The Watson Backpack project on Kickstarter is changing some rules in backpacks. And their approach may change your mind too. The Watson from Function is more sophisticated and refined bag than their competition.
We decided to delve a little deeper in on the Watson Backpack project. And by the end, we’ll give you our unfettered thoughts on the Watson project.
The Watson Backpack for Urban Professionals
The goal of an exceptional backpack was primary for the Function Design team. The team spent 12 months honing the Watson backpack for “knowledge workers.”
Whether they mean information technology workers, or an everyday professional backpack for men, I just wasn’t certain. But, it’s not mental gymnastics. They’re aiming for the professional backpack crowd with style and taste with their backpack.
I will say that they have some unique features in their backpack. And their feature-rich backpack matches their aim to create something special for an everyday backpack.
The History of The Watson Bag
Watson’s founder, Valerie Crisp is a third-generation entrepreneur. Valerie, inspired to leave her mark on the design world, came up with a great concept for a bag.
The Watson started out as a thoughtful gift for her partner Nikolai. Today, it has transformed into what is now the Watson Backpack.
There are distinct differences between typical backpacks and Crisp’s design.
What Are The Differences Between a Normal and Watson Backpack?
12 months to design this backpack may seem a bit much. But, to the design team’s credit, they have included a unique feature in their bag design.
At first glance, this backpack looks amazing. The Watson Backpack has a stiff material component to shape the bag. This may have been the to the design teams’ goal for a rigid specification.
Now, It’s not so different from other hard shell backpacks to the point where it looks silly.
In fact, it follows a standard hard-shell framework. But don’t worry, it comes with a few surprises. The black on black hard shell exterior makes the bag look futuristic. Unlike a piece of luggage, the bag uses a flexible polypropylene to create a firm and rigid exterior.
At the same time, it still looks professional whether out and about or in a business meeting. Sleek, efficient, and durable–three great qualities I can already tell this bag has.
What Makes the Watson Backpacks Special?
One of the most interesting features is a one-touch access to their backpack. So, the idea is that you can open the backpack without any zippers. Instead, you have a lockable access button. This creates a certain amount of extra security for your belongings. The backpack seems reminiscent of a micro hardshell backpack.
In all fairness, I could see that this would work well if the dimensions are correct. But until I see the final product in person, I’ll hold off reaching any final conclusions.
An appealing feature of the Watson backpack is its fabrics. The Function Design team is using a waterproof ballistic nylon on the exterior of the bag. At the same time, they’re using an interior rip-stop nylon. These fabric choices are standard for high quality backpacks. The Watson is starting with quality materials, which is great to see.
These backpacks are great for people that need a bag for business meetings and everyday use rather than a travel backpack. An interesting note: high-end backpack manufacturers use the same materials. These materials help keep the design of the bag professional and protect your gear. Also, Don’t confuse this backpack with the OGIO Watson or bandit.
The Watson Is Modern with a Technology Focus
As you can see from the video, the f Watson backpack is technology focused with their mod. The design team tailored the bag for laptop cords, chargers, and other notebooks. They also lined the pockets to protect all your high-tech gear from scratches. This also minimizes their movement while inside the bag.
Like larger hard-shell counterparts, it can stand upright and keep its form. A huge plus is the waterproof ballistic nylon and vinyl bottom that should keep the inside dry. My only concern is that some vinyl bottoms crack and peel when the fabric is made incorrect.
And the Design of the Bag?
A couple of interesting things left out of this bag’s design aren’t exactly negatives.
Usually, a carry-on bag has a pass through, which makes it easy to attach your normal luggage. Yet, the Watson Backpack doesn’t have the option to attach to a rolling piece of luggage.
Now this might be a turnoff for frequent business travelers that are spending a lot of time at the airport. But, let’s be honest, if the bag is sleek, utilitarian and well-designed that’s a small price to pay. Note: The backpack meets airline carry-on dimensions. There is a pocket to store keys, a wallet and phone might be a huge positive while at the airport.
I’d like to add that the design team didn’t do something foolish like trying to add a combination lock to the bag. That seems to be a tactic to imply safety, but helps little. In reality if someone wants what is inside your bag, they’ll steal it if there’s an opportunity.
A nice thing is that the weight of the backpack is coming in at 2.7 pounds (or a little over 1.2 Kg).
And with its dimensions, this bag may be able to hold all your daily essentials.
Another cool feature is that it can hold your DSLR camera and keep it protected with its hard exterior.
Plus, the Watson backpack has some quick drop pockets. This allows you to keep your keys, wallet, and phone at hand without opening the entire bag.
And as a bonus they have on- the-go charging. An integrated cord system connects an external battery to the main compartment. It’s accessible through the back pocket and that is a huge plus for professional always on the go.
The design team claims that it’s built for carrying your belongings 365 days a year. I do believe that this is the type of everyday carry-on backpack that you might want. According to the design team, the system spreads weight across the entire back panel. As a result, the backpack ensures comfort for the entire day.
On top of that, they’re using NASA memory foam to improve your posture. At the same time, it has a suspended mesh ventilation system to maximizing airflow. This is a huge positive for people that wear suits or dress shirts to work. The last thing you want while wearing a backpack is a sweaty back.
What Person Should Have the Watson?
This bag is for people at a more professional job. This bag is accessible to anybody that wants a high-quality bag. But, with the price point marked over $200, that will limit the amount of people that can afford a Watson backpack. But, the Function Design team is quick to point out that good-quality products cost money.
Let’s Be Honest About Professional Backpacks
The Watson backpack looks sleek and well-designed. I think the design team deserves a lot of praise on their initial concept and forward thinking. I’m excited to take a look at the pack once they’ve begun manufacturing. I’m excited about a stiff hard shell type of backpack which creates a more durable backpack. This could be revolutionary.
Yet the other side of me is skeptical. One of the great things about an everyday backpack is the flexibility of the fabric. Placing articles inside a fabric backpack allows the use to be more flexible on a day to day basis. Yet, with the Watson Backpack, the dimensions are static at 17 x 10.5 x 6.5”
According to their Kickstarter page, the capacity of the backpack is 18 Liters. That size is a smaller to midsize size range backpack. And it seems as the capacity has been shrunk by making the bag silhouette smaller in width than most bags. This backpack is smaller in size than other professional backpacks on the market. But it appears that the design team has taken a lot of these factors into account.
What’s the Price of the Watson?
Here’s the skinny. The Watson backpack will have a retail price of $450 after Kickstarter. But it’s available on Kickstarter it’s available for US$219.50.
It may be on the more expensive side of backpacks, but if executed correctly, it could be well worth the price tag.
What Kind of Warranty Does It Have?
I have to give the Watson backpack team a lot of credit for supporting their backpack with a one-year warranty.
A lot of new companies won’t do that, then again most companies don’t have the design that the Function team has.
What About International Shipping?
Function will ship the bag throughout North America at no added cost. But, shipping international will incur VAT and extra charges when shipping international.
It should be straightforward in countries like Japan, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe including the UK, Germany, France and Ireland.
Final Thoughts on the Watson Backpack
There may be some design issues that need to be address with the Watson, but that’s normal. I’m interested in how this bag performs in the day-to-day life of people. I’ll have to wait until then to address it with another post.
From what I’ve seen, the Function team made every design decision with the needs of today’s executives in mind. From fabric choices to safe compartments, this bag’s smart usability and design are ideal. This thoughtful attention to detail is sure to pay off if they can nail the manufacturing.
I’m hoping they get it right, and I wish them the best of luck.