Smart watches and fitness trackers are two distinct wrist-borne devices that have – against all logic – so far been mutually exclusive. At least until yesterday when Samsung consolidated the two to craft their sleekest smart watch yet, the Gear Fit. Equipped with a curved 1.84-inch Super AMOLED display, the Fit packs a water resistant casing, heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and gyro, the combination of which is the key to its fitness and sleep tracking features. Of course, it’s also prepared to update you of any incoming calls or SMS messages, upcoming appointments, emails, and grant media player control like any good smart watch would, all via Bluetooth 4.0. Unfortunately, though, the Gear Fit is only compatible with Samsung phones, so iOS users will have to anticipate Apple’s retort.
Learn more at Samsung – $TBA
Fitness monitors in the form of watches fit right in with brightly colored runners and ostentatious spandex, a drawback for anyone looking for a low key tracker fit for everyday wear. Not Wellograph. This fitness tracker packs a 9-axis motion sensor and tri-LED heart rate monitor wrapped up in a sleek form factor that’s all stainless steel, aluminum and sapphire crystal. Furthermore, unlike its competitors, Wellograph is a standalone unit not reliant on syncing, instead displaying stats in graph form on its 1.26-inch low-power illuminated LCD (though integrated Bluetooth 4.0 LE lets it do so using its dedicated smartphone app). Practicality isn’t lacking, either, with 2 weeks of battery life while tracking – or 3 months in watch-only mode – and comfortable straps of either the NATO or leather variety.
Arriving in Spring. Read more at Wellograph – $320
The need for a mechanism to secure a watch band to a wrist unnecessarily adds bulk and discomfort, if but a little. Void consolidates this function within the watch’s Grilamid case, greatly simplifying the nylon strap by removing from it all hardware but a silicone fitting loop to tame the excess and allows for a precise fit, unrestrained by holes. Sond is also waterproof to 100 feet, boasts a 2 year battery that’s easily accessible and replaceable using nothing but a coin, and is offered in 8 colors that can be mixed and matched in over 500 combinations.
Check out the full lineup at Void – $95
A single glance at the face of this timepiece and you’d never guess that within lies a Swiss movement with 4 hands and date, mostly unutilized. But the guys at Slow Jo Watches have unconventional goals. Named after the speed at which the lone hand makes its way across the 24 hour dial, Slow Jo give you a fresh, linear view of each day, with no minutes or seconds to add stress to your already hectic life. Each watch is also built within a durable, elegantly symmetrical stainless steel case, fitted with a K1 hardened raised mineral glass, water resistant to 100 meters, and devoid of any logo – it’s instead on the case back – a thoughtful, minimal touch.
Time flies, there’s no denying that. Skreksto aims to make us more conscious of the temporal flow with Durr, a colorful set of watch-like bracelets that don’t tell the time per se but rather markedly shiver every 5 minutes. While Durr’s vibration interval is precise, our brains’ perception of it differ greatly, seemingly slowing or accelerating the passing of time depending on how much we’re enjoying whatever we’re up to. In any event, we could all stand to be a bit more mindful, especially when it comes to the one resource that truly is fleeting.
Grab one at Skreksto – $120
Loved the original Pebble but not too into its rather pedestrian plastic enclosure? Then take a peek at their soon-to-ship offering, the Pebble Steel. Completely compatible with Pebble’s existing ecosystem of apps and both Android and iOS smartphones, the Steel features the same electronics, 5-7 day li-ion polymer battery and 5ATM waterproofing of the original, though they’re instead contained within a smaller, thinner milled stainless steel case fitted with a Corning Gorilla Glass crystal. Each brushed stainless steel or matte black unit also includes both metal and leather straps for adapting its style to your garb of the day.
Learn more at Pebble – $250
For those who travel with more than a single timepiece (or don’t, but simply like to keep their watches safely tucked away at home), there’s Hodinkee’s Waxed Canvas Roll. Each USA-made handcrafted and water-resistant roll provides a safe place to store your watches with cases of up to 46mm, preventing scratches, tarnish, and putting your mind at ease. Roll it up and secure it with its rawhide tie to keep it closed, or open it up to display up to six of your favorite watches, straps and all.
Check out the full line at Hodinkee – $110 to $250 (leather)
Looking for a watch you never have to take off and that’s priced at less than three months worth of rent? Give Elliot Brown’s timepieces a gander. Engineered for ruggedness but without the oft associated bulk, each watch undergoes extreme testing before shipping out, including a 200-meter underwater pressure trial with crown pulled, bracelet torsion and wear testing, plus an impact analysis using a 3kg hammer to the case and a steel ball bearing to the glass. Spec-wise, the Canford packs a 5-jewel dated quartz movement rigged to SuperLuminova coated indices and hands for night visibility, all suspended using a floating movement housing that dissipates bumps and bruises associated with an active everyday lifestyle.
Find it in a variety of colors at Elliot Brown – roughly $530+
There’s plenty to love about quartz timepieces: they’re often thin, are extremely accurate, and of course offer a great bang-for-your-buck ratio. Komono’s offerings are all that and perhaps a tad more. Each watch features a 3 ATM water-resistant 41 or 46mm case wrapped around a Japanese quartz movement and that’s coupled to one of a variety of leather wristbands, faces, and numeral colors. Between their minimal styling and rock-bottom prices, these watches make a great everyday wear and gift for that guy you’re fond of – yourself.
Ziiiro’s been outputting interesting designs from the get go, but none as subtle and minimal as their Eclipse. This quartz-powered, silicone band-equipped wristwatch sports a narrow ring that displays the time via two small bar hands that eclipse once per hour. The dial and minute hand are also treated with a Swiss Super-LumiNova coating for a long-lasting glow that make reading the time possible in darkened conditions.