Baselworld—“The most important marketplace and trendsetting show for the world’s watches, jewellery…” and smartwatches? Yes.

Samsung

Samsung is at the forefront of wearable technology and that’s no secret to anyone. All eyes were on its latest Galaxy, the S8, especially so after the Note 7 debacle last year and its chief’s arrest in February. However, in Baselworld, it was its Gear concept smartwatches, designed by Yvan Arpa, that garnered the attention and for good reason.

The crown jewel has to be the vintage-looking stopwatch that married both the latest technology and an old-fashioned compass. In a black clamshell-type arrangement, the front lid houses blue and red needles that point to directions indicated by indices painted on the bezel. After you flip it open, you will get the normal smartwatch and its associated interface. On its back is a heart rate monitor.

On the other hand, the second version of the stopwatch is not a smartwatch at all, because housed inside the chrome and stain-finished stainless steel case is an analogue watch with its all electronic parts ripped out. In their place are mechanical components, including blue and white hour and minute hands.

Additionally, there is also a small concept collection based on the Gear S3. Two of which are analogue watches with the Swiss Made labels proudly displayed on their dials. So you now know Samsung Group doesn’t just build ships, construct skyscrapers and insure lives, it is quite capable of assembling good-looking analogue watches too.

However, there is no information on when or if they will be made available to the public. We certainly hope Samsung will transfer some of the design elements to production units because these concepts certainly look the best efforts by Samsung to date.

Movado

US watchmaker Movado unveiled the Movado Connect. We have all come to love the Moto 360’s minimalist and elegant aesthetics, but at the same time, largely let down by its flat-tyre watch face. The Movado Connect is built in a similar mould, minus the flat tyre. The understated elegance of Movado Connect firmly lies in its smooth round dial, bezel-less design and monochrome colour scheme.

Montblanc

This is an unmistakably large smartwatch. A 46mm case and with a 12.5mm thickness, you will need more than sheer confidence to pull the Montblanc Summit off on your wrist. Before we get too hung up on what’s big and thick though, the case size means the smartwatch has a huge cavity to house various advanced components that make it great.

It has a vibrant high-resolution 400 x 400-pixel AMOLED screen, heart rate monitor, barometer, microphone, and efficient processor and ample memory for a smooth Android Wear 2.0 experience. It is also a robust smartwatch as evidenced by its IP68-standard water-resistant competence. If you like a Minerva and are the type who are after the latest technological offerings, this is ‘it’.

Tag Heuer

They say the second generation is always more superior than the first. That’s not to say the Tag Heuer Connected isn’t a good smartwatch, in fact it’s a success, but rather the fresh-out- of-the-oven Connected Modular 45 takes it to a whole new level. As suggested by its name, the new smartwatch’s straps, lugs and modules can be swapped with ease.

Michael Kors

The maker of many fashion watches out in the market, Fossil Group, revealed that it intends to launch not one, not two, but a staggering 300 of smartwatches and hybrid watches across its portfolio this year. That means 14 brands under its licensing agreements, including Diesel, Emporio Armani and Michael Kors, will be getting the ‘smart’ or ‘hybrid’ treatment.

The reason behind this sudden expansion is due to the shift in how consumers today perceive a watch. “They are wearing it to stay connected to the people and activities they care about most while remaining fashionably on point,” revealed Greg McKelvey, Fossil Group chief strategy and digital officer. Not all the information is available at the moment, but we know that these watches will be marketed progressively as the year goes on.

For now, Michael Kors’ latest smartwatch for men, called the Access Grayson, will be accompanied by My Social micro-app that allows you to use your Instagram picture as the watch face. Fossil says new micro-apps, customised to each brand, will also be introduced together with the watches.

As for hybrid watches, they have some connected functions built in to convenient your life. They won’t be loaded with Android Wear 2.0 or fitted with a full AMOLED screen, instead they can be programmed to perform nifty tasks such as activity tracking, music controlling and device locating.

If you still haven’t found the perfect smartwatch, keep your fingers crossed.

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani already has a few hybrid watched in its portfolio that sync with your phone for time adjustment and activity tracking, but according to Fossil Group, we will witness the first Emporio Armani smartwatch this year. Named the Emporio Armani Connected, it is set for release somewhere in September and will be operating on Android Wear 2.0.

Fashion brand Diesel also put forward a rugged, military-inspired 42mm smartwatch that either you will love it (because you’re a bloke) or hate it (because it’s too in your face). The Diesel On runs on the latest Android Wear 2.0 and is equipped with all the customisation options that come with it. So if the green watch face doesn’t appeal to you, keep swiping.

Diesel

Fashion brand Diesel also put forward a rugged, military-inspired 42mm smartwatch that either you will love it (because you’re a bloke) or hate it (because it’s too in your face). The Diesel On runs on the latest Android Wear 2.0 and is equipped with all the customisation options that come with it. So if the green watch face doesn’t appeal to you, keep swiping.

Guess

At first glance, the Guess Connect Touch may very well be mistaken for a traditional diver’s watch. Its bezel contains cutaways, or teeth, commonly associated with the diver and gives an impression that it can be rotated.

With the Connect Touch, Guess is looking to cover plenty of bases with the new smartwatch but the primary focus is still style, with over 100 combinations of display faces, colours and sub-dials made available.

Frederique Constant

Frederique Constant was among the earliest haute horlogerie brands to delve into wearable tech. In 2015, the manufacture released the Horological Smartwatch, and it’s exceptional. It isn’t a smartwatch that is jam packed with tiny OLEDs and Qualcomm silicones. However, it is a hybrid watch that married the best of both worlds—an equal proportion of Swiss aesthetics and activity-tracking sensors for a truly sumptuous dress watch.

Late last year, the second-generation Horological Smartwatch upped the ante with additional functions such as setting off a vibration when your contacts text or call. In place of the first generation sub-dial, which provides information on activities such as sleep patterns, steps taken, calories burnt, among others, is a revamped mechanism that presents the same information in a different way. Activities are now indicated via various icons spread out around the dial. The hands will move to show your progress by pressing the crown.

For example, the long hand will turn to the walking icon (steps taken), while the short hand will spin to the index that corresponds with the goal percentage (three for 25%, six for 50%, nine for 75%).

Hugo Boss

It’s never too late to join the party and certainly not a bad effort by Hugo Boss. Even though the dimension hasn’t been mentioned to the public, at first glance, the Touch looks handsome with its leather band and won’t look out of place among Hugo Boss’ suits and cufflinks.

It’s equipped with Android 2.0 and NFC. Aesthetics-wise, the Touch is made of carbon black IP stainless steel and there will be five digital watch faces, designed by Hugo Boss, to choose from. It’s slated to be available from August.

Alpina

Alpina has the whole game figured out—that is not a shred of exaggeration in that statement.

If you haven’t logged on to its website, www.alpinawatches.com, please do so. There is an incontrovertible reason why serial accomplishers Børge Ousland, the only person
who has crossed both poles unsupported, and Melissa Arnot, who reached the Everest summit six times, accessorise themselves with an Alpina smartwatch, because it is tough.

Here you get the customary stainless steel caseback, but the frame of the 44mm case uses fibreglass as its choice material. Together they seal the smartwatch so tightly that it can survive at the depth of 100m. On top of that, the unidirectional bezel is also present.The watch in question? The Seastrong Horological.

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