A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists Contributed by James Stables of Wareable.com for aBlogtoWatch

Dear watch-loving friends, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I come in peace. I’m the co-founder of Wareable, a site dedicated to the world of wearable tech and smartwatches. This year was my fourth trip to Baselworld – my third hunting for wearables – and I left a broken man, after a deluge of smartwatches and hybrid devices that announced the arrival of technology into the world of watches. A corner was turned this year, and we got a sign that connected watches are here to stay.

Up to this moment, the smartwatch market has been the preserve of the tech crew. The first modern smartwatches (we’re not talking 1980s Casios or 1990s Microsoft numbers) were from Samsung, LG, and Motorola – tech brands through and through. Add Apple into the mix, and you can see where the market has been – until now.

That ended in 2017. While it wasn’t the first introduction of smartwatches from the luxury watch world – TAG Heuer among others had been dabbling – the deluge of connected watches in the heart of watchmaking country showed that the movement (as it were) has graduated, at least out of its freshman year.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

And it’s Google that’s flavor of the month. It’s managed to woo the likes of TAG Heuer, Fossil, Movado, and Guess, who have all opted to jump on board its Android Wear smartwatch operating system project. Android Wear enables users to view notifications, access thousands of apps and receive contextual updates curating information on commutes and calendar appointments with Google Maps traffic data – and has just received a major update.

And this mass influx to Google’s OS has changed the landscape substantially. For the past two years, Apple has ruled the roost with the Apple Watch, while Google has struggled to get traction. But now with the backing of some of the biggest names in luxury watchmaking, we’re backing Google to turn the tables on Apple, and leave the smartwatch market looking a lot more vibrant in 2017.

But it’s not just full smartwatches. Hybrids – analog watches with connected smarts built into the case – are also gaining traction, slotting neatly into the vacuum between consumer interest in wearable features and the desire for classic design. So much so that Michael Kors announced that every one of its men’s watches will soon have a connected variant, alongside the quartz.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

To mark this huge change, we’ve compiled a list of notable smartwatches introduced so far in 2017. It’s not complete - the Fossil Group is well on its way to launching 300 smartwatches this year already - but the big watch brands just gave us a glimpse of the future of smartwatches, and it looks uncannily similar to today’s luxury market. So, now with Baselworld behind us and a solid number of smartwatch releases out there, we figured it's a good time to recap what 2017 has presented so far.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45

The second generation of TAG Heuer’s Connected, the Modular 45 gets its name from its ability to change not only the straps but various other components as well. Android Wear 2.0 is on board, as well as GPS and NFC to give it a more standalone vibe. With prices starting at $1,500, it’s filled to the brim with sensors, with an accelerometer, gyroscope, tilt detection sensor, and ambient light sensor. It’s heavy on tech as well as sporting serious design chops.

It’s another strong effort from TAG, and packs in much more tech than its rivals. With GPS on board, coupled with changeable straps, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 is aimed at the gym-goer as much as the traditional TAG Heuer buyer.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

Movado Group

A trio of smartwatches from Movado showed that the company is serious about tech, and its adoption of Android Wear makes its latest efforts a step above last year’s questionable efforts with HP.

The trend in smartwatches has been to make the bezel a feature of the design – just like "proper" watches – but not the Movado Connect. Using edge-to-edge glass, it looks less traditional and shares more of a design ethic with the Apple Watch - and at $495, it costs more too. Android Wear 2.0 and NFC are again the tech headliners, and we felt the gold-lugged and gunmetal versions packed more class than the bog-standard black.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

Elsewhere, we got a glimpse at the terribly named Hilfiger TH24/7You and were immediately impressed. Google’s Android Wear 2.0 is on board, although NFC has been shunned. With its $299 price tag at launch in August 2017, it undercuts most of its competitors.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

And not to be out-done, the $395 Hugo Boss Touch also got an outing. Sporting ionized carbon plating it looks the business and comes with Android Wear 2.0 and NFC for contactless payments.

None of Movado's stable of smartwatches really boast revolutionary tech, but it’s the design and price that really make them stand out. Clearly aimed at existing customers who are looking to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon, rather than competing with big name devices, the Tommy Hilfiger’s competitive price tag could make it a cult hero of the smartwatch world. These will be available around August 2017.

