chronos smartwatch fitness tracker wearables
Chronos Wearables retrofits traditional watches into smartwatches, claiming "the best wearable is the one you already wear". Chronos Wearables

A new device capable of turning any regular mechanical or digital watch into a smartwatch has been developed by a US-based startup.

The Chronos Wearables hardware, which was on show at the Highway 1 accelerator's demo day in early June, comes in the form of a slim disk that attaches to the back of traditional watches through a technique known as 'microsuction'.

The device then syncs to a smartphone and delivers notifications to the wearer through vibrations and lights that appear from the edge of the watch.

"It's a super thin disk that uses microsuction to attach to the back of your watch," Mark Nichol, founder of Chronos Wearables, told IBTimes UK. "It delivers notifications from your phone, as well as tracking your health.

"[The Highway 1] demo was our soft launch. We'll be doing a pre-sale later this summer where we'll be announcing exciting partnerships with some hot watch brands."

Nichol claims that the Chronos device can fit 80% of watches currently on the market, however the company intends to build the technology directly into the backs of watches through partnerships with watch manufacturers.

Smartwatch adoption has so far been slow, even with the success of the Apple Watch launch earlier this year.

A study by mobile device analytics firm Canalys in February revealed that only around 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were shipped in 2014.

Apple is yet to release sales figures for the Apple Watch, but sales data around its launch estimated that 957,000 units were sold in the first two days. Despite outperforming Android Wear, this is still only a fraction of the sales that a new iPhone tends to see when it is launched.

Through its tagline of "the best wearable is the one you already wear", Chronos Wearables intends to address this poor smartwatch adoption by attracting customers unwilling to give up their traditional wristwatches.