NEW YORK: Timex, the watch manufacturer, has shown how heritage brands can move into technologically advanced categories by ensuring its entry into the wearables space supported its core "DNA".

Shawn Cummings, head of innovation/market strategy at Timex Group, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Mobile First, Mobile Everywhere conference in New York.

And she reported that the firm's bid to join the wearables revolution was informed first and foremost by answering a fundamental question.

"How do we make sure that we can create something – as Timex – that's relevant for our consumer base and stay true to the Timex DNA?" Cummings said in describing the challenge. (For more, including details of the firm's ad strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: How Timex is keeping pace with changing consumer preferences.)

"What we wanted to do was to make sure that we had that contextual consumer experience that we could create that would make it meaningful."

Crucially for an organisation that has long championed products worn on the wrist, its IRONMAN GPS+ device does not have to be "tethered" to a smartphone.

"The other thing that is really, really unique about this product – it is actually the single most important differentiating factor – is that the modem is built inside the device," Cummings said.

In securing the access to the kind of technical knowhow required to make a cutting-edge smartwatch, it partnered with telecoms group AT&T and chip manufacturer Qualcomm.

"This is why the phone companies moved into this wearables space first, before any of the traditional watch companies that you would typically think of," said Cummings.

"You really have to miniaturise the chipset to be able to put that into the device to get all the communication features that you're looking for."

Data sourced from Warc