Fossil's FX6001 talks to your Bluetooth phone to show incoming callers' ID.
updated 9/28/2006 1:48:23 PM ET 2006-09-28T17:48:23

Watches have always done a good job of quickly showing the time and date.  But Fossil Inc. is convinced there's another piece of information worth displaying on the wrist: caller ID.

In a partnership with Sony Ericsson, Fossil on Thursday announced a new line of timepieces that will show who's calling on your cell phone.

The main advantage is that the system lets users quickly and discreetly know who is calling, without having to dig their phone out of their pocket or purse, said Bill Geiser, Fossil's vice president of watch technology.

He said the person wearing the watch can quickly decide whether to take the call or not.

The system uses the Bluetooth wireless standard to beam caller ID information from select cell phones made by Sony Ericsson to a tiny display on the watch face.

The watch vibrates to alert users to an incoming call, and a quick button press can send the call to voicemail.

You can't answer a call with the watch, but it will be compatible with Bluetooth headsets as well.

The watches will be available by the end of October under Fossil's "Mobile Wear by Abacus" brand, the regular Fossil brand, and a Sony Ericsson-branded version. Prices will range from $200 to $250.

The company plans to add support for additional handsets that use the Symbian operating system at some point.

The company's past attempts to add high-tech features to the simple watch have failed, notably a line a hefty "Wrist Net" watches that received news headlines via Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Direct subscription service. Another that tried to add PDA functions was discontinued.

Geiser said the company has learned a lesson from those past mistakes: "We want the technology to be invisible," he said.

Richardson-based Fossil operates mall stores, makes its own watches and accessories under brands including Fossil and Relic, and holds licenses to make watches for DKNY, Emporio Armani and others.

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