With full display smartwatches from Fossil, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, and Diesel, it’s safe to say the Fossil Group is all-in when it comes to wearable tech (yes, for many fashion brands). Fossil took the wraps off its slimmest Android Wear watches yet in the form of the Q Venture and Q Explorist, designed for women and men respectively. All Fossil Group watches have been given an upgrade in terms of resolution, and the company has finally lost that flat tyre at the bottom of the AMOLED displays.
Aside from design and materials, which follow the lead of the respective brands, most of the differences lie in the built-in Micro Apps. Fossil watches are set to come with an arcade game pre-installed, while Diesel has an activity feature that fogs up the watch face the more you sit on your backside. Michael Kors also enables you to create watch faces from Instagram snaps.
And it’s not just full display. Hybrids from Fossil include impressive debuts from Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and DKNY, as well as updates from Skagen and Fossil itself. The hybrids still feature fitness tracking and smart notifications for calls and messages, but now the side buttons can be mapped to functions such as remote selfie shutter control and “find my phone.”
During Baselworld, the company announced that every men’s quartz watch in the Michael Kors lineup would get a connected movement offering – be it full screen or hybrid – and it’s clear that its philosophy is now “smartwatches for everyone.” These will be available near the end of the year.
While the new Guess Connect Touch might be too bling for some, we’re finally getting more women’s smartwatches that are worth considering, especially in the hybrid category. While it’s not too big on features – NFC, heart rate monitor, and GPS are all shunned – Guess is instead opting for variety with its new Android Wear-powered smartwatch. There’s a trio of blingy styles and a host of Guess-specific watch faces, which is about the limit of Android Wear’s customization options. What’s more, it’s reasonably priced, starting at $300.
While there are 44mm sizes for men, there’s also a 41mm size for women, which makes Guess somewhat of a pioneer. TAG has made some bluster about slimming its connected movement down for women, but at 41mm for an Android Wear device, Guess is one of the few brands to make an Android Wear watch a wearable size for small wrists.
Alpina Comtesse Horological
Luxury Swiss watchmaker Alpina has joined the Baselworld smartwatch party, releasing the Comtesse Horological hybrid smartwatch for women. The company will offer four models of the connected smartwatch, allowing users to track fitness and sleep, and receive notifications for calls and emails. The new design again features a connected module created in collaboration with the MMT (Manufacture Modules Technologies) collective. We’re big fans of MMT’s tracking tech at Wareable, and its step and sleep tracking has reviewed well across Mondaine and Frederique Constant devices.
But there’s also the Seastrong Horological Smartwatch, and you can pick it up in any of its four colours (black, green, orange, and navy blue). Despite the undeniably sporty and rugged, man-friendly look, they all still retain enough style to match up nicely with a good suit. They feel like high-quality watches, and there’s no doubt they look every bit worth the €595 (around £480 or $600) it’ll cost to get your hands on one.
In total, there are four different lines and 24 variants in Kronaby’s impressive new line of hybrids. The Apex packs a 43mm body with a secondary dial that mirrors the Withings approach to hybrid smartwatches, showing your progress to your step goal. There’s also the 43mm Sekel, and down from that is the 38mm Carat and the similarly sized Nord. Pricing starts $425 and goes up to $636, certainly sitting at the premium end of the market.
But the real key here is the battery life. With Kronaby’s hybrid’s battery able to last two years, it’s showing even the biggest names in watchmaking and technology what’s possible from a connected movement.
While the Luxture’s slim 38mm body makes it look like a regular watch on the surface, its 24 LED lights that sit beneath the stainless steel bezel make this an entirely different smartwatch experience. It can pair up with your Android or iPhone to light up differently for incoming notifications, calls, or even the weather forecast, glowing and shining with an almost ethereal quality. It will also track ambient light to monitor the time you’ve spent outside, and comes with a UV sensor to keep you safe in the sun. As for the watch itself, that’ll be available from $500 just in time for the holidays.
The idea of lights illuminating throughout the day sounds like it would be a be a pretty big drain on battery, but CEO Jin Nonogami told us that it will be able to go for at least one week in standby mode and will offer wireless charging. While we can’t see the Veldt making much impression on the smartwatch market, we have to admire the sheer novelty.
Mondaine Helvetica Regular Smartwatch
It’s been two years since Mondaine helped popularise hybrid smartwatches, and the company is back at it again with the Helvetica Regular Smartwatch. Unlike its predecessor, the Helvetica No.1 Smart, the Regular has call and email notifications, which aims to bring a smidgen of extra smartness to the equation. Fitness-tracking smarts have again been overhauled, and you’ll now get alerts to help you get off the couch as well as the steps and sleep tracking.
The overhauled Mondaine keeps pace with the rest of the hybrid world, appealing to those looking for an extra dose of Swiss design for their connected watch. Adding in smartwatch notifications makes the Regular a good leap forward, and could help Mondaine maintain its position as the most desirable hybrid out there. The Helvetica Regular Smartwatch will launch in October for CHF 650, which currently translates to roughly $660.