They say you can’t keep a good entrepreneur down and eternal optimist Vincent Dupontreué is surely living proof of that. Coming out of nowhere just a few years ago, Dupontreué made waves with the launch of his highly unusual Breva Genie 01 watch, complete with in-built mechanical weather station. This was followed up by the launch of a further two models, the Genie 02 and 03 respectively, both of which were very well received.
High-end watchmaking is a highly competitive, cut-throat business however and for reasons undisclosed the Breva brand has been put on hiatus for the time being – whether that’s permanent or not remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though; Dupontreué is not just twiddling his thumbs while he waits. Instead, he’s been busy on his next project, a Solar Powered Smart Wireless Speaker called the California Roll which is seeking funding on Kickstarter right now.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Dupontreué before – or even just held a Breva watch for that matter – then you probably know that he really cares about three things; design, quality and innovation. Endlessly curious, he has always been fascinated with technology, hence the unusual direction he decided to take with his high-end watch brand (he did after all create the world’s first wristwatch to be equipped with a functional speedometer that provides “real-time” speed indication – the Genie 03.)
The California Roll
With the California Roll it looks like Dupontreué has adopted the same approach often seen in high-end watchmaking. In other words he has over-engineered the heck out of this thing, resulting in a truly impressive end of product. Combining 3D sound quality with voice activated technology the speaker is also equipped with solar panel technology developed by NASA.
Did I mention it’s waterproof too?
Designed to be taken with you just about anywhere you go in the wide blue yonder – think camping, fishing, sailing, skiing, sun-bathing, skinny dipping, you name it – the California Roll draws all its energy from that fiery ball in the sky. Best of all, it stores any unused energy so you can you also simultaneously use it to charge your other electrical items – like your phone – while you’re rocking out to your favorite tunes.
It takes about 7.5 hours for the sun to fully charge the battery but if you’re in a hurry (or somewhere dark) it’s also possible to charge the unit via a Micro USB which takes about 4.5 hours. Check out the video below for a full run-down:
As cool as all the technical features are though, what really captured my attention was the design. You may not know this but Dupontreué was a very successful fashion designer earlier in his career before selling his eponymous brand. As such style is always a key element in everything he does. What I really like though is that he values functional style. This means he doesn’t do things just because they look good, they also need to serve a purpose. The California Roll is no exception, with the oval shape ensuring it easy to handle and also easy to situate. The last thing you want to be worried about when you’re out enjoying the Great Outdoors is a finding a stable place to put your speaker.
Unfortunately I can’t speak to the sound quality yet as the speakers are yet to go into mass production – hence the whole Kickstarter campaign. Judging by the specifications though and the videos on the Kickstarter page, it seems like a pretty safe bet that they will sound amazing. To be fair though there’s really only one way to find out and that’s to put your money where your mouth is and back the campaign. As of writing the team has raised roughly 52% of its $100k goal and there is still 13 days to go. So if you’re in the market for a new wireless speaker that can literally do it all then be sure to check them out. Here’s the link for the Kickstarter campaign: www.kickstarter.com/projects/388396404/california-roll-0/description
- Bluetooth version: 4.1, transmitter distance at least 100 ft, 30 M (line of sight)
- Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
- Transducers: (use 1.75 inch, with passive radiator, IPX7)
- Stereo 2ch x10W amp
- Battery type: Lithium Polymer (3.7Vdc, 5000mAh)
- Full Battery play time > 20 hrs (Song Hotel California 1/2 Volume for smartphones)
- Micro USB 5Vdc 2.3A, Battery charge time: < 4.5 hrs
- Connections: Aux-in, Micro-USB for Charge In, USB Charge Out (5V 2.1A Max)
- Solar cells: 9 custom made solar wafers in silicium. Battery charge time: < 7.5 hrs
- Bluetooth Audio Receiver automation pairing with phones and tablets