Our Five Favorite Smartwatches Of 2020 – And Why Watch Lovers Will Appreciate Them
Smartwatches have come a long way since the first Apple Watch was unveiled in 2015, using technology to create complications that watchmakers could only ever have dreamed. We take a look at five of this year’s top candidates and all the fabulous things they can do.
When Apple unveiled its smartwatch in 2015, the watch industry was divided. Some believed it would create a 21st-century version of the 1970s quartz crisis, while others predicted that it would get watches onto young people’s wrists, priming them for future mechanical purchases.
Five years on and the popularity of smartwatches is undeniable. The success of the Apple Watch has been phenomenal. According to a report by Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 30.7 million units in 2019, compared to 21.1 million units for the whole of the Swiss watch industry combined, proving that consumers are particularly receptive to connected “complications.”
But rather than kill the watch industry, the Apple Watch has inspired many traditional watchmakers to follow into the world of electronic technology. Several traditional watch brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Frederique Constant, TAG Heuer, and Tissot, have created their own smartwatches, proving that there is room in the watch industry for both high horology and high tech. Let’s take a look at some of the latest smartwatches and see how they compare.
Apple Watch Series 6
Leading the charge in functionality is the latest Apple Watch Series 6. Powered by watchOS 7, the Series 6 is the most advanced Apple Watch to date, with a whole host of new wellness features. Including an ECG, heart rate notifications, irregular rhythm notifications, SOS emergency calling, fall detection, blood oxygen sensor, sleep information, handwashing timer, menstrual cycle tracking, low cardio fitness, and a noise app. And all of that come on top of every other fitness and wellness apps we are used to seeing packed into the Apple Watch. Never before has a timepiece kept such good care of its owner!
The Series 6 also includes Family Setup for children who don’t possess an iPhone, new advanced performance that makes apps 20 percent faster, and a rapid 90-minute charging time. The user experience is also second to none with access via the crown or the touch screen. Add to this water-resistance of 50 meters plus an eclectic choice of case colors and straps, and it is no surprise that Apple has 48% of the world’s smartwatch market share.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Connected
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Connected is one of the nicest looking connected watches on the market. It comes in the brand’s signature Tambour case with its stylish concave sides. It is available in a unisex 42mm size. Granted, 42mm is large, but it is still a lot smaller than most of the competition.
Best-known for its luxury luggage, bags, and purses, Louis Vuitton has focused on creating a luxury global travel companion rather than a wellness watch. The Tambour Horizon Connected comes with its own LV City Apps that are both fun to explore and practical when traveling, and its My Flight app provides globetrotters with all their flight information before and during their flight.
The Tambour Horizon Connected also has a vast range of dials to choose from, which play on different Louis Vuitton product designs. Fans of the brand will also appreciate the selection of straps, many of which are inspired by the Maison’s leather goods.
The Tambour Horizon Connected is powered by Google’s Wear OS, has a water resistance of 30 meters, and comes with an attractive Louis Vuitton-branded charger.
TAG Heuer Connected
TAG Heuer is now on its third generation of Connected watches, proving just how successful the line has been for the brand. The TAG Heuer Connected and Connected Golf Edition take design elements from the company’s iconic mechanical chronographs and pairs them with a custom-designed digital experience geared towards sports and activity.
The TAG Heuer app allows each owner to customize his or her dial with watch faces inspired by the brand’s most popular timepieces. Other branded micro-apps include a stopwatch, timer, and alarm functions – all in keeping with the TAG Heuer’s love for sports. And the overall user experience is one of the most intuitive of all the smartwatches, utilizing simple swipes across the screen or shortcuts via the pushers and crown.
The watch is powered by Google’s Wear OS and comes in a 45mm case size with a water resistance of 50 meters. There are also some cool color combinations, including a funky peppermint or cherry dial, for something fun.
Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar
The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is the only Swiss smartwatch to feature its own operating system that was developed by the Swatch Group in partnership with the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) research center.
The T-Touch Connect Solar has everything we know and love about the T-Touch family: perpetual calendar, countdown timer, various chronograph functions, second time zone, alarms, compass, weather forecast, and altimeter but adds an activity tracker (steps, distance, and calories) as well as phone, text, and email notifications.
As its name reveals, the T-Touch Connect Solar is solar-powered, offering over six months of power at a time. Other advantages include the fact that no provider can access a user’s personal data, the watch operates even when not connected to the app, and it has been designed not to become obsolete in a couple of years.
Finally, it comes in a 47.5mm titanium case, which has the best water-resistance in this lineup at 100 meters.
Frederique Constant Vitality
Frederique Constant provides a wholly different approach to smartwatch design by incorporating smartwatch technology into traditional-looking timepieces.
The Smartwatch Vitality features an impressive 11-day battery life for the men’s version and seven-day battery life for the women’s model. The smartwatch functions light up on the dial on demand by pressing the crown. So, whether you are interested in the weather, your steps, your current heart rate, or even your last five messages from your favorite apps, you can choose what to reveal.
The men’s model comes in a 42mm case, while the ladies’ version is available in an elegant 36mm size, both of which have a water resistance of 50 meters. Functions include worldtime and second time zone indications, activity tracking, get-active alerts, sleep monitoring, smart sleep alarms, call and message notifications, heart rate monitoring, weather and breathing exercises, to name just a few.
Why choose between traditional or a smartwatch when you can have both? The Frederique Constant Vitality is priced starting at $1,000.
This is far from being a definitive list of smartwatches, with brands such as Montblanc, Ressence, Hublot, and Mondaine also offering smartwatches in their collections, along with Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit, and more. Hopefully, we can get our hands on some of these soon too as this is certainly a growing segment of the watch industry.