If you own a smart wrist watch, you probably know the slight annoyance of having to “wake up” your wrist device just to see the time. While powerful in connected features, smartwatches often lack the elegant clock face and an “always on” display commonly found in regular watches. Why can’t we have the best of both worlds?
Enter the world of hybrid watches, where wearable technology works perfectly alongside traditional watchmaking. They blend smartwatch features such as fitness tracking, phone notification and heart rate monitoring with a classy analogue watch design.
Let’s take a look at which one of these best hybrid smartwatches could suit your specific needs: whether it’s to add some techy smarts to your quartz wristwatch, or tracking your fitness data while looking sharp in a luxury wrist accessory.
What is a Hybrid Smartwatch & Why You Should Have One in 2019
Put simply, a smart analogue watch looks like a regular wrist watch but has built-in smart movement or heart-rate sensors, as well as Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your smartphone.
They offer typical smartwatch features including social media/text/email/call notifications, app alerts, built-in fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, smart alarm clock, as well as advanced features like multiple time zones and calendar alerts.
You would love owning a Hybrid Smartwatch if you:
Love the fine craftsmanship of traditional watches: Most hybrid watches don’t come with a touchscreen. Instead, they track and display data discreetly under a traditional clock face with a second hand and even watch complications – a feature offered by only the finest mechanical watches.
Want to check time on an always-on, classy clock face: even though smartwatches can display time & date, you often need to “wake up” the display to see the time. Also, no digital watch face can beat the beauty of a ticking second hand on a round clock face.
Would like to spend little or no time charging your watch: oftentimes powered by coin cell batteries, hybrid watches boost a much longer battery life than touchscreen smartwatches – up to 6 months depends on usage – or no charging needed at all.
The emphasis on design could mean limitations, however, if you are into serious fitness tracking. Powerful health tech and advanced app notification is a bit lacking in hybrid watches, so they are more suited for those looking for a classy timepiece first and a smartwatch second.
In the roundup below, we researched and tested popular hybrid watches, and picked our top recommendations based on design, smart features, battery life, comfort and value for money. Read on to see which one is the best for you!
Best Smart Analogue Watches in 2019
Here is our round up of the top rated hybrid smartwatches:
Display type: analog Movement: quartz Metric tracked: heart rate, steps, distance, calories, running, swimming, sleep Case Size: 36mm and 40mm Color: multi-color (customizable) Material: 316L stainless steel body with silicone strap (limited edition comes with Milanese Mesh or Leather bands in addition to silicone band) Water resistance: Swim proof (water resistant up to 50 m) Battery life: up to 25 days in normal use Compatibility: iOS 10 and higher; Android 6.0 and higher Notifications: calls, texts, event & app notifications
Ever since Nokia sold its digital health business back to Withings, the original Nokia Steel HR hybrid watches are now rebranded as Withings Steel HR with added fitness features. The “HR” stands for heart rate, which marks the Steel HR series an upgrade from the legacy Steel watch series with heart rate tracking.
Its beautifully designed classic watch face isn’t big – comes in 36mm and 40mm and perfect for smaller wrists – The regular watch comes with a silicone band perfect for sports. If you are feeling fancy, the limited edition watch comes with Milanese metal mesh or leather bands are perfect for dressing up a notch.
The unique watch face design features two small dials displaying health and app data. The top dial is a discreet digital display, showing stats such as heart rate, app notifications and even whatsapp messages. The bottom dial shows the percentage of your exercise target throughout the day.
While the wrist device does not look like a smartwatch, it acts like one with heart rate tracking, multi-sport mode, mobile app notifications and sleep analysis features. This hybrid watch tracks and analyze health data with Nokia’s very own Withings Health Mate app.
Some might say the activity tracking offered by Steel HR is a bit basic. For more advanced fitness tracking, consider the Steel HR Sports watch which offers fitness level assessment via VO2 Max estimation. The sports watch can be dressed up with leather bands as well.
Beyond fitness tracking, this elegant watch can be connected to your smartphone to display notifications such as call, text and mobile apps. With a 25-day battery life and water-resistant body, this is the best analog fitness watch you can wear daily.
May 2019 update:there is a new Sapphire Signature edition that feature sapphire crystal – a material traditionally used for for luxury watches – that gives your connected watch a premium look. It’s priced at US$ 299.95 and comes in blue & silver, white & rose gold, black & slate grey colors.
