It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Omate, a very early French maker of smart watches. Two things made Omate interesting: it had raised more than $1 million in crowdfunding, and it was the first company to build a watch that included its own SIM card, and therefore didn’t require a phone as a communications hub. The last we wrote about Omate, it was announcing the Omate X, a fairly stylish watch that abandoned the idea of direct connection to the cell network.
In the eight or so months since, Omate has announced several products, including a sport watch and a delicate-looking watch designed for women. And although Omate cut a distribution deal (PDF) with The Richline Group — a Berkshire Hathaway (read: Warren Buffett) company that manufactures and distributes to the mass jewelry market — we could see no evidence that it was actually shipping products.
Omate said today that had been accepted into the 500Startups incubator in Mountain View, and that it was relocating operations to the United States. Going the incubator route seems like an odd thing for a company that had such independent fundraising success and a key distribution deal but, as we’ve noted before, hardware is hard — and if mentoring and a money infusion will help Omate ship good products in volume, then we’re all for it.