Apple Watch fever may be dying down, but we’re still feeling the excitement thanks to a host of new connected smartwatches hitting the market. The ones that have us talking prove that a great smartwatch can be more than just a blank, black screen to the world. The focus is just as much on the look and feel as the technology hidden inside…
TAG Heuer Connected
TAG Heuer has partnered with the Intel Corporation and Google to unveil its TAG Heuer Connected Watch, something which was hinted at, but not unveiled, at Baselworld in 2015.
The design of the 46mm piece is inspired by the brand’s signature Carrera collection, with a case, back and lugs made from titanium and a textured rubber strap. What makes it special is the Wi-Fi and Cloud connectivity, ensuring the watch is constantly syncing to the Android apps the wearer uses the most. Although the time and date are all read the same way, pertinent information is displayed inside three counters on the chronograph dial at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock.
If something in those counters interests you, you can simply tap it and open the application in full screen mode…oh, did we forget to mention, the whole dial is smart! The watch hands and dial are a clever illusion projected onto a screen, which is black when the device is turned off, meaning the whole piece has a spy-meets-tech-genius feel to it.
If you’re the type who likes to run, jump and generally get a bit sweaty, you’ve probably already heard of activity tracking arm band Fitbit. Now the brand has expanded its offer with the Fitbit Blaze – an Android Wear smartwatch that’s equally interested in fitness, but also phone calls and a bit of life admin to boot.
They’re available to pre-order in the US for around £136, so expect to find them in the UK very soon.
Breitling Exospace B55
Released at the tail-end of 2015, the Breitling Exospace B55 is being hailed as the first connected chronograph, featuring with two-way communication with a dedicated app.
Via the app you can make adjustments to the watch itself, like the time, timezones, alarms and display features (night mode, anyone?). Plus, the watch receives incoming emails, messages and phone calls so you can stay ahead of the curve.
In the true spirit of the aviation-themed brand, pilots can also record their flight times on this 46mm whopper. This certainly isn’t for a dainty wrist!
Dedicated smartwatch brand Huawei has made a glittering statement at this year’s CES technology conference with a new Swarovski crystal-studded design. The brand is completely in-sync with iOS and Android Wear, allowing you to track your exercise goals, check emails and use your favourite apps regardless of what phone you have.
Plus, there are loads of strap and case designs to choose from, including some lovely bracelet straps and soft leather options. Definitely the fashionista’s choice…
Whereas the TAG Heuer Connected has a masculine feel to it, the Guess Connect is immediately more feminine with a variety of soft, wearable leather and silicone straps. The watch is your typical ‘hybrid’, pairing a traditional analogue quartz watch with smart functions. These include a touch-screen dial, plus voice-to-text messaging, appointment reminders, voice command, call functionality and music control.
It also has Bluetooth connectivity and can be synced with Apple IOS and Android devices giving you plenty of flexibility.
Despite appearing more feminine the watch isn’t dainty, with 45mm and 41mm case sizes available crafted in stainless steel. If you fancy treating yourself, prices start from £289 and pieces are available in Selfridges Oxford Street and online at watchshop.com.
Mondaine Helvetica Smartwatch
Mondaine was one of the few brands to have a working prototype smartwatch ready to show at Baselworld last year, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. At 44m it’s slightly on the larger side, but the minimal design codes and sleek finish more than makes up for this. The only clue to the watch’s smart capability is the sub dial at 6 o’clock, which provides the analogue data read-out from the accompanying app.
The movement acts like an activity and sleep tracker, which, in tadem with the app, can allow you to set goals and track your progress. Simple in theory, but very very clever.
This is perhaps the most subtle of the smartwatches on the market right now – perfect for someone who wants to embrace technology but doesn’t want to be carrying round a hefty black screen on their wrist. Don’t forget to read our in-depth review of the Mondaine Helvetica Smartwatch here.