Display type: analog Movement: hybrid quartz Metric tracked: steps, distance, calories burned, sleep Case Size: 42mm Color: multi-color (customizable) Material: stainless steel case with genuine leather band Water resistance: water resistant up to 30 meters Battery life: up to 12 months (charging not required) Compatibility: iOS 9.0 and higher; Android OS 5.0 or higher Notifications: Social Media / Text / Email / App Alerts / Multiple Time Zones / Alarm Clock / Calendar Alerts
Fossil has built a strong reputation in smart analog watches. Among the brand’s long line of bluetooth fitness watches, Fossil Q Commuteris one of the best hybrid watches that won our hearts over with its timeless design and robust smart tech. Enabled by Bluetooth, this minimalist watch actually comes with powerful features, all elegantly disguised in its analog watch face.
With a distinctive design of hands and hour markers and elegant brush metal face , the smart hybrid watch features a secondary dial that display fitness data in a discreet manner. The leather strap gives it a premium look and feel, as well as making the watch very comfortable to wear.
The watch gives you a gentle buzz when a smart notification is received. Currently the wrist device support social media, text, email, and calendar alerts. The three buttons on the dial are actually controls for interacting with the connected phone app. You can customize the buttons to perform function most useful to you. Quick tap on your wrist for a group photo? Your watch got it covered.
Although a bit lacking in fitness tracking especially heart rate tracking compared to other popular smartwatches, Fossil’s stylish watch makes up for it with extraordinary long battery life – up to 1 year of no charging required.
Display type: analog Movement: Japanese quartz Metric tracked: steps Case Size: 41mm, 43mm Color: white dial on dark watchface Material: stainless steel case with double domed sapphire crystal; leather band with stainless steel buckle Water resistance: water resistant up to 100 meters Battery life: up to 2 years (coin cell battery) Compatibility: Android 5.0 and iOS 9 Notifications: filtered app notifications (customizable)
One thing that’s refreshing about the hybrid connected watch market is the many indie players out there doing great products. Kronaby – a connected watch maker from Sweden – is one of them. Compared to the standard set of “smart” features like app alerts and fitness tracker, Kronaby’s connected watch series offers more customization to make the watch truly useful to the wearer.
The Kronaby Apex watch has a long list of unique features with an outstanding modern design. Looking at the watch, its sophisticated design and high-quality build can pass off as a high-end timepiece. Featuring stainless steel body and domed sapphire crystal, the watch has a matt black dial, making the white hour mark and hands extra legible. While most touchscreen smartwatches tell time by being connected to the phone, this hybrid timepiece has built-in quartz oscillator for keeping time when not connected to the phone.
The stylish design is only half of what Kronaby Apex has to offer: the software that powers the watch is just as powerful and elegantly designed as the hardware. Once the watch is set up with the companion mobile app, you just need to press the three buttons on the bezel to turn on various smart features. You can customize the watch face and complications from the app, as well as what activities to track and what app alerts to receive on the phone.
Other highlights worth mentioning include the two-year battery life, customizable watch band, remote camera control and music control features. The Kronaby connected watches are on the pricey side: a 43mm APEX with leather strap comes down to € 595. But with a scratch-proof dial and water-resistant body, it is definitely a durable worth buying if you are in the market for a premium wrist wear.
Display type: analogue Movement: quartz Metric tracked: steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep Case Size: 44mm Color: multiple (customizable) Material: stainless steel body Water resistance: water resistant up to 50 meters Battery life: up to 1 year Compatibility: Android 5.0 and iOS 9 Notifications: calls, emails, texts, movement reminder, alarm, app notifications
An attractive connected watch with smart tech baked into its analogue body, Misfit Command is a great investment is you want an old-timey wristwatch with some 21st-century tech. The minimalist smartwatch design gives a rather “premium” look & feel, and one will be hard-pressed to believe that it’s available for just under $150.
The familiar-looking watch face is actually uniquely rich in information. More than just marking hours of the day, Misfit Commands adds markings for days of the week & month. The subtle white text are legible enough to read on a dark display and somehow did not cramp up the watch face too much.
The secondary dial displays smart features as the red hand points to the right icon. A very simple design for a rather complex function. Compared to the more full-fledged Kronaby watches, Misfit Command has a limited but useful set of features, includes steps & distance tracking, smart alarm, automatic time zone update etc.
With the companion app you can set step goals and see estimated calories burned etc, although these numbers might not be as accurate as a standalone fitness tracker. The heart rate and GPS tracking feature is missing, but less than $100, it’s a pretty worthy investment that makes you look smart and stylish.
