7 Classy Watches That Combine Smart Tech With Good Design
After the Apple Watch burst onto the wearable technology scene, it’s been hard not to occasionally imagine what it would be like to own a smartwatch. Many tech-savvy shoppers have asked themselves what they’d want in a smartwatch. A bright screen that can display text message alerts? A sporty look that would pair well with running gear? Or perhaps a more traditional design, one that doesn’t make it immediately obvious that the good-looking watch on your wrist is, in fact, a smartwatch?
For those who want a classy watch that also happens to be considerably smarter than your average timepiece, many companies have created watches just for you. In fact, many of them have made their names producing traditional watches, and are leveraging their years of design experience into a head start making watches that are beautiful, but also smart. Read on for seven of our favorite options that combine good design with smart technology.
1. Alpina Horological Smartwatch
Alpina, a Swiss watchmaker founded in 1883, has introduced an entire collection of “Horological Smartwatches,” including an assortment of designs for both men and women. The watches sync with a companion app available for both iOS and Android smartphones, and feature MotionX activity tracking (from Silicon Valley-based Fullpower, which powers wearables from Swiss watchmakers as well as activity trackers from Jawbone and Nike). The watches offer “get active” alerts, sleep monitoring, and sleep cycle alarms. By pushing the crown for three seconds, you can change the mode from activity to sleep. The watches get about two years of battery life and are water resistant to 330 feet. Watches in the collection range from about $1,122 to $2,659.
2. Breitling B55 Connected
Breitling, a Swiss watchmaker founded in 1884, designed the B55 Connected as its first “connected chronograph.” With a much more technical look than Alpina’s offerings, Breitling’s smartwatch is intended for the aviator market, where the company says it’s “the ultimate pilot’s instrument.” The smartwatch’s connection with a smartphone is intended mainly to make the watch easier to operate, but also enables the user to upload data, like flight times, to the phone. The idea was to create a top-of-the-line pilot’s watch for professionals, not a device for the casual user who might want notifications or activity tracking. So the watch focuses on making the chronograph, and its wide-ranging functionality, easier to use. The B55 Connected is expected to be first offered for sale later this year.
3. Citizen Eco-Drive Proximity
Citizen, a watch company that’s been around since 1930, has introduced the Eco-Drive Proximity, a smartwatch that looks very much like a traditional chronograph, with a 24-hour dial, date and day, perpetual calendar, and second time zone. The watch connects to your iPhone, and can alert you to incoming calls, emails, and reminders with a vibration and with a movement of the second hand. The Proximity is water-resistant enough for swimming, snorkeling, and showering, and it’s solar-powered, which means you won’t have to recharge or the change the battery. Syncing the watch with your iPhone means that the watch will always have the right time and date. The smartwatch retails for $525.
4. Fossil Q Grant
Fossil, a watch brand founded in 1984, just unveiled Fossil Q, a collection of “connected accessories,” including smartwatches and a connected bracelet. The Fossil Q Grant features a classic watch design and either a steel or leather band, while the Q Dreamer and Q Reveler are activity trackers that take the form of a bracelet. Closer to the holidays, Fossil will also introduce the Q Founder, which will feature a circular display instead of a traditional watch face. The Fossil Q Founder will be the first Android Wear smartwatch to feature an Intel processor. All of the wearables in the collection track your steps, distance, and calories burned, and alert you to phone calls, emails, text messages, and other updates. The Fossil Q app is available for both iOS and Android. The Q Grant will start at $175, while the Q Dreamer and Reveler will cost $125, and the Q Founder is expected to start at $275.
5. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
Frederique Constant, a watchmaker established in 1988 and owned by the same company behind Alpina, has its own collection of Horological Smartwatches, which use the same technology as Alpina’s smartwatches. The movement gets 25 months of battery life, and the smartwatches connect to iOS or Android smartphones. The smartwatches’ sleep-tracking technology is reportedly proven to track sleep patterns within 95% accuracy of a professional polysomnography sleep machine, and the MotionX activity-tracking engine tracks your motion throughout the day. The companion app analyzes your movement, including calories burned and distance traveled. The watches are handmade in Switzerland, and depending on the model, range between $995 and $1,295.
6. Mondaine Helvetica 1
Mondaine got its start in 1986, when it licensed the design of a classic Swiss railway clock that was originally designed in 1944. The company’s Helvetica collection of watches, similarly, make use of the classic Helvetica typeface, which was designed in 1957 at the Haas Type Foundry by graphic artist Max Miedinger and Haas business manager Eduard Hoffmann. A recent addition to the collection is the Helvetica 1 Smartwatch, offered in five different models, with bold faces and a secondary dial that tracks your progress toward your daily step goal. The activity-tracking is also handled by MotionX technology used by Alpina and Frederique Constant. The watch can track your sleep either from your wrist or from under your pillow, and the companion app can detail the amount of deep and light sleep and the amount of time you spent awake. Depending on the model and materials, the smartwatch costs around $950.
7. Montblanc e-Strap
Montblanc, a pen and watch maker that was founded in 1908, introduced its own take on the intersection of technology and luxury watches with the TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap. The e-Strap is an interchangeable band, compatible with three watch models from the Montblanc TimeWalker Collection, and equipped with the technology for activity tracking, notifications, and remote control for the music on your smartphone built in to the band. The e-Strap has a small touchscreen to display information and to enable navigation through the band’s functionality. The band connects to iOS and Android smartphones, and the band combined with the cost of one of the compatible watches will cost between $3,1400 and $4,900.