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HotBlack: The premium smartwatch that shows your custom data project video thumbnail
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In case you missed out on this campaign but are interested in owning a Hotblack London watch, please visit Read more

London, UK Wearables
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This project's funding goal was not reached on July 23, 2014.

In case you missed out on this campaign but are interested in owning a Hotblack London watch, please visit

London, UK Wearables
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About this project

Hot Update: We're giving you the ultimate customizable functionality.

Here's the latest announcement from the team. If you love the football capabilities, great! They’re all yours. If you like the Hotblack concept but you want more functionality, we’re bringing you just that. You can now make Hotblack your own, by displaying any data you want on the face. You give our server a web query to retrieve XML data from the web, and some XSLT code to transform the XML data to a pointer position. The server will then send the data down to the watch. All reward levels will come with this added functionality.

For example, World of Warcraft players can see when their clan is being attacked. People managing tech support teams can see how many open tickets there are. Sales managers can see if they are reaching their targets. Or maybe you want to display something simple, like how many Facebook messages you have. Make this watch your own, and you won’t have to always dig your phone out to check up on the data that’s important to your life.

Motivated by Passion

This project was born from my frustration with regular watches.  Why is the only affordable complication a chronograph?  You've probably got one.  You probably never use it. Can't we replace it with some dials that you actually want to look at?  Such as live football results, or anything else for that matter with our latest announcement.

How the Hotblack works
How the Hotblack works

Can't believe it? Watch it during World Cup matches here to see how it works in games, but also watch at other times to see how you can set your own custom notifications on the dials. 

This is a watch with a huge difference under the hood.  Most of the time, it will look and behave like a regular watch, indicating the date on the left and top sub-dials, and seconds on the bottom sub-dial. But when your football team is playing, and for an hour before and after, the top dial will show your team’s score, and the left dial will show your opponent’s score; the bottom dial will show how much time is remaining.  (For the launch, just soccer, not American football.)

Read the Reviews

A Blog to Watch - CNET - engadget - T3 - CoolHunting - Pocket Lint


Movement:  Hoptroff No.7
Made in:  United Kingdom, from parts sourced worldwide
Moving parts:  Swiss
Case & Strap:  Black PVD coated 316L brushed stainless steel
Glass:  Sapphire
Dimensions:  44mm diameter, height 13mm
Water resistance:  5 atmospheres (50 meters)
Phones supported:  iPhone, Android
Battery life:  Estimated 3 years (CR2330 Lithium battery)
Accuracy:  Estimated 10 seconds / year, temperature compensated

Powered by Magic

How will it be possible? The watch will have an electronic layer controlling the mechanical one. Using a Bluetooth Low Energy radio, it will connect with your iPhone or Android phone to access our Sports Data Server over the internet. Detailed settings, such as which team you support, will be selected using the phone.

We've been pioneers in this field for several years now, being the first to integrate Bluetooth into an analog watch, among many other innovations such as 3D printing in gold.

The first analog Bluetooth watch movements
The first analog Bluetooth watch movements

Styled by Design

Richard H:  "I believe a watch should be a real watch, not some wearable phone.  It should have hands that move.  It should tick.  It should be waterproof.  The battery should last years.  There's no getting around any of that in a quality timepiece.

"Beyond that, a watch delivering sports results should have a style that reflects the wearer's passion.  Sleek.  Modern, sweeping curves.  Horizontal, numeric digits.  Contrasty, white-on-black colors.

 "In the end, I decided on an automotive look.  This is the Lamborghini on your wrist!  The outer lines of the case are streamlined for speed, flowing seamlessly right down into the steel strap.  Dials like a dashboard.  Even the vertical brush polish should make you want to jump in and drive off with it."

Jump in.  Drive off with me.
Jump in. Drive off with me.

Crafted for Quality

Quality is paramount, but it takes knowledge to achieve.  You have to know what you're doing and why.  We're using the best craftsmen available worldwide to create what the watchmaking industry calls 'Grade A' quality - not normally seen in watches priced below £2000.

A jet black steel case.  A jet black steel strap.  A sapphire glass that only diamond can cut.  Superluminova on the hands and the major chapter marks. A proper screw-down back to protect it from the elements. 

A sports-chunky feel, for people who believe in rugged, enduring performance.

Grade 'A' watchmaking quality
Grade 'A' watchmaking quality

Driven by Vision

The passion dates back ten years, when Richard H first started designing watches where he could see a market, but were impossible to manufacture. "People thought I was nuts," says Richard. "'What was the point?' they said. I'll tell you what the point was. The art of the future."

Only now has Richard been able to see the dream come true. Technology has finally advanced far enough to make it happen: Micro steppers to move the hands. NanoWatt silicon for advanced computation, running off a coin cell. A Bluetooth bridge from the watch to the phone, and from there to our Sports Data Server.

We'll post up-to-the-minute photos of our technology during the campaign. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We're firing up on all cylinders.

Designer Richard Hoptroff and Technical Director Mike Plevey
Designer Richard Hoptroff and Technical Director Mike Plevey

The current status is that the watch has been designed and prototyped, and the "final look" model is just starting to appear in this project page and social media. There's still a lot to do on the technical side, though.  With successful funding, the first backers' watches will available in September 2014, to coincide with the start of the new football season.