Best Luxury – Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
Display type: analog Movement: Swiss quartz Metric tracked: steps, active time, distance, calories, sleep Case Size: 42 mm Color: white dial with rose-gold tone hands Material: gold-plated stainless steel case with sapphire crystal and calfskin leather band Water resistance: water resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM) Battery life: 25 months Compatibility: Android and iOS Notifications: calls, emails, texts, movement reminder, alarm, app notifications
If you are looking for a piece of wearable that is also a luxury timepiece, Frederique Constant’s horological smartwatch could be just what you need. The Swiss watchmaker brings decades of high-end watch design to the wearable tech market. Proudly powered by Swiss quartz movement, this connected watch is said to have electrical brains made in Silicon Valley.
Priced at €1390, this Swiss smartwatch tops the list as the most expensive. The watch design oozes luxury: the navy dial is adorned by a gold case, with the gold-tone hands and indexes shining through the convex sapphire crystal. Its sub-dial is a fine example of Swiss sophistication: while the red hand points to the current date, the silver hand indicates activity goal completion.
Made for the modern, active men, this watch has more of a sporty look. The dial comes in three colors – navy blue, black and silver – all elegantly matches with interchangeable leather strap. The button on the bezel that resembles the traditional crown is used to control the smart features. When you press it, the minute hand will move to the respective icons to display information such as missed calls, messages, activities and sleep.
Although this wrist watch presents as a mechanical timepiece, it’s surprisingly packed with smart functions including a pretty robust fitness tracker. As a quartz watch running on low-battery bluetooth connection, this luxury hybrid timepiece is said to last 4 years without charging. If you are after hand-crafted products made from fine materials, this luxury connected watch could be worth it.
Display type: analog Movement: Japanese quartz Metric tracked: activity, sleep and goal tracking Case Size: 41 mm Color: Titanium/Black Leather, Silver/Brown Leather Material: stainless steel case with leather strap Water resistance: water resistant up to 3 ATM Battery life: 4-6 months Compatibility: Android 5.0+; iOS 9.0+ Notifications: customizable calls, emails, texts, alarm, app notifications
Like its cousin Misfit, Danish watchmaker Skagen started as an indie brand. Now part of the Fossil group, Skagen proudly boasts a strong line of hybrid watches, Skagen Jorn series improved upon its 2016 model SkagenHagen connected. Like its predecessors, it has a smart brain hidden in a classic watch body.
At 41mm wide and 10mm thick, it’s slightly slimmer than most hybrid watches and suitable for both smaller and big wrists. The watch face design is pretty minimalist without any sub-dials, its smart notifications subtly tucked away as colored dots on the dial. There are three buttons to play with, all can be customized through the Skagen app.
As with all Skagen watches, there is a variety of case colors and materials to choose from, as well as interchangeable straps. The metal case and leather strap design looks pretty sleek with any outfit. The health tracking features is pretty basic but does the job, and notifications are pretty much reduced to a gentle nudge.
All in all, a modern, sleek wearable device that keep you on track with time and fitness goals without being distracted by social media updates. At a modest price, it’s perfect for someone who is keen to add some smarts to their wrist accessory while looking classy.
Best for Women – Fossil Women Jacqueline Hybrid Smartwatch
Display type: analog Movement: hybrid Metric tracked: steps, distance, calories and sleep tracking Case Size: 36 mm Color: Titanium/Black Leather, Silver/Brown Leather Material: stainless steel case with stainless steel mesh or luggage leather band Water resistance: water resistant up to 3 ATM Battery life: up to 6 months (replaceable battery) Compatibility: Android™ OS 5.0+, iPhone 5/iOS 9.0+, Notifications: Social Media / Text / Email / App Alerts / Multiple Time Zones / Alarm Clock / Calendar Alerts
While the popular Fossil Q Commuter hybrid watch is more gender-neutral, the Jacqueline hybrid smartwatch series is indisputably feminine. At 36mm wide, it’s definitely designed with small wrists in mind.
The slim hour/second hands and Roman numerals give it a rather retro look and feel – after all, it’s inspired by the nostalgic glamor of Jacqueline Kennedy. Its elegant round face is outfitted with a silver/rose gold toned stainless steel case, adding a touch of modern.
The watch comes in 15 colors, so you can choose from white/black/rose gold/pastel pink dial colors as well as stainless steel or leather bands. You can change up your style with these interchangeable straps too – they come in a variety of colors and finishes. The buckle closure not only exudes classy, but also makes the leather strap comfortable to wear.
There is no lack of smarts in this compact wrist watch. The 3 side buttons looks like traditional watch crowns, but are actually smart buttons. You can customize to their functions such as control your music, check the date or take a picture. Built in sensors keep your fitness goals in check, as well as tracking your sleep quality and duration.
