How the smartwatch got stylish

Smartwatches are getting better looking with Apple and Android Wear being joined by watchmakers like Tissot and Michael Kors. Is it time you went smart?

24 Mar 2016


Motorola Moto Smartwatch

The smartwatch is still a step too far for some people. They think them faddy, funny-looking and not really needed when they already have a smartphone. The overly techy design of the first watches – big and boxy – didn’t win over the style mags either.

Apple and Google have both answered that with watches that blend excellent design with truly useful (and user-friendly) functionality - going beyond merely delivering text messages to your wrist. The Apple Watch, and the Motorola Moto 360 in particular.

These better-looking designs have contributed to a huge rise in the number of smartwatches being sold (over 30 million last year according to analyst Gartner).

The trend for better-looking smartwatches shows no signs of letting up either, with traditional and fashion watchmakers like Tissot and Michael Kors showing off smart models at a Switzerland watch show.


The watch as a style statement

Watches have always been about status and style as much as function.

From early Rolex adverts showing Arctic explorers wearing their prestigious timepieces to the Tag Heuer ads of today with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio suited, booted and, well, watched. People like their watch to be a status symbol, according to statistics from Mintel 

The Apple Watch is becoming a status symbol in the same way as Rolexes et al – with hip hop stars, actors and models among those photographed wearing Apple wristwear.  

How important is the way a watch looks? Over a quarter of watch-owning people wear one as a fashion accessory, with a similar percentage rarely using it to tell the time – the Mintel data reveals.


Smartwatches get stylish

Baselworld is the watch industry’s main trade show. It’s held in the home of traditional watchmaking – Basel, Switzerland. It has always focused on proper watches. Until now.

At this year’s show a number of big name watchmakers showed off models that were smart. Tissot, Fossil and Michael Kors all launched smartwatches.

What does this mean for you? A collection of watches that look pretty much the same as any other watch you may buy but are packed with smart features.


1. Michael Kors and Android Wear

Michael Kors watches are known for being elegant and chic. These traditional style watches, with round faces, leather or metal straps and pretty detailing, often feature in the style supplements. 

One in five women prefer watches from fashion brands (Mintel), and now they can have that while also going smart with a desirable Michael Kors smartwatch. 

As well as looking stylish, it also delivers updates from your phone, such as messages and calendar updates. That’s because it runs Google’s Android Wear software - the version of Google Android designed for smartwatches.


Credit: Business Wire

2. Tissot Smart-Touch

The elegant but understated designs of watchmaker Tissot have won approval from the likes GQ magazine. With traditional round faces and metal casings, they’re design classics.

Now this most analogue of watch gets a digital update with the Smart-Touch – an outdoorsy-looking watch that can connect to your phone.

You’ll be able to find your way around using your phone’s navigation. While local weather conditions will be shown on the watch’s screen.


The best-looking smartwatches from big tech companies

As we said earlier, smartwatches made by tech companies are also getting much better-looking. Out go big, boxy designs – in come slender, curvy watches made from premium metals.

Apple Watch comes in many options, and you can customise further by changing the straps on them. Here are a couple of favourites:

  • Minimalist chic: you can’t go wrong with space grey and black Apple Watch. Black was John Lennon’s favourite colour, and it goes with everything.Pair this watch a black turtleneck and skinny jeans for maximum minimalist impact
  • Shabby chic smartwatch: With a rose gold watch face finish and a pretty lavender strap, you’ll be smart and shabby chic with the rose gold and lavender Apple Watch


Motorola Moto 360: If you want a watch that looks like a watch, look to the Moto 360. It has a traditional round face with brushed metal finish and a brown leather strap. Perfect for the dapper gent.

Find your perfect smartwatch