Kit Up reports on a new $16,000 watch from Swiss watchmaker Breitling that incorporates a satellite distress beacon as well as a shorter-range homing beacon.
The device, which will sell for about $16,000 (12,000 Euro), is designed to be compliant with new frequencies used for search and rescue operations in North America and Europe, according to Jean-Paul Girardin, vice president at the company.
In an emergency, the user would activate the transmitter by unfastening the main antennae cap on the right-side of the watch, pulling out the wire, then performing a similar step with the secondary antennae on the left-side of the device.
The watch would then begin transmitting signals on two frequencies over a 24-hour period.
The first transmits a digital signal on the newly designated 406 megahertz frequency to satellites for alert and homing, according to a brochure distributed by the company. The second transmits an analog signal on the 121.5 megahertz frequency — the international air distress frequency — used for homing and rescue operations, it states.
Fitting a high powered 406 mhz transmitter into a watch is no small feat. While a shorter-range 121 mhz homing beacon (1800 nautical miles of range) transmit with about 0.1 watt of power, a digital 406 mhz satellite beacon must transmit at around 5 watts. For comparison if you have a high-end wifi-access point at home, it will be transmitting at no more than 1 watt. In order to do this the watch sacrifices itself and cannot be used again. The heat from the high-powered transmitter probably melts the small non-metal components in the watch. The watch also lacks a GPS receiver so it cannot transmit GPS coordinates along with the distress signal, something that most Personal Locator Beacons are capable of.