As for smartphone notifications, it might take a bit of getting used to. When your watch receives an alert, the hour and minute hand will move to the numbers assigned to the type of notification. So you will have to remember which number you assigned for notifications. It’s not as straightforward as a digital interface, but hey, a little digital detox doesn’t hurt anyone.
What’s more, this smart device needs no charging. With a water resistant body and stopwatch function, you can actually take it to swim and track your laps.
Most Adorable – Kate Spade Holland Hybrid Smartwatch
Display type: analog Movement: Quartz Metric tracked: steps, distance, calories, sleep Case Size: 37.5 mm Color: silver/gold/rose gold case with silver/gold/black/navy blue strap Material: stainless steel case with stainless steel or leather strap Water resistance: water resistant up to 3 ATM Battery life: up to 6 months Compatibility: Android 4.4+; iOS 8.2+ Notifications: calls, emails, texts, alarm, app notifications
The smartwatch world isn’t saturated with women consumers yet, mostly because the smart wrist devices are either too bulky or not stylish enough on the lady wrist. Kate Spade’s Holland hybrid watches are an exception: with its diamond adorned minimalist watch dial and a splash of pink, it’s a flattering piece of accessory for the stylish lady.
The watch design is pretty unique in the world of connected watches, blending a classy watch body with cheerful star-studded dial and pink hour hand. The gold-plated metal case and navy-blue leather strap gives it a premium feel, while the face made from mother-of-pearl adds a glamorous shine to the dainty looking accessory.
Apart from its abundant cuteness in design, it’s also a well-functioning smart connected watch. You can configure the three side buttons to launch functions such as remote camera control, find your phone, or play music. It has built-in sensors to track steps, analyze your sleep, and is water resistant.Synching the watch with your phone is easy, and you can see your fitness tracking data through the Kate Spade connect app, as well as set up fitness goals. For the metropolitan ladies out there wishing to look stylish while stay fit, this connected hybrid watch could become your best friend, or make a great gift for your loved ones. The watch is sold out on Kate Spade website, but you can still get them from Amazon.
Display type: hybrid (analog + OLED touchscreen) Movement: Quartz Metric tracked: distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, steps taken, stairs climbed, all-day stress tracking, sleep tracking Case Size: 43 mm Color: 14 colors Material: stainless steel bezel with silicon (sports) or leather (premium) bands Water resistance: water resistant up to 5 ATM (swimproof) Battery life: up to 5 days Compatibility: Android & iOS Notifications: incoming calls, text messages, calendar reminders and more
Priced just under $200, this Garmin hybrid fitness watch is a value buy that blends fashionable watch design with best-in-class fitness features.
The watch face is design is rather minimalist and clean without any secondary dials, leaving a lot of white space to display notifications. It comes in many materials and interchangeable straps, all with a universal design that could be worn by men or women.
Hidden under that analogue watch face, you will find a bundle of health trackers including heart rate monitor, step counter and sleep tracking. Instead of using a sub-dial to display data which is common among hybrid watches, Garmin came up with an innovative design: a touch screen hidden in the analog dial that wakes up when you flip your wrist.
As the watch name “HR” suggests, 24/7 heart rate monitoring is one of its highlights. The advanced heart rate tracking means more accurate reporting on calories burned and workout intensity, so you don’t need a separate fitness band at all.
But that is not all: marketed as a wellness-oriented device, the watch comes with a unique “stress tracking” which reminds you to take a break when your stress level goes through the roof. The only downsides to this impressive wearable is its average battery life, which burns out quite fast when you turn on fitness tracking mode.
May 2019 update: the vívomove HR series has a new Premium version, featuring watches made with high-end materials such as 24K Gold PVD Stainless Steel Case and Italian leather bands. You can get them on Amazon here.
Best Minimalist Design – Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smartwatch
Display type: Analog Movement: Connected Quartz Metric tracked: activity, sleep Case Size: 40 mm Color: 3 colors (black/white; black/black, brown) Material: polished stainless steel case with Sapphire crystal and genuine leather strap Water resistance: water resistant up to 3 ATM (30m) Battery life: 2 years Compatibility: Android 4.4+, iOS 8+ Notifications: incoming calls, e-mails, messages, get active alerts
The rise of smartwatch has inspired traditional watch brands to innovate, and Swiss watchmaker Mondaine is one of them. Mondaine watches are known for their iconic simplicity in design and impeccable accuracy powered by Swiss quartz technology. The Helvetica 1 smartwatch series is the brand’s first attempt at infusing horological craftsmanship with wearable tech, and is well-received among critics.
