New watch, the luxury version of Pebble’s smartwatch, looks a lot like Apple’s device coming next week

Pebble has launched a new smartwatch, the Time Steel, intended to take on the Apple Watch ahead of its launch next week.

The Steel is the luxury version of the Pebble Time, which was announced two weeks ago. It has since become the most highly-funded project on Kickstarter ever, raising over $15 million in a few days.

The Steel adds a more luxury look — a shinier metal around the watch face, and more plush straps — but preserves the central features of the watch.

The new watch has a colour display, a new slimmer design and a microphone. It is thought to be an attempt to see off the challenge from the Apple Watch, which will be launched on Monday.

The Steel’s look is very similar to Apple’s smartwatch, and much of the publicity material mirrors that of the new Apple device. Some have speculated that the company is intentionally aligning itself with the Apple Watch, offering a cheaper alternative with much more battery life.

Because the Pebble smartwatches have an e-ink display, similar to the one found in a Kindle, its battery last for days rather than hours, as in many competitors. Apple’s watch is expected to last for only a couple of hours of heavy use.