Enabled by Kickstarter

Unlike the £6000 luxury watches we have made to date, the market for this watch is larger, but our customers will need a sub-£1000 price point.  Achieving that kind of scale is a big risk, so the point of the Kickstarter campaign is to give us the assurance that we're doing the right thing. 

We're seeking to raise £23,000 in order to commit to the development of this watch.  That represents less than a quarter of the money required.  We will invest the rest ourselves, once we know there is demand. 

The investment will be spent on software development and tooling up to make the watch case and other external parts.  If the project is a success, we will of course branch out into other sports, so do tell us which sports you would like to see on a watch.

We'll post up-to-the-minute prototype photos during the campaign.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Rewards for the Savvy

We've prepared a some great of rewards for our backers - tremendous discounts on the retail price in return for your support.  The best opportunities are for the first takers.  But it's not just your backing we need.  You have to help us get the message out.  Please, please tell your friends.  Enemies.  Strangers.  Absolutely everyone.  Help us, and we'll make it real.

As an additional incentive to back us early, serial numbers will be allocated strictly in order of sign-up.  (Unless you go for the Celebrity Striker tier, in which case you can have any number that isn't already allocated.)  Serial numbers are laser etched into the watch back.


Experience that Counts

We are experienced at watchmaking and are confident we can deliver the product.  The technology is based on existing watch movements we developed for the Hoptroff brand, so the development risk is low.  We are the world leaders in this area: we've already produced the No.9 luxury watch that shows live stock market data, using the same movement.  We're also well known for our pioneering work in 3D-printing watches directly in gold.

The No.9 stock market watch that we have already produced.  The bottom dial shows the live price change for an index or share.  The data may be different, but the technology is the same as the Hotblack football watch.
The No.9 stock market watch that we have already produced. The bottom dial shows the live price change for an index or share. The data may be different, but the technology is the same as the Hotblack football watch.

Tell Everyone

Richard H:  "Please help me realize this dream.  It isn't just about being the first to know sports results.  This is about transforming watchmaking into something a little more interesting.  So please tell everyone about our Kickstarter project."

 For more about us, visit the Time Blog.

Risks and challenges

We are experienced in watchmaking, see above. Delays beyond our control could occur, of course, but we've done this kind of thing before. We do not foresee anything that would mean we could not deliver the product. Here's the project timeline:

Feb 2014: Case and dial designed. Movement parts ordered. (Completed)

March 2014: Order placed for prototype case and dial. (Completed)

April 2014: Hands designed and order placed. Software development begins. Movement parts arrive. (Completed)

May 2014: Prototype parts start arriving. Kickstarter project submitted for approval. Kickstarter approved the project in 36 hours - many thanks! Movement assembly begins. (Completed)

June 2014: Marketing begins. Kickstarter project starts. World Cup starts. All prototype parts received. Enough of a response from Kickstarters to start mass production of 400 watches. Movements assembled. (Nearly there. Forgot to order enough of one screw, just 1mm long. Should be back on track by mid-July.)

July 2014: Finalize deal with sports data provider. Mass production parts start to arrive. Kickstarter project ends. World Cup final.

August 2014: Software development completed. Mass production parts all arrived. Assembly into complete watches. Delivery to Kickstarters.

We just need a few early birds like you to tell us we're on the right track. So please back us, and please, please tell everyone about us.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    £1 reward

    1 backer

    ...if you just want to give a little, to show your support and follow our campaign. You'll get a personal thank you email from Richard...

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  • You selected
    £10 reward

    2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)

    FRONT-ROW SUPPORTER - Own just 1 of 25 campaign memento dials, signed on the back with a personal thank you from Richard Hoptroff and individually numbered. Pin it to your noticeboard. Make a badge out of it. Whatever. Posted by Royal Mail.

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    £20 reward

    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    BRAZIL LOVER - Own just one of 25 copies of Argentinian photographer Christopher Pillitz's book Brazil: The Beautiful Game, signed personally to backers by Christopher and Richard Hoptroff

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    £400 reward

    15 backers Limited (5 left of 20)

    CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER - A Hotblack for the cost of the parts, serial numbers 1 to 20, allocated strictly in order of sign-up

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    £500 reward

    0 backers Limited (30 left of 30)

    SUPERSTAR PLAYER - A Hotblack from serial numbers 21 to 50, at half the retail sales price. If we clear this hurdle, we're in business.

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    £600 reward

    0 backers Limited (50 left of 50)

    SCORE A HATRICK - A Hotblack from serial numbers 51 to 100, in sign-up order, at a bargain price that helps us start to pay down our development costs.

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    £700 reward

    0 backers Limited (300 left of 300)

    PREMIER SQUAD PLAYER - A Hotblack from serial numbers 101 to 400, in sign-up order. But that will be it. No more will be available before the end of the year.

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    £1,500 reward

    0 backers Limited (25 left of 25)

    CELEBRITY STRIKER - Want something really special? Customize it! Your choice of squad number and player name on the dial. Any serial number still available.

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    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)