A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far ABTW Editors' Lists

Montblanc Summit

The Montblanc Summit marks the company’s first dive into smartwatches. Built from stainless steel and titanium, the device is based on its 1858 Summit collection, and uses a curved sapphire crystal for the first time. What’s more, you can choose between four different styles and eight potential straps. At the heart of the device is Android Wear 2.0 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip with 4GB of storage also on board. A heart rate monitor and motion sensor are also surprise additions for fitness, but there’s no GPS for accurate run tracking and NFC for mobile payments is also a no-show. The Montblanc summit will be $890 in steel and $1,090 in titanium.

  • BNABOD

    Look “smart” watches …. Want one…the answer is still no.

    • prestonjb

      I say like to your comment.. but alas I’m a sw wearer…

      I guess I was wearing a Casio when you slanted them too 😉

  • Luciano

    Boring. Irrelevant. Next!

  • SuperStrapper
  • Raymond Wilkie

    Car reviews and ” smart ” watches, when will this madness end !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwMVMbmQBug

  • Yan Fin

    Nice article. Irrelevant for this website. Please keep schnitzels and flies separately. Thanks a lot in advance.

  • Andrew Buckley

    As I’ve said before, these may be “smart”, but they are not “watches”. My microwave oven tells the time, but it is not a watch.

    • Heath

      Actually Andrew, these absolutely are watches. The reason your microwave is not a watch despite telling the time, is because it is not small or portable, nor does wrap around your wrist or fit in your pocket. Is your mobile phone not a phone because it offers other functions? No.
      Smart watch is an accurate name.

      • Andrew Buckley

        Right, so let me follow your argument to its logical conclusion. If I were somehow able to render my microwave oven sufficiently portable to wear on my wrist, it would be a watch would it? Err…no. You are confusing the miniaturisation of technology with the art of watchmaking.

        • Heath

          Well yes and no. Depending on its primary function. It sounds like you’ve developed a micro-microwave rather than a watch, but I suppose one could argue it is also a watch. I am however, not confusing it at all. Nowhere is it written that a watch must be made up of – exclusively – moving mechanical parts. A watch’s primary function is to tell time, and fit in your pocket or on your wrist (ideally). Otherwise it may be classified as a clock.

          • Andrew Buckley

            All this talk of “functionality” is so depressing. What spiritually and aesthetically impoverished lives you must all lead. The primary reason I wear a watch is not to tell the time (my mobile phone does that far more efficiently). For me (and for many others, I suspect), a watch is a piece of jewellery. It is designed to enhance your appearance, to make you feel good about yourself, to attract members of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if you’re that way inclined), to display your knowledge, wealth and taste. I’m sorry if that sounds shallow, but at least I’m being honest. A smartwatch does none of these things. It just makes you look like a dork.

          • Heath

            I agree with you completely. I’d much prefer a classic style “mechanical” watch. That and a wedding ring are probably the two most important things a man will wear. I certainly won’t be buying a smart watch.

          • If attracting the opposite sex and improved appearance are the things you’re after, I’d recommend an Aston Martin. It is just as expensive as some jewelry watches and it’s a magnet for the other thing to the degree you will need a 10 foot stick to keep some away.

          • Andrew Buckley

            I’m shallow, but not that shallow…oh, go on then…I’ll take the Aston Martin!

          • Shinytoys

            Spiritually and aesthetically impoverished lives you say ??? I have Anoushka Shankar sitting next to me knocking out a magnificent rendition of “My Sweet Lord”. I am blessed, centered, have found my Chi, and I am full of enlightenment. The future of smart watches awaits…

          • Andrew Buckley

            My tongue was firmly in my cheek…honest!

          • Shinytoys

            as was mine…have a fine week Andrew !

          • Shinytoys

            P.S. I Got You !!!!!!!!!! 🙂

          • Sevenmack

            Seriously. If you are looking to inanimate objects as a way to make your life less impoverished, then you need to pick up a Bible, a Talmud, some Buddhist texts and a lot of Aristotle. Because objects don’t contribute one way or another to a spiritual life, while the sole or predominant focus on them leads to spiritual and moral impoverishment.

