NOVA Smartwatch

Digital without distraction.

Nova is a hybrid smartwatch designed to address issues current users have, and reservations other consumers have regarding the product category (deduced from primary and secondary research: reviews, interviews, etc.)


A major complaint from consumers is the size of the watch. Many smartwatches are often too bulky due to the components being fit into the watch. This issue is even worse for female consumers as the watch looks even more bulky on their wrists.

Battery Life

Another major complaint is that a watch's battery life shouldn’t just last a day. A regular watch can last a full year, your watch shouldn’t be useless if you forget to charge it the night before.


Many people find having another screen on your wrist as just an extension of your phone’s screen, which can be extremely distracting (and considered rude by many) if you are receiving messages when having a conversation with someone else.

Metal Clasp

Metal clasp to ensure your watch is secured on your wrist.

Leather Band

High quality black horween leather band.

Programmable Buttons

Buttons that can be set to whatever the user desires on the smartwatch app.

Light Notifications

Buttons that can be set to whatever the user desires on the smartwatch app.

Engraved Back

Stainless steel case with an engraved back with the Nova logo and details about the watch.

Removable Straps

Easily removable straps, with a standardized 24mm width so many different bands could be used.

Back Plate Tool

Tool to remove the back plate to easily replace the coin cell batteries (batteries last 8-12 months).

Watch Use

Initial Set Up

1. Hold Buttons

Press and hold both function buttons on the watch for 5 seconds to begin pairing.

2. Searching

Lights at 3, 6, 9, and 12 will illuminate to signal the watch is searching for a device.

3.1 Pairing Successful

All lights will briefly illuminate to signal that the watch pairing was successful.

3.2 Pairing Unsuccessful

Lights in an X formation will illuminate to signal that the watch pairing was unsuccessful.

Daily Use Commands


A Notification Light will illuminate when the correct trigger occurs.

(text, snapchat, phone call, etc.)

Clear Notifications

Default setting to clear notifications is to quickly press and release both Function Buttons to clear Notifications Lights.

(only on watch not on the phone).


Default setting for Upper Function Button.
Hold Upper Button for 5 seconds to initiate Stopwatch Mode, press button to start/stop, hold Upper Button to exit Stopwatch Mode.

Step Goal

Default setting for Lower Function Button.
Press Lower Button to see current progress on step goal. Second hand will move to show percentage of goal.


Please note that I am not an engineer so internal components are based off of secondary research, and reference from other smartwatches on the market. There is basic knowledge of chips for PCBs and other components but an engineer would be needed to revise these parts, thank you (scrolling explode doesn't work on mobile).

Top Lens

Durable Sapphire Crystal Lens for clear vision of watch face and scratch resistance. Notification lights are nested inside the watch dial.

Motor PCB

PCB with electronic motors that control the watch hands. Microchips for motor control, and control of notification lights are also integrated within this PCB.

Main PCB

Main PCB with the Processor, RAM, Storage, Button Sockets, Accelerometer/Gyroscope, and Networking Chip are integrated. As well this PCB directly connects with the batteries below for power.

Main Body

Main body made of 316L Stainless Steel so less chance of an allergic reaction or any negative effects. All other components attach to this body.


Battery housing made of ABS with slots for 2 Coin Cell Batteries for a longer lasting battery life.

Back Plate

Bottom plate that attaches to Main Body, has grooves on the bottom for the additional tool.

UX/UI Design

Most of Nova's features are programmed through the app, you can set notifications, track your activity, and set up custom commands with the buttons. The app follows the same visuals as the physical watch itself and packaging. The goal of this app was to make something minimal, interesting, and functional. Click the link below to watch a full video play-through of the app.


Login page for app, gives username and password fields to enter. As well the option to create an account or have a password recovery email sent to you.

Main Tracking

Main page for tracking activity or sleep. Activity tracks steps, calories burnt, distance traveled and time spent working out. Sleep tracks quality, time spent sleeping, snoring, and time spent restless.

Light Selection

Page used to select which notification light you want to view/edit.

Hour Notification List

Page used to display the notifications set by the user for the selected light. Notifications are shown with a contact, contact method, and light notification pattern.

New Notification

Page used to set a new notification, each notification has a set light pattern, contact, and method of contact to be notified for.


Settings page that is available to be accessed from any other page (excluding the login page). This page is used for all connection settings and preferences.


This section outlines the process of my work from start to finish. The process covers Brief, Sketching, Form Development, 3D Modelling, 3D Rendering, Packaging Design, UI/UX Design, and Animation.


