The Swiss purists were wrong: smartwatches aren’t a fad. On the contrary, these tech-loaded timepieces have become a mainstay of the horological world (much to its initial chagrin), and more importantly, have been fully embraced by some of the oldest manufacturers this side of the Jura.
But with a wider choice comes deeper deliberation. What’s the difference between a fully digital dial, and a ‘smart optimised’ analog? What features will actually aid your day-to-day? And which would be totally useless? To answer these questions, and more, we’ve picked through the best smartwatches on the market to suit your no doubt very busy, hectic and urbane lifestyle.
APPLE WATCH SERIES 4
Best For: iPhone Purists
The Apple Watch. Also known as patient zero. As the Church of Jobs swooned, Switzerland shuddered – and with good reason. This game-changing smartwatch sold a staggering 15 million units upon its release.
So why the popularity? Well, it’s Apple for a start. But there’s merit behind the marketing, with the Series 4 boasting multiple vital sensors, a robust operating system and customisation options with the likes of Hermès – all of which is a huge improvement since the first generation of 2015.
MONTBLANC SUMMIT SMARTWATCH
Best For: Swiss Aficionados
Wrestling conservative Swiss sentiments with the dot com cool kid is difficult, though not impossible. Just ask Montblanc: a storied European maison that released the Summit Smartwatch to praise from both sides of the aisle.
The watch itself has the appearance of Montblanc’s mainline, yet hides some thoroughly modern touches underneath, namely full music download capabilities and super quick performance from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor.
SAMSUNG GEAR FIT 2 PRO
Best For: Gym Rats
If you’re serious about your gains, you should be serious about your performance. And luckily, that’s something you can really crunch down into with the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro.
The watch automatically recognises and tracks any sort of fitness (which, thanks to an improved design, can now work underwater), with extensive calorie and diet trackers. Complete the look with bulging guns and preferably some Under Armour.
BREITLING EXOSPACE B55 YACHTING
Best For: The Action Man
As with all things Breitling, the Exospace B55 Yachting – the brand’s first connected chronograph – is very much for the would-be adventurer; the sort that prefers abseiling down a ravine to two weeks in Barbados.
No bad thing, of course, especially when you look at the features on offer: digital and perpetual calendar, up to seven independent daily alarms and full smartphone compatibility. You’ll have to buy your own fedora and whip, though.
SKAGEN FALSTER 2
Best For: Being Actually Useful
Google is very helpful, and even more so when it’s strapped to your wrist. Which is why Skagen’s Falster 2 is a welcome addition to the everyday – and one of the most stylish.
The operating system itself, however, is the standout, with Google Assistant granting full access to the Play and Pay offsets, making for one comprehensive smartwatch. Just don’t mention Alexa.
TAG HEUER CONNECTED
Best For: A Good All-Rounder
So you want a Swiss watch. But it’s got to be smart. And it can’t cost the world. A tall order, for sure, but one that can be fully covered by TAG Heuer’s Connected.
As an enduring favourite, TAG Heuer has the wriggle room to be a little bit more youthful, and has thus packed a familiar model with all the touches of a modern smartwatch – just in the handsome shell of a Swiss made quartz.
MONDAINE HELVETICA MH1B2S20RB
Best For: Wearing A Smartwatch That Doesn’t Look Like A Smartwatch
Tech is useful. And it’s also utterly unavoidable. Still, many of the boffins behind essential gadgetry don’t really consider aesthetics – or at least they didn’t until Mondaine stepped in.
The Helvetica MH1B2S20RB continues the brand’s minimalist (and achingly cool) signature, but simply hides smartphone compatibility and a multitude of tracking features beneath.
FOSSIL GEN 4 SMARTWATCH
Best For: Keeping It Classic
Few smartwatches can double up as smart-casual material. Fossil however, has managed to kill two ticks with one watch: the Gen 4 Smartwatch.
Based upon versatile brown leather, this watch offers all the mod cons you’d expect, but gets more flexible still thanks to an interchangeable strap mechanism.
ARMANI EXCHANGE HYBRID SMARTWATCH
Best For: Something A Bit Flashy
Trends are a funny old thing in the watch business. They’re rarely new (there’s only so much space to tastefully experiment after all), and instead revisit old motifs – much like Armani Exchange’s smartwatch.
As part of its fully Connected series, the Hybrid ties two big trends – a Milanese strap and oversized lugs – to a smartwatch formula. The result is just the right amount of cool.