          • BNABOD

            Did someone say micro-microwave…wait where can I get one ?

        • If you would squeeze in one of those walkmans I heard about you’d have a winner!

    • Sevenmack

      The objectively provable basic function of a watch is to tell time. This is what smartwatches do, the same as traditional watches. The fact that smartwatches have additional functions that aren’t traditional as a chronograph or minute repeater doesn’t negate their objectively provable basic function as a timetelling tool.

      • Andrew Buckley

        Please see my response below. Furthermore, I would absolutely dispute that the “objectively provable basic function” of a smart watch is to tell the time. Moreover, you are reducing the debate to one of pure functionality. You must live in a very dull world.

        • Sevenmack

          I’m a watch collector, so no, I don’t focus on pure functionality alone. But I also deal with that stubborn thing called facts. Just because smartwatches don’t fit your preferences doesn’t mean they are not watches. This is because objectively provable basic function exist regardless of our preferences. Especially since horology is defined in every dictionary as the science and measurement of time, which includes all of the various technologies involved in it. Preferences are not facts, and you should understand this, you intellectual dullard.

          As for “art of watchmaking”: Some of the most artistic watches that have debuted in recent years are smartwatches. The Apple Watch, the FitBit Charge 2 and the Suunto Kailash are some of the best examples of modern design, offering elegant solutions to longstanding problems such as the spring bar approach to watch straps. The fact that you cannot open your mind to any of this is a preference matter.

          • Andrew Buckley

            Yes. It’s all personal opinion, of course…which is what makes this forum what it is!

          • Sevenmack

            Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But opinions that actually concede facts are deserving of greater consideration than those merely based on preferences. This is because in the real world, even in the age of Trump and Brexit, facts do matter.

          • Andrew Buckley

            Yes, but opinion is so much more fun. Facts have a tendency to get in the way…

    • prestonjb

      That’s like the argument of gasoline car vs diesel made by the former top-gear team. (That diesel cars are not cars)

      • Andrew Buckley

        That now seems to be the view of the UK Government as well!

      • Gokart Mozart

        I agree with that.

        These items above are wearable smart devices.

    • Of course your microwave oven is not a watch – it’s a clock. Cheers.

      • Andrew Buckley

        Yes, you’re absolutely right. As noted on this forum before, my attempts to wear my microwave oven on my wrist have so far met with utter failure.

  • Marius
  • Word Merchant

    None of them are good enough yet, are they? And if you want proper iPhone integration, you’re stuck with Apple’s poorly designed offering. Everything else is Android Wear; seen one, seen them all.

    • EDDIMUNDO

      Gear S3 is the only worth wearing, hoping Samsung builds up the ecosystem

      • Word Merchant

        Ah yes – good point. I’d forgotten about Samsung and their Tizen OS. I had the chance to take a look at a colleague’s Gear S3, and it is definitely the finest of a mediocre bunch – the rotating Bezel UI works very well indeed, and the screen is best in class – as usual with Samsung. But I can’t help feeling that smart watches now are the LED watches of our time – all of them are ‘in beta’ if you like, and it’ll take 2-3 years before we see anything really worth considering.

        As far as the Swiss incumbents go, I have to give Tag a little credit for trying to give a smart watch a more premium look and feel, but the Montblanc Summit is still a gruesome joke – truly the Franklin Mint of smart watches.

  • EDDIMUNDO

    Forgot to mention Samsung’s smart watches

    • prestonjb

      I believe the intent of the article is watches from non-tech companies

      But smart watches from traditional watch makers

  • Bozzor

    I can see some of the controversy brewing below! End of the day, if we classify a watch worthy of ABTW attention as having to be mechanical, made by Swiss virgin gnomes humming a polka whilst they polish the 18ct case with hand tools before it’s put on sale for the price of a 3 week group orgy with 15 Playboy Playmates on a Bora Bora beach, then it’s going to be a site with a very limited appeal. Like it or not, smartwatches do have a place and a role, one that will be increasing over the next few years. Sure, many people will resist them until their dying breath, just as many people balk at paying $85,000 for a watch that tells the time less accurately than a $900 Casio. But they are all watches, just very different interpretations on what people want…or can be convinced to want or think they need. Don’t agree? Skip the article, wait for the next Arnold & Son review and save your pennies!

