The Swiss watch purists were wrong: smart watches 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 smart watches on the market to suit your no doubt very busy, hectic and urbane lifestyle.
Best for: Futurists
The Swiss effort to assimilate tech into classic designs is a noble one. Emporio Armani however, has done the reverse, leaning into the whole AI vitals analysis vibe of Blade Runner 2049, and creating a rubber and aluminium case to match. Powered by OS, this 44.5mm smartwatch is swim-proof and features heart rate tracking and GPS, as well as a fully personalised dial and interchangeable watch band.
Rubber & Aluminium Smartwatch; £369;
Best for: Android users
Apple users haven’t got to think too hard about their choice of smartwatch. It’s not so simple for Android users: the smartwatch world is basically the Apple Watch, then everything else for non-iOS users. The latest entry into that busy market floor is the Honor Magic Watch 2.
This super-slim, pleasingly-designed sports watch features an excellent battery life, lasting two weeks on one charge, and a full menu of features including Bluetooth calls, music playback, sleep, stress and heart rate monitoring, alongside GPS tracking. Its water resistance (to 50m) and lack of bulk make it an excellent fitness monitor. All this, plus an ‘always on’ display, which levels the playing field with those smug Apple Watch Series 5 owners.
Honor Watch Magic 2; £139.99;
Best for: Organisers
im电竞官网-Chances are you've never heard of Ticwatch, the wearable tech line-up from Chinese AI company Mobvoi – but if you're in the market for an powerful and affordable all-rounder, then we recommend you check them out.
The design itself is pretty unremarkable, but the 30-day battery life, high contrast LCD (anti-fingerprint) screen, military standard durability and accurate health measuring features are up there with the best.
Ticwatch Pro 2020; £222;
Best for:im电竞官网- Understated cool
A classic chronograph combined with state-of-the-art smartwatch technology, the 45mm TAG Heuer Connected (water resistant to 50 metres) features a stainless steel case, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and an ultra-light black ceramic bezel.
im电竞官网- It's not just the design that's clean, but also the full touch screen interface: it's easy to navigate and features a number of super accurate health monitors, including calorie, heart rate, GPS and sleep tracking.
TAG Heuer Connected 2020; £1,495;
Best for: Minimalists
Smartwatches can look clunky. We like the minimalist display of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active2, which offers minor upgrades on its predecessor (though a curious function allows you to snap a photo of yourself, then the watch will put together a watch face to match your outfit).
There’s automatic workout detection, with a real-time running coach allowing you to set targets and prompt you when you veer off track. The digital bezel is a new twist on an age-old design.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2im电竞官网-; £289;
Best for: im电竞官网-Adventurers
im电竞官网-More expensive than some others, but, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. It comes preloaded with Topographic maps, ski maps covering 2,000 global ski resorts and built-in sensors for a 3-axis compass, gyroscope and a barometric altimeter.
im电竞官网-The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro also checks your heart rate and your pulse, and its rugged face is almost almost 20 per cent bigger than previous Fenix models – which should help you read it in a blizzard.
Garmin Fenix 6 Proim电竞官网-; £769;
Best for: iPhone Purists
im电竞官网-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.
im电竞官网-So why the popularity? Well, it's Apple for a start. But there's merit behind the marketing, with the Series 5 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.
Apple Watch Series 5, £399,
Best for: im电竞官网-Swiss aficionados
Combining conservative Swiss sentiments with high-tech functionality 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.
Summit 2 Smartwatch, £1,045, montblanc.com
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.
Exospace B55 Yachting, £5,810,
Best for: Undercover tech
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.
Helvetica MH1B2S20RB, £612,
Best for: im电竞官网-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 5 Smartwatch.
im电竞官网-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.
Gen 5 Smartwatch, £279, fossil.com