Using primary and secondary research from product testing, interviews, reviews, and articles. The conclusion of the research was that there are 3 major issues stopping consumers from purchasing smartwatches. The first is the Size of the watch, many consumers felt smartwatch are too thick or wide in relation to a normal watch. This typically was due to manufacturers trying to fit as many in as many components as possible. The second issue was Battery Life, many smartwatches only last a day which results in the consumer having another product they need to remember to recharge daily and if they forget it is unusable. The final issue was Distractions, many consumers felt having a screen on your wrist is incredibly distracting, and some interviewees said they found it rude if someone was receiving and reading texts from their wrist while they are with them (especially on dates).

Smartwatch Type

1. Classic Smartwatch

Smartwatch with a main touchscreen for functionality and displaying information

2. Hybrid Smartwatch Type 1

Smartwatch with a main display screen but traditional watch hands above it, allowing for the watch face and dial to be changed.

3. Hybrid Smartwatch Type 2

Smartwatch with a main display screen but traditional watch hands and dial above it, allowing for information to be displayed in the center.

4. Hybrid Smartwatch Type 3

Smartwatch with 3 smaller displays for information. Traditional watch hands and dial.

5. Hybrid Smartwatch Type 4

Smartwatch using coloured areas and vibrations to signify notifications. Traditional watch hands and dial.

6. Hybrid Smartwatch Type 5

Smartwatch using LEDS to signify notifications. Traditional watch hands and dial.

7. Hybrid Smartwatch Type 6

Smartwatch using LEDS at hour marks to signify notifications. Traditional watch hands and dial.

After researching existing Smartwatches and ideating other possible types I distinguished 7 different types mainly around Hybrid Smartwatches. With my research of existing smartwatches and technology that can be applied to this category I determined I wanted to do a hybrid smartwatch that uses lights at the hour marks to notify rather than a screen for less distractions. As well using a hybrid smartwatch lowered the amount of components needed inside making the watch less bulky, and lowered power consumption as well. I did decided to have the watch powered by 2 coin cell batteries to add on to battery life even more.


1. Utilitarian

Watch style focused on function and durability, with a bulkier body to communicate these values.

Ex: G Shock

2. Californian

Watch style focused on function and comfort with a minimal aesthetic. The form follows the trends of minimalism and primitives.

Ex: Nixon, Minus 8

3. Eastern European

Watch style focused on elegance and simplicity. The form has a minimal aesthetic with thin markings and watch hands.

Ex: Nomos, Skagen

4. Extravagant

Watch focused on being more flash and exuberant. The form has large components that pull attention in.

Ex: Rolex, Tag Heuer

With the idea of a smartwatch being something you can wear to every occasion the style I decided on was Californian. The style is subtle enough to wear while going out for drinks and elegant enough for dressing up. Utilitarian works for everyday but looks out of place while paired with a suit or even a business casual look. Eastern European works with office attire and a suit but is too dressed up for some occasions (like the beach). Extravagant works with a suit but is too flashy and attention grabbing for everyday, it can give off the impression that the consumer is trying to flaunt their money.

After deciding on the general concept, style, and components of the watch I created mood boards for where my watch would live, and who would be using it. With almost a full understanding of the different aspects of my watch I started looking into current design trends and doing CMF (Colour, Material, and Finish) research so I had an idea of what I wanted the final appearance of the watch to be for when I begin sketching.


With the problems layed out I began to sketch ideas. I like to start ideation with quick pages trying to spend around 5 minutes or less per page to quickly get many ideas onto the page to choose from. After doing a few pages of quick sketches I start doing some more proper sketches. I typically enjoy sketching in pencil the most BUT it is the most difficult to see and scans way worse than ink, so I've begun to sketch with Sharpie more, I also use the Papermate Flair very often.

Form Development

I started developing the form of my watch by doing basic shape models of what I had previously sketch to get a better idea of proportions, shape, and how the surfaces would pull highlights.

After I had chosen which shape to go with I began trying out other details I had sketched and developing the form further. This part of the process helped me develop the appearance of the dial, buttons, watch hands, and crown further.

Final Edits

Once I was happy with the shape that's when I began to render using Cinema4D and Octane. Post work was done in Photoshop using mainly the Camera Raw tool, as well a few other tricks I've learnt. With constant back and forth between those two tools I created the 5 Final Colourways.


In conclusion the solution I developed for current issue with smartwatches was a watch that utilizes programmable LED notification lights to solve a majority of the issues. Customization, set up and activity tracking are done in an app as it's easier to view and navigate throughout the various features the watch has to offer.

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