health trackers – specifically electrocardiograph (ECG) readouts and breathing disturbances via oxygen levels (SPO2 and VO2) – provide the levels of data any health-conscious wearer will spend hours obsessing over. And there’s not likely to be any interruption in that data either. Aside from the fact that it’s a comfortable, versatile watch that you’ll be wearing aplenty, it has a one-month battery life from a single 60-minute charge.
All of that is wrapped up not just in an unprecedented style, but one with quality miles above the usual, cheap-feeling Apple Watch wannabes. Stainless steel of course, but also a watchmaking-worthy sapphire crystal and, in keeping with Pininfarina’s brand heritage, a sumptuous Italian leather strap.
Inspired by the long history and heritage of Pininfarina and designed and manufactured by Globics with a high attention to detail, the somehow unexpected Senso Hybrid is an affordable smartwatch and a beautiful piece of Pininfarina design that most of us can aspire to.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Pininfarina Senso Hybrid
- Ref: PMH01A-01 (moonlight silver)
PMH01A-02 (mercure grey)
PMH01A-03 (sunburst rose gold)
PMH01A-04 (slate grey)
- Case/dial: 44mm diameter x 16mm thickness, stainless steel case
- Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
- Battery: Up to 30 days with full battery charge
- Functions: Hours, minutes, ECG & SpO2, heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, activity tracker
- Strap: Italian leather strap with quick-release pin for easy attachment
- Price/availability: £399