“Fashion comes and goes, but style lasts forever” is a quote from Gabriel “Coco” Chanel made during an interview with journalist Joseph Barry in 1965 for McCall’s magazine. For some reason, that quote really resonates with me as I cast gaze over the smartwatch market today. Some 51 years after being spoken, it just sounds so right and so true; fashion comes and goes, but style lasts forever.
Will there ever be a smartwatch that transcends its lifecycle, in a way that will prove Coco Chanel’s quote just? You could argue that perhaps the Apple Watch will become some kind of icon. What we can be sure of, however, is that right now is a golden age for smartwatches. There are some real crackers’ on the market and whereas with smartphones there was a rocky early adopter period (the iPhone up until the 3G and Android handsets up to Gingerbread were pretty poor overall – a discussion for another day perhaps?), there isn’t one with smartwatches. They are all good or pretty great already.
What we are interested in are the great watches though – the smartwatches we’d happily have on our wrist for years to come. To that end, here’s our top 10 fashion smartwatches for 2017 – these are the smartwatches you should be looking to buy, like, now!
Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch
Launched earlier this year at CES, the Casio WSD-F10 is Casio’s first ever Android Wear smartwatch. It’s aimed very much at people who work and live in the outdoors. It’s a little on the large side being 56.4mm wide and 15.7mm thick, but this makes the WSD-F10 a very rugged companion indeed and it’s packed full of awesome technologies.
The WSD-F10 is compatible with Android devices running 4.3 or later and iOS devices running version 8.2 or later. It connects by Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi. The display is a 1.32-inch TFT LCD unit with a resolution of 320 x 300 pixels. Uniquely, the WSD-F10 boats U.S military certification MIL-STD-810 meaning it has unrivalled shock and vibration and humidity and temperate protection. On the side of the watch you will find chunky physical buttons so you can access apps and tools with your gloves on.
The WSD-F10 also looks fantastic. You can get it with a green, black, red or orange bezel and it comes on a chunky rubber strap. In normal use, the battery will last you a day but in Timepiece mode it will last you more than a month.
TAG Heuer Connected
The Tag Heuer Connected is one of the best-made and most luxurious smartwatches on the planet, not to mention one of the most in demand. It’s only available on a black bezel with brushed stainless steel lugs and a stainless steel chrome case, but there’s seven colours to choose from when it comes to rubber straps, and on all of them, it looks great.
The Connected is compatible with devices running Android 4.3+ or iOS 8.2+. This was the first smartwatch to use an Intel Atom processor and this runs the latest version of Android Wear smoothly. In fact it offers one of the fastest software experiences overall and we reckon it’ll be futureproof for a few years at least. The display is a 1.5-inch LTPS LCD unit protected by sapphire crystal. The Connected is 12.8mm deep on the wrist and it weighs 52g so it’s around the same size and weight as one of TAG’s automatic timepieces.
It connects to your phone by Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi and you’ll get “around a day’s” use from the 410mAh battery according to TAG themselves.
If you are looking for an affordable, stylish and well-made smartwatch, the Fossil Q-Founder is one you should definitely consider. Launched in late 2015, the Q-Founder is available on a stainless steel or leather strap with a brushed stainless steel case. This is a unisex smartwatch with a case diameter of 47mm, so male or female, it’s going to turn heads.
The Q-Founder runs Android Wear so it’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices and it is also compatible with all 22mm watch straps, so you aren’t tied into using Fossil’s own designs. The Q-Founder features a 1.5-inch round LTPS LCD display with a 360 x 326 resolution. It’s a sharp display with good colour reproduction. On-board storage is 4GB and like all smartwatches, packed into the case are a wide range of sensors including a 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope. The Q-Founder is also IP67 certified so it can withstand water immersion up to 1 meter and it’s protected from dust.
Battery life for the Q-Founder is rated at 1.5 days. If you like the Q-Founder but you’d rather have an analogue watch with smartwatch sensors, check out the Fossil Q54 Pilot.
Breitling Exospace B55 Connected
If you have a lot of money to spend on a smartwatch, then the new Breitling Exospace B55 Connected should be a top contender for your money. This is a Swiss-made smartwatch with the build quality and craftsmanship of Breitling’s chronograph timepieces. It’s a cut above all other smartwatches on the market and the perfect companion for pilots.
The B55 Connected has an all-titanium case and an analogue dial protected by glare-free sapphire crystal. The movement is SuperQuartz and battery life is rated at two months. The face of the watch has two separate LCD displays which in addition to an analogue dial and these offer up information such as emails, phone calls and events, and the watch also boasts a fly back function and electronic tachymeter. None of those screens are touch sensitive though – all features are controlled by your smartphone using a dedicated app. While this may sound limiting, it means that Breitling have been able to incorporate features into this watch that would otherwise be impossible with a regular chronograph.
