Samsung Gulf Electronics has launched a limited edition of its latest smartwatch that pays tribute to the Middle East's rich legacy of contributions to astronomy, science and timekeeping.
The 47mm Galaxy Watch6 Astro Edition, which features a rotating bezel with a specially designed astronomy pattern and a watch face showing lunar and solar phases, was launched by T.M. Roh, president and head of Samsung's mobile experience business, in Dubai.
It will be available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Turkey.
Among those honoured by the Astro Edition are Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Al Fazari, a mathematician and astronomer credited with building the first astrolabe in the Muslim world, and Al Battani, considered the greatest astronomer during the Islamic Golden Age.
The Watch6 series, which includes the base model and Classic, was unveiled alongside Samsung’s newest foldable smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5, at the first-ever Unpacked event held in Seoul last month.
The company did not specify the number of Astro Edition watches in stock but said it is “confident that it will sell out within the first week of its launch”, Fadi Abu Shamat, head of Samsung Gulf’s mobile experience division, told The National ahead of the launch.
“The Middle East holds a special place in Samsung's heart as a region of dynamic innovation and tech-savvy enthusiasts,” he said.
“The launch of the Astro Edition here is a testament to our commitment to providing tailored solutions that celebrate the region's rich legacy and cater to the Gulf markets' preferences and needs.”
It is also the first in a series of limited-edition collections specific to the Middle East, although Samsung Gulf did not provide a timetable for future launches nor which “innovators and pioneers” they plan to pay tribute to next.
“Samsung is dedicated to delivering region-specific offerings that enhance the user experience … and honouring Middle East pioneers while inspiring today's innovators,” Mr Abu Shamat said.
Smartwatches rose to popularity as they became an extension of smartphones and a tool to help users keep track of certain health metrics, the most advanced of which include heart rate, blood oxygen and electrocardiogram.
The market, however, continued to contract in the first quarter of 2023, posting a “slight” decrease on an annual basis, according to the latest data from Counterpoint Research.
Samsung has long been the number two smartwatch brand globally, having commanded a 9 per cent market share in the first three months of this year. However, it is now in a virtual tie with India's Fire Boltt, the Hong Kong-based research firm said.
Apple continues to enjoy a considerable lead with more than a quarter of market share, thanks to its popular Watch series.
The Galaxy Watch6 series has improved health tracking features that Samsung believes will help draw in more consumers and drive sales moving forward, underpinned by the Astro Edition.
“We believe its unique features will not only attract new customers but also intrigue existing users to explore our broader range of smartwatches as well as the wider Galaxy ecosystem,” Mr Abu Shamat said.
Samsung Gulf also announced an exclusive “Whimsical Midsummer Collection” bundle for the Galaxy Z Flip5, which features art by UAE-based Lebanese artist Nourie Flayhan.
The clamshell-type Flip5 received a significant upgrade, with its cover screen nearly doubled to 3.4in.