The idea of wristwatch communication is at least as old as, well, Chester Gould and Dick Tracy. Apple may have taken all the air out of the market with hardly a word and without a product, but the NYTimes points out that until now it’s been the more-or-less-anonymous Casio that’s done most of the grunt work in connected watches.
I remember a Timex Datalink watch from 20 years ago that imported calendar and alarm data from Outlook or some other Microsoft PIM by being held up to flickering lines on a computer monitor. The watch was pretty ungainly and the whole process was kludgy (though thank God it didn’t require a cable). As a first step, though? Pretty hot stuff.
Even that wasn’t utterly new. Someone, a few years previous, put a pager in a wristband, with a metal band that circumnavigated the wrist as the antenna. I don’t remember who, and I don’t remember what it used for a battery. (Comments welcome on this.) Very uncomfortable, but even in the 90s it was more elegant than this.