Ask a regular Joe in the 1980s what watches would look like in 2020, and he might have imagined the smartwatch: a gizmo with a touch screen that could read your heart rate and send messages to friends across the country at the same time.
We live in that tech-enabled future today. And yet, we still yearn for the old stuff, as humans sometimes do. Which is why the “hybrid smartwatch” — a still-being-defined type of timepiece that combines smart tech with old-school wristwatch looks — might be a sweet spot. And the options for 2020 prove that this type of watch likely isn’t going anywhere in the near future.
Skagen’s made its mark on the affordable quartz watches segment by keeping things simple and thin. The Hagen has a steel case that’s a little thicker than the brand’s usual at 12mm — but Skagen keeps the dial relatively minimalist, with a single large subdial at 9 o’clock that fulfills different functions, including sleep and fitness tracking.
Functions: Smartphone notification; sleep and fitness tracking; phone finder; music control
Battery Life: 6 months
Who needs a digital readout at all, anyway? Misfit’s Command swings entirely in the analog direction (when it comes to the dial and case, at least); the subdial at 6 o’clock has markers indicating its mode (day/date; alarm; second time zone; notification; link) as well as a meter tracking the day’s overall fitness (steps; distance; calories). Inside, it has most of the best smartwatch capabilities, and can even control your phone’s music volume.
Functions: Sleep tracking; smartphone notifications; activity tracking; music control; calorie counting, and more.
Battery Life: Up to one year
Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch
The Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch tracks your activity, sleep, and buzzes notifications from your phone, and the customizable pushers let you control your music or check the date. The battery lasts for up to a year, and best of all, it’s a damn sharp-looking watch for under $200.
Functions: Activity tracking; notifications; music control
Battery Life: Up to one year
Withings Steel HR Sport
Withings has been perfecting its unique hybrid look — metallic stick hands, quiet digital readout window, classic-style bezel — since 2014. The new Steel HR Sport has a heart rate monitor, multi-sport tracking, GPS and VO2 assessment, and it’s available in both black or white dials with loads of different strap options.
Functions: Heart rate; GPS; fitness tracking; smartphone notification; sleep tracking
Battery Life: Up to 25 days
Garmin Vivomove 3
A common problem with the hybrid smartwatch: where to put the smarts? Garmin’s cracked the code with the Vivomove 3: hide it in plain sight. It has real hands, a hidden display, and a touchscreen, and tracks sleep, fitness, and stress levels, plus heart rate, and more.
Functions: Heart rate; notifications; wellness and sleep tracking; activity tracking
Battery Life: Up to five days
Kronaby Sekel 41mm
Swedish Kronaby has been selling its hybrids since around 2015, and its got the design part nailed: several of its models, including the Sekel, are beautiful. The smart functions have been improving, according to reviewers, and include an app that helps users screen smartphone notifications, control music or a phone camera, and even find their misplaced phone.
Functions: Automatic time zone change; filtered notifications; reject calls; find my watch app; silent alarm; dual time zone; step tracker; stopwatch; find phone; music control and more
Battery Life: Up to 2 years
Mondaine Helvetica 1 Regular Hybrid Smartwatch
Just like the Alpina and the Frederique Constant watches, Mondaine’s hybrid smartwatch was developed by the Swiss company Manufacture Modules Technologies. It uses an app to track sleep and steps, it’s the cheapest of the three, and has Mondaine’s classic minimalist look — the utility of this hybrid smartwatch might just be the design-lover’s dream. What’s so “regular” about it? The font, which is a shift from the first edition’s “bold” typeface.
Functions: Activity and sleep tracking; automatic time zone changes; smartphone notifications alarm; dynamic coaching
Battery Life: Life: Up to 2 years
Like a handful of other Swiss brands, Alpina has embraced smart technology. The AlpinerX, which debuted at Baselworld 2018, features a light fiberglass case, a rubber strap, and an aggressively styled dial that combines a digital readout with analog hands. The 2020 version is inspired by the most popular versions of the customizable watch, and has the same set of features and an updated smartphone app.
Functions: Heart rate monitor; sleep tracking; smartphone notifications; UV; temperature; altitude; pressure; and north direction; notifications
Battery Life: Up to 2 years
Montblanc Summit 2
Remember what we said about hybrid smartwatches using traditional timekeeping? Throw that out the window for Montblanc’s Summit 2. It has a full-on OLED dial and runs a Google OS. But the maker of high-end watches (not to mention pens) does the smartwatch with such a straight face that you could almost mistake it for a mechanical watch: the case, crowns, pushers, and strap all scream “traditional.” Which is, for some, worth its $1,000 price tag.
Functions: Google Wear OS; including “timeshifter” app for jetlag; GPS; NFC payment and more
Battery Life: 1 day, plus 4-5 days in time only mode
Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture
Want a smartwatch with Swiss-made elegance (and a Swiss-made price tag)? This is your watch. Well, mostly. The decision to slap “HYBRID” in futuristic font on the dial might not fit everyone’s style. But then, the silver guilloche dial and classic Frederique Constant case shape do pair nicely with smartphone functionality. And yes, its movement is both mechanical (an automatic with 42-hour power reserve) and electronic.
Functions: Activity tracking; sleep monitoring; dynamic coach; world timer; movement analytics; cloud synched
Battery Life: 7+ days (mechanical movement has a 42-hour power reserve)