Movado Bold Motion
The Movado Bold Motion is without doubt one of the most fashionable smartwatches in the world right now. This unisex smartwatch has an analogue dial with neat LEDs embedded above and around each time indicator. These light up to alert you to phone calls, emails, text messages, social media alerts and much more, and the battery life lasts over a week.
The Bold Motion is a different take on a smartwatch because it doesn’t have a touchscreen display nor will it run apps. It instead syncs with your phone and your phone provides all your updates. Without a phone connected, the Bold Motion is simply a watch.
If this sounds like something you’d like to experience, you’ll be pleased to know that the Bold Motion looks like any other watch too. Sure, it looks like it came from the future with its snazzy LED indicators and its black PVD-coated case, but it looks like a regular watch on the wrist and it isn’t too big either, with the case measuring 43.5mm in diameter. It’s really well made too, but being Movado, that’s to be expected.
Movado also have two other smartwatches out called the Museum Sport Motion and Bellina Motion. You can find out more about those smartwatches here.
Kate Spade Smart Watch
The Kate Spade Smart Watch is a hybrid smartwatch. It has a traditional analogue watch face (hands), however it will also track your steps and activity. The watch runs off a coin cell battery and the battery life is rated for around 6 months.
With a 39.5mm case and an 18mm leather strap, the Kate Spade Smart Watch is of a feminine design and it is available in a black and rose gold finish or in a Vanchetta (pink) and gold finish. Both models have metal markers on the watch face and they both have a classy step progress dial at the 6 O’clock position which is in the shape of two champagne glasses.
The Kate Spade Smart Watch will track your steps, sleep and other habits. It syncs to your smartphone through a dedicated application. This smartwatch can also send you smartphone notifications via Bluetooth, with vibration feedback. You can also control your music using this watch thanks to two buttons located on the side of the watch case.
Skagen Hagen Connected
The Skagen Hagen Connected is the first smartwatch from the Danish brand. This is an eclectic timepiece, with a thin bezel, a traditional analogue watch face and slender hands and markers, but an industrial-inspired case and sporty font.
This is perhaps the best-looking hybrid smartwatch for men on the market. It is available with a black, white or navy blue dial and with a brushed stainless steel or gold case. It can also be had with a variety of different straps, including leather and mesh bands. But it’s the dial that turns our head more than anything; the watch face it has a large sub-dial located at the 3 O’clock position, which gives you a visual indication of your daily activity goal.
Like all the other hybrid watches on our list, the Hagen Connected will track your steps, sleep and other activity. It will also send you smartphone notifications via Bluetooth.
Emporio Armani EA Connected
The Emporio Armani EA Connected is a smartwatch with a stylish dial. This watch has a 22mm case, so it isn’t oversized, and it is available with a variety of dial finishes and with a variety of straps, including metal bracelets and leather bands.
The EA Connected stands out from other smartwatches with a two-tone dial. The dial is made up of white, blue or black, however different sections of the dial have a unique surface finish with a textured appearance. These catch the light as the hand moves. The EA Connected also has a sub-dial that gives you a visual indication of your daily activity goal, just like all the other hybrid smartwatches on our list.
The Emporio Armani EA Connected also runs off a regular coin cell battery. So, you won’t have to worry about charging it and you can easily replace the battery yourself when it dies.
The Guess Connect is one of the sportiest fashion smartwatches on the market. It’s available in a variety of colourways to suit every taste, and you can answer or place phone calls directly from the watch when it is connected to your smartphone by Bluetooth.
With the Guess Connect, you can also control your smartphone camera and receive email notifications. Everything works seamlessly. Another useful feature of this smartwatch is that it will find your phone for you. All you’ve got to do is activate the wireless leash alert feature by tapping the menu button, and your phone will make a sound to let you know where it is.
The Guess Connect is one of the only hybrid smartwatches on the market that requires charging. However, it offers a respectable 5 days of battery life on a single charge and it only takes 2 hours to charge to 100 per cent from 0. This watch is Android and iOS compatible.
Olio Model one
The Olio Model One is positioned in the market as a luxury smartwatch, and a review of the manufacturing process cements that position. Simply put, this watch is made using manufacturing processes usually reserved for high-end Swiss timepieces and it is made from only the best materials which are hand-finished and hand-polished. The Olio One boasts one of the brightest displays in any smartwatch and a 50M water resistance rating. The 316L stainless steel case is hand-finished and the glass covering the screen isn’t glass at all - it’s a sapphire crystal. The 47mm case is a little on the large side, but overall, we can forgive that considering the attention to detail of this timepiece.
The Olio Model One is available with a gold, rose gold, stainless steel or black finish and it has a battery life that’s rated at 1 day. That’s not up there with the best smartwatches on the market, but the fit and finish certainly is. This smartwatch is compatible with iPhone and Android and it offers wireless charging and smartphone push notifications.