“I love it. People just don’t believe it’s a personal alarm watch. I’m not embarrassed to wear it and in fact I get a lot of compliments”
Many people have heard about or experienced personal alarms – little pendants worn around the neck or on the wrist that have an SOS button for use in emergency – but the Companion Watch has a slightly different approach. They haven’t compromised safety for appearance, usability, or the wearer’s dignity.
On the surface, the Companion Watch just looks like a normal watch. It has all the features you expect from a watch: a watch face, hands, crown, a lovely leather strap, however, beneath this elegant exterior there are some smart things going on. The Companion Watch boasts a host of smart features including an SOS button, two-way call feature, automatic fall detection, GPS locating and even a heart rate monitor. All of these features work to improve the safety, independence and health of the wearer, as well as the reassurance of family members.
So, not only will the watch automatically call through a list of pre-chosen contacts should it detect a fall, but family members can log into an online portal (desktop or mobile) and see information on heart rate, location, activity, respiratory rate, and the battery level of the watch. If you choose to add additional sensors in the home then the watch can even give feedback on where the wearer has been – vital for early discovery of UTIs for example, where a wearer might be visiting the bathroom more.
It’s not just the watch itself that goes above and beyond. With every purchase you get the option of a free video call with a support specialist to help guide you through the watch features and to answer any questions you may have.
What is most impressive is not so much that this watch has all these features – there are devices out there that have similar ones – but that it is able to do all of them without compromising on design or, more importantly, the sense of individuality and self-respect. From design to support calls the wearer is included and treated as a person. Empowering the user to live safely and independently is the name of the game. It can be adjusted to reflect the needs and abilities of the wearer too – be that disabling sounds and alerts to reduce confusion and anxiety for people with dementia or add geofence alerts for managing wandering concerns.
We also handed the Companion Watch over to Roey, 89, to try the watch out and give us her thoughts. Roey has tried out personal alarms for us in the past and has been using one for the past half a year. She is active and loves getting out and about. You can read her review a little further down the page.
We know that the people you really want to hear from are the type of people who will actually use the product, which is why we have a panel of older people who thoroughly review them. After using the Companion Watch for over a week we caught up with her to get her thoughts:
Brilliant. It hasn’t left my wrist! No one has noticed that it’s anything other than a normal watch but are amazed when I start showing off the features - and in fact it has passed the fashion test from my two granddaughters! It’s comfortable and I love that there are options for changing the appearance. I started with the black one for testing but our dedicated Companion Support Specialist was also able to send out some more feminine options to try.
Honestly, sometimes I forgot I was even wearing it. I have quite small wrists but fortunately the strap fits me by using the last hole. I wore it day and night without thinking about it. I wore it in the shower and bath, and it only needed a quick dab with the towel and it was dry. The strap is very soft, softer than normal leather and the watch does not feel heavy.
Yes! I know with some personal alarms they don’t like you to put them near water but for me that’s when I’m most at risk of falling so when our dedicated Companion Support Specialist said we could wear it in the shower, and try it in the bath, I was most prepared to. Obviously, I didn’t push it by leaving my hand under water for long, but it coped fine if I needed to dip under quickly to retrieve the soap! I felt very relaxed wearing it. Like I say, just a quick dab with the towel and it was good to go.
Really good! I think I only needed to charge it once in the middle of eight days, and when I did I just popped it on the charging station, it made a happy noise and had a green light when it was charged to full. It felt like it took just only an hour.
Yes, I did although I hadn’t fallen. I did set it off a couple times when it was just on my wrist. Fortunately, it is really easy to cancel – you just press and hold the big crown on the side until you fill up the cancel bar. I’d prefer it to be sensitive and easy to cancel than not go off when I need it.
Now this was impressive. It was just like using a mobile. You wouldn’t realise you were listening through the watch. It’s loud so you don’t need to look silly holding it up to your ear and the microphone is sensitive, so I don’t need to hold it near my mouth.
If you click the crown twice you get shown a bar with your percentage marking your activity for the day. I’m happy if I’m hitting 80% everyday – it makes me feel like I’m getting on my feet enough but also gives me a little kick of achievement everyday! It also means my family can check up on me and make sure I’m not slobbing in front of the tennis all day!
Night and day. It beats my current SOS button on features and looks. I don’t feel embarrassed to wear it and actually I get a lot of compliments with it. It works wherever I am and calls my family first, not a monitoring centre. I think there is definitely an audience for those personal alarms but for me, the Companion Watch works a lot better.
Great fun! I’ll have another one of those! My support specialist was called Mark and he was very impressive! Although the session was only to cover the basic features of the watch Mark really knows his stuff and answered every question we had!
The box is simple, clean and smart. Feels very safe and I wouldn’t be worried about anything breaking in transit. Easy to open and to set up – just plug the charging dock in and set the watch on-top until it goes green! The instructions are better than a lot I’ve seen. The diagrams are clear and they don’t overcomplicate anything. The only comments I’d add is that they make it clear that the two buttons above and below the crown are touch sensitive and don’t work by pressing, and that you have to press and hold the crown (the button on the side) to cancel the fall alarm.
The whole thing for me is that it doesn’t look like what it is and what it does. I don’t feel like a liability wearing it and that my dignity has been compromised for safety and reassurance. I’m not embarrassed to wear it and I don’t think I’ll be taking it off anytime soon.
The Companion Watch can be purchased from the company web site companionwatch.com where you can choose the look of the watch that suits you. As part of the purchase a check will be made to ensure that the watch will work where the wearer lives. Once purchased the watch will be configured with details of who you want to receive calls.
The Companion Watch costs £295 which includes VAT, delivery, the video calling support session, 3 months free access to the Companion service (which includes voice and data network communication, alerts and alarms, watch and well-being analytics, service configuration as well as Companion technology help and support) and free UK support. After those first 3 months the service costs £25 a month for all of the above – well in line with other personal alarms’ monthly costs.