Coming from a history of making railway watches, you can expect the same standards in watch design for the Helvetica 1 smart analog watches: timeless design that makes checking time a pleasurable task, Sapphire crystal and stainless steel case that withstand damage, and comfortable leather band that fit your wrist perfectly.
What makes this Swiss smart watch stand out is the design details. At 40mm in its case diameter, it wear small because of the shorter lugs and thin bezel. The slight undercut around the bezel edge gives the back a bowl shape, which visually slims down the device. The dial reminds us of Mondaine’s signature railway watch, featuring bold black hour hands and numerals in Helvetica font on a white dial. Striking, simple and very easy to read.
The watches’ smart features pales in comparison to its good looks though, which only offers surface-level tracking data lacking in accuracy. You need to push the discreet side button to manually sync it with the phone. And while the stainless steel body and leather strap are great to accessorize, they aren’t best companions for a sweaty workout.
Most Anticipated – Withings Move ECG Activity Watch
Since Apple Watch serie 4 introduced the lifesaving ECG feature (short for electrocardiogram), it sparked a public debate about what fitness watches can do for us. While Apple watch 4 still struggle to get the medical certification required to offer ECG to markets outside of the US, Withings is moving into the medical watch field with its own cardio health offerings.
Following the success of Withings Move watch, Withings Move ECG is an upgrade with on-demand eletro diagram reading anytime you need. For those who are serious about cardiovascular health, this is a very helpful preventative measure for any heart-stopping Afib episodes. Anytime you place two fingers on the watch case for 30 seconds, you will get an instant ECG reading.
Apart from its cardio health benefits, the Move ECG watch also doubles as an activity tracker. It boasts a 12-month battery life and is water-resistant up to 50m. It automatically tracks exercises such as walking, running, swimming and more, and displays your steps with a third hand in its analog watch face.
What’s worth noting is that although it syncs health data with your smartphone app, the watch doesn’t receive or display notifications. It’s more of a watch with fitness tracking abilities rather than a smartwatch. It’s fairly affordable too. The original Withings Move watch is priced at $69.95, while the ECG watch is slated to release in Q2 this year at $129.95.
How to Choose the Best Smart Analog Watch
Design & Build
Hybrid smartwatches have unique advantage to integrate classic watch designs with added edge of a digital interface. A common practice is for hybrid watches to use a primary always-on analogue clock face and a secondary dial for smart features. The best design should be clean and clutter free, with easy ways to tell time and important alerts at a quick flick of the wrist.
Compared to full-fledged smartwatches, hybrid watches are often more basic in fitness and activity tracking so as not to sacrifice the classic watch design.
Depends on what’s the most important to your day-to-day life, pick only features you value the most. For instance, if you don’t plan to wear your watch to bed, you won’t need the sleep monitoring feature.
Comfort to Wear
The best watches are designed to feel like an extension of your body. A good watch shouldn’t cause skin irritation or pinch your skin. Make sure to look for watches with a soft band, a smooth back, a lightweight and thin body, as well as a good buckle or clasp that doesn’t catch your arm hair (if you are the hairy type).
Also consider how are you planning to wear your hybrid watch: are you going to work out at the gym with it, or just day-to-day wear? For a sporty watch, you want to choose silicone bands whereas leather bands are durable and comfortable for daily wear.
Long battery life is an additional advantage to hybrid watches due to the fact that they run on low-battery Bluetooth activity and oftentimes powered by quartz movement to tell time. Battery can last anywhere between a week and 4 years. The “smarter” a hybrid watch gets, the shorter battery life it tends to have. Pick a watch that doesn’t drain battery fast when you switch on the “smart” mode – you shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for functionality.
Value for Money
Most hybrid watches are in the $150-$400 range, with a few exceptions in the luxury range by high-end watchmakers. They are on average more affordable than smart watches especially standalone ones. It’s a worthy investment if you want the familiar watch look with basic tracking and notifications.
Smartwatches offer us a new way to wear watches: the likes of Apple Watch reached demographics around the world that luxury mechanical watches were never able to penetrate.
This is why hybrid smart watches are so exciting: they leverage the best of both mechanical timekeeping and wearable technology. They can help watch enthusiasts make a smooth transition from a traditional analogue watches to a smartwatch, as well as introducing the sophistication of luxury timepiece to the average consumer.
With years to come, we believe hybrid smartwatches will only become more powerful in features and sophisticated in design. Do you have a favourite smart timepiece? Share your thoughts with us in comments.