Traditional watchmakers are gradually dragging their watch brands into the 21st century.
Analogue or hybrid watches are classic looking timepieces that combine the look and functionality of a traditional watch with abilities that are evident in today’s smartwatches. Discreetly housed in the casing of these devices is technology that keeps tabs on your daily activity and sleep metrics. Some even display smartphone notifications.
CSS Insight projects a large proportion of future wearables growth to be driven by a rise in smart analogue watches. Existing manufacturers are expected to broaden their product offering, while traditional watchmakers will enter this space as they try to cling on to their share of the global market.
Baselworld, the world’s premier event for watch and jewellery makers, runs for a few more days. The show has offered us a glimpse on what to expect later this year, and there is a lot to get excited about. Many of the top watch brands are debuting time-pieces that are taking advantage of a host of new features and supports Android Wear 2.0 has to offer. And hybrid watches are taking centre stage at this year’s event.
Essential reading: Top 25 smartwatches and hybrids of Baselworld 2017
Many of these timepieces will not roll out until the second half or end of this year, but this does not mean you have to wait. If you are in the market for a smartwatch right now but prefer the classic look of an analog timepiece, one of these may be for you.
If you want smart tracking along with self-expression, look no further than the Withings Steel HR.
Like its predecessors, the French outfit’s wearable looks like a standard analogue watch. It takes much of what was great about the Activite range and upgrades it with new features including a heart rate monitor and a digital display for smartphone notifications.
This means you can expect to get information on steps, distance, calories, activity (including swimming) and sleep. The main novelty for an analogue type device is the addition of heart rate monitoring. Real-time heart rate info is displayed on the watch during your exercise, and more detailed info including time spent in heart rate zones can be seen in the app. The watch also tracks resting heart rate, one of the most important metrics to assess overall health over time.
The rechargeable battery will keep Steel HR going for up to 25 days, the best battery life for a heart monitoring activity tracker available. After that, it will keep plodding along for another 20 days with limited functionality in power save mode.
If you are looking for a classy smart watch with discreet activity tracking features, the Withings Steel is probably as good as it gets. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a budget option, its worth having a look at the Activite Pop. It provides much of the same functionality, but without the heart rate monitoring and expensive design.
The latest wearable by Misfit is an analogue smartwatch called the Phase, a classic looking timepiece with a simple design. The 41mm case is crafted from cutting-edge materials including satin aluminum and stainless steel.
The watch automatically tracks steps, distance, calories, and light and restful sleep. It then wirelessly sends all this information to your smartphone where you can see detailed graphs of your activity. You can also view your daily progress on the always on watch display.
Vibration alerts will notify you of calls, texts, alarms and custom app notifications. There is a small hole at the bottom of the display which shows different colored discs depending on the type of notification.
Don’t worry about charging the Phase. Just like most analogue smartwatches, it features a non-charging, replaceable coin cell battery that lasts around 6 months. The watch is showerproof and swimproof to depths of 50 meters.
If you are a fan of the minimalist looking design and are after basic fitness tracking, it might be an option worth considering. If not, you might want to pass on this one.
Garmin’s first stab at a stylish analogue watch combines a traditional design with function, monitoring fitness activity and reminding users when they’ve been inactive too long.
The watch-face features two bars that allow you to view you step progress and inactivity at a glance. Vivomove also estimates calories burned and tracks how well you’ve slept by monitoring movement and restlessness.
Vivomove syncs with the Garmin Connect Mobile app where you can track your trends, join online challenges or see how you stack up against friends. You will also receive Garmin Connect Insights, smart wellness insights personalized to help you reach your goals.
Garmin’s analogue timepiece is available in a variety of interchangeable models: the Vivomove sport, Vivomove classic with leather straps, and the more upscale Vivomove premium with leather straps and full steel body. It also comes in a variety of fashionable case finishes including black, white, rose gold-tone, stainless steel, and gold-tone.
Fossil Group is at the forefront of the analogue smartwatch trend, having launched around 150 smartwatches last year. This includes hybrids across its many accessory brands such Emporio Armani, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Diesel and Chaps. As incredible as it may sound, this year they are doubling up and releasing 300 connected timepieces.
The Fossil Q series consists of a number of analogue smartwatches including the Q Nate, Q Crewmaster, Q Gazer and Q Tailor. The smart features in this product lineup include: activity tracking, sleep monitoring, custom goal setting, automatic time zone and dual time monitoring, alarm, filtered notifications (with vibration and dial animations) and more.
The main dial on the watch shows the time, while a secondary dial shows how close you are to reaching your daily goal. There are also some smart controls, so you can ring your phone, or operate and control music by pressing the bottom button.
All four watches provide the same functionality, but with different styles. There are also many options for personalization including interchangeable straps in leather, silicone and stainless steel.
If price is not an issue, the Mondaine Helvetica No.1 Smart is probably the best looking smart analogue watch you can buy today.
Its not, however, all about looks. The timepiece provides decent fitness tracking features as well. It will keep tabs on your daily steps, calories burned and total distance. Setting a fitness goal is easy, simply select a pre-set step goal for light, moderate or intense activity or set a custom step goal for your day.
Wear your watch at night or put it under your pillow to record your sleep. You will get details on how much time you spent in deep sleep, light sleep, or awake. The watch will wake you up during your lightest phase of sleep.
The stainless steel timepiece does not need to be charged regularly, boasting a 2+ year battery life. It works with both iOS and Android and comes in five distinct designs.
A worthy mention is the Nevo smartwatch. This is a stylish, minimalist timepiece with activity tracking, smartphone notifications and Swiss movement built in.
Nevo provides basic activity data and the ability to set goals. Instead of numbers, eleven bright white LED indicators around the dial show fitness goal progress. This instant feedback raises awareness of your activity level and motivates you toward healthy daily habits.
Six customizable color LED indicators are used for calls, texts, emails, and more. There’s also a built in vibrating alarm to give you a nudge in the morning or important reminders.
Nevo runs on two batteries. The first powers the Swiss timekeeping movement for 5 years or more. The second battery powers its smart features and lasts up to 6 months.
You are going to struggle to find a hybrid watch more beautiful than the Skagen Hagen Connected. Coupled with a price which comes below much of its direct competition, this is a very good option if you are looking for a classic looking timepiece which elegantly adds in the smarts.
Features include automatic time and date adjustment, activity and goal tracking, sleep tracking, filtered email and text notifications, dual-time function and alarm. You can also snap a photo remotely, control music and more.
This smart analogue watch is compatible with both Android phones and iPhone and runs on a standard coin-cell battery with a four- to six-month battery life. And the quick-release-pin construction makes it easy to interchange the leather band with other 20mm leather, steel-mesh, silicone or nylon straps.
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