  • ??????

    A Look At Smartwatches In 2017 So Far: Dull. Useless. Dull again.

  • Shinytoys

    I’m happy to see the improvements and evolution in smartwatches. The article is well written, and gives us a look at current technology and what we may expect in the future. I, for one, would love any watch that would give me full capabilities of my Samsung S7, as long as I can leave my brick of a phone at home. If I’m bothered by the lack of mechanical fixings inside a smart watch, I’ll wear a hybrid, or a smart phone watch on my one wrist, my mechanical on the other…already seen it done.

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Well written and well-featured.
    Thanks for the info. It looks like a return to what is traditionally considered a ‘wrist-watch look.’

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    For me the Alpina approach is the best of 2 worlds. The look and feel of a mechanical watch with sensors that send information to your phone. Simple.

  • Mark1884

    Wrist device – not wrist watch!
    NEXT……>

  • Ulysses31

    An interesting bunch of watch-simulators. Most of them are, by their very nature, skeuomorphic travesties. Some are regular watches with smart internals which I don’t mind as much. They should be priced to move, because no one is going to want them at traditional luxury watch prices. Michael Kors has the right idea here. The Swiss branding won’t make much difference to what people are willing to pay. A fake, flat-screen replica of a traditional watch dial will never look as nice as what it is trying to emulate. Instead, embrace the computerised nature of the beast. Multiple read-outs, sensor information, and all those things that mechanical watches can’t possibly replicate, should be front-and-centre on a smartwatch. That might make them more relevant to the consumer.

    • gadgety

      “The Swiss branding won’t make much difference to what people are willing to pay.”

      TAG’s original Connected reportedly sold 56,000 copies at a base price of $1500… while for example the ASUS Zenwatch 3 sold roughly the same amount, at a base price of $229. I suspect the branding makes a difference.

  • Tony NW

    I own a Pebble. It’s a great “smart watch”, but not really classy. And that’s the problem.

    But another problem is when people call Alpina a “luxury” brand. It’s entry-level lux, or mid-range. Same category as Christopher Ward or Sinn or Stowa. Not luxury.

    I do disagree that these are not “watches”. Some of my fondest memories are with an original T.I. red-LED digital, back in the 1970s. You could -watch- the time go by. Andrew Buckley stated, with tongue firmly in one of his body parts (he and I would disagree as to which; check his post below), that a watch must be aesthetically appealing. I like some of the faces I can put on the Pebble. But then again, the world is clearly filled with different standards for female beauty also, or else we’d all look about the same.

    So here’s what I like about mechanicals… they’re an affront to computers, a hearkening back to a simpler time and a celebration of craftsmanship. But what they are not is… as accurate, as reliable, as flexible, as informative.

    But guess what… I am currently wearing a quartz watch … An Audi (yes, the car maker) watch that bears some strong resemblance to, and was probably made by, Skagen. But with a 24-hour hand also (which I love as both a second timezone and a 24-hour hand), and a second sub-dial. And a really cool case design with a complex (probably mineral) crystal.

    It’s not my #1 watch. Which, oddly, is my Christopher Ward C5 Mk II. Or #2, which is my Seiko cocktail. Or my #3, a 1965 or so Bulova wind-up. Or my #4, a Luminox Big Date Blue quartz alarm watch with tritium hands and a Ronda two-hand-in-a-sub-dial alarm watch. Or my #5, a Swatch Sistem 51 in green. But it is in the top six! And two of the top six are quartz. And few would consider the plastic Swatch a masterpiece of snobbery.

    (The Pebble is just after.)

    The cool thing? All of these are entry drugs. Enjoy.

  • I Like Apple Watch at Price $495.

  • watchman

    A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing the post.. folks are universes best individual in every existences of individual..they need or must succeed to manage needs of the crew. http://smartwatchpalace.com/product-category/brands/alpina/