American designer and manufacturer Fossil has started 2016 with a bang, launching a new smartwatch at CES Las Vegas 2016 called the Fossil Q54 Pilot.
If at first glance the Q54 Pilot looks like a normal watch to you, that’s the point. Unlike the Fossil Q Founder, a smartwatch that has a display and runs applications, the Q54 Pilot offers fitness tracking capabilities in a traditional watch shell.
We have seen similar offerings before from Tag Heuer and Breitling, as well as Mondaine and Withings. Watches of this type are effectively fitness trackers and are a kind of halfway house between a watch and a smartwatch.
Unlike the Tag and Breitling the Q54 Pilot was designed to have a vintage aviation look.
The case is the same one as you will find on the original Pilot 54. Indeed, it shares the same chronograph movement. But it has a modern twist over the regular 54; it syncs with your smartphone and it can be set up to vibrate or deliver LED color-coded notifications (the LEDs are located at the 5 and 7 o’clock markers) from contacts and apps. It will also track your steps and calories, courtesy of motion sensors built into the case.
You set up the notification system on your phone. There are three vibration patterns to choose from to help you differentiate between contacts. Interestingly, the Q54 Pilot doesn’t run on the MotionX platform; it uses a home-grown app platform. For those of you who aren’t aware, Motion X is used by the likes of Mondaine and Withings. It’s a fitness tracking platform and it’s among the most popular. Fossil’s decision to use its own platform is most likely down to cost. However, they have teamed up with Intel, whose technology is what powers the notification system.
Fossil says that battery life is around 5-7 days. That’s a bit disappointing, given the watch is analog and fitness bands like the Xiaomi Mi Band will last around a month on a single charge. But it’s a lot better than the Fossil Q-Founder, which will last around a day. Fossil also revealed a range of new colorful straps for their Q-line watches at CES. These are interchangeable between Q-line watches and they include leather and silicone variants.
The QF4 Pilot will launch around March. UK pricing is yet to be finalized; we will update this post as and when information becomes available.