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6 of the best smart watches

Smart watches have transformed the wristwatch into a personal assistant. We take a close look at six top contenders.

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Smart watches are getting increasingly more intelligent with the advances of technology. The latest models can track glucose levels, call the emergency services if you fall, check the performance of a mechanical watch movement, and even help improve your game of golf.

Montblanc Summit 2

The Montblanc Summit 2 focuses on travel, health and exploration with a design that merges the lines between fine watchmaking and a smart watch. This 42mm timepiece gives an authentic feeling of a Montblanc watch on your wrist while offering a host of smart features thanks to Google’s Wear OS technology and a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. Details like the stainless steel rotating crown and pushers mirror the brand’s 1858 chronograph design and there is a large choice of customizable watch faces from Montblanc’s mechanical collections, allowing you to change the style of your watch whenever you like.

The Summit 2 features exclusive apps created for urban explorers and business travellers such as the Timeshifter app that provides personalized advice on how to minimize the effects of jet lag, or the Travel Info app that provides local information such as currency rates, taxi rates and useful phrases. There are also GPS maps so you never get lost.

For fitness enthusiasts, there is the Montblanc Running Coach app that analyses your current fitness level (using your VO2 max) and provides heart rate monitoring and a bespoke training plan to meet your fitness and health goals.

The Montblanc Summit is water resistant to 50 meters, includes a microphone, an altimeter, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a sensor for ambient light.

Price: CHF 995

Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon

Louis Vuitton recently released its second generation of smartwatches that combines the French Maison’s luxury design with the very latest smartwatch technology. The watch comes in a 42mm stainless steel case (with many different PVD colored options) and there is also a white ceramic version with gem-set lugs. It is powered by Wear OG by Google and a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and features an AMOLED touch screen display with a resolution of 390 x 390 pixels.

For the features, it has a 24-hour ring with a day/night indicator, which is visible even in ambient mode, along with the more usual functions such as time, date, alarm, timer, notifications and contactless payment.

What makes the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon special is its very own features that include a range of Louis Vuitton customizable faces with the codes of the brand (canvas, strips, Monogram or Damier patterns). There is also a cool LV City Guide travel application, a My 24 Hours watch face (indicating 24 time zones, step counter, agenda, pollution indicator, weather and temperature), plus a My Travel app (flights, train, hotel and travel information).

Price: Euros 4’000

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Gold Edition

The beauty of the TAG Heuer Connected Modular smartwatch is that you can design your very own version through the brand’s configurator and select the size, color, material, strap, dial, lugs and module of choice to create your very own watch.

This year the brand unveiled its Golf Edition that comes in a black PVD-coated titanium case, with a ceramic bezel and a white strap with green stitching (It also comes with an easy-change black strap if white is a bit to flashy for you).

The golf features come via TAG Heuer’s own golf app where you can search for a course near you and then start playing. The app includes over 39,000 golf courses worldwide, which is quite spectacular. The watch presents each hole with the distance from where you are standing and indicates any obstacles. It will record your shots and you can even enter the club you used to keep track of games over time. It also tracks which hole you are currently on with a marker that aligns to the hole number on the bezel.

The watch is powered by Google’s Wear OS technology with an Intel Atom processor which makes it much faster and smoother. The touch screen is covered with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and it is equipped with multiple sensors. In addition to the golf features, it can also send messages, receive notifications, play music and you can download other apps.

Price: CHF 1’950

Frederique Constant

What if you like the functionality of smart watches, but prefer the look and magic of a mechanical watch? Then Frederique Constant may just have the watch for you. On the outside, there is no indication that Frederique Constant’s Hybrid Manufacture Smartwatch is a smart watch at all. It has all the design features of an elegant men’s mechanical dress watch, and yet it includes the best of both worlds with an automatic movement and an electronic module.

The mechanical movement indicates the hours, minutes, sweeping seconds and date on the dial, while the electronic module tracks a whole series of health information available via Bluetooth on your phone. It has an activity tracker, sleep monitoring and dynamic coach, as well as a handy function that sets the second time zone in the sub dial at 12 o’clock. But this is not all, traditional watch lovers will also love a brand-new function called Caliber Analytics, which allows the electronic module to check the rate, amplitude and beat error of the mechanical movement to see if it is running on time. Just like your car might tell you when your tire pressure gets low, the Hybrid Manufacture Smartwatch will tell you if your watch is losing or gaining time and needs a service.

Other important things to note are that the electronic module is protected with an antimagnetic shield so it doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the mechanical movement. The watch has a seven-day power reserve and comes with a box that not only winds the automatic movement, but charges the battery too. The part that holds the watch in the box can also be easily removed so you can continue charging your watch while traveling.

The Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture comes in four different versions: three in stainless steel and one in rose gold plating with a choice of black, blue or silver dials and is water resistant to 50 meters.

Price: From CHF 3’250 

Apple Watch Series 4

No smart watch review would be complete without a mention of the giant Apple. Since the release of the electronic giant’s first smart watch in 2015, the brand has been constantly improving its smart watch and the latest Apple Watch Series 4 comes with a whole range of health and wellness functions including an ECG that can track your heart’s rhythm and will notify you if there is a problem. It also tracks your heart over time so you can share the information with your doctor if need be. There is a fall detector that will call the emergency services if you fall and remain immobile for over a minute, as well as mindfulness activities to help relieve stress, and glucose alerts for those suffering from diabetes.

For athletes looking for fitness functions, the Apple Watch has a whole series of features for running (steps, distance, time, pace alerts, split training and cadence), gym workouts (it pairs with compatible gym equipment) and swimming (water resistance to 50 meters, tracks both pool and open-water workouts). You can also challenge friends to contests, follow contestants in a competition and talk to friends via the Walkie-Talkie feature.

The beauty of the new Apple Watch Series 4 is that it is cellular, so you don’t need your phone to be close by, which is a huge benefit. You can also listen to music, pay via Apple Pay Cash, call, text and if in doubt, ask Siri!

The Apple Series 5 is expected to be unveiled in September and rumours predict the arrival of sleep tracking, a new ceramic case option, a faster processor and a built-in camera. Stay tuned for more.

Price: From CHF 449

 

Samsung Galaxy Active2

This latest version to the Samsung watch line – the Galaxy Active2 – is a great smart watch for the best of connected living. The round design is smooth and ergonomic with the watch being activated through the brand’s signature rotating bezel that can be turned in both directions. There are numerous functions for tracking sleep, a fitness coach (with 39 workouts including every sport you can imagine), stress management with the Calm app and music via the Spotify app.

The watch also handles calls, texts, social media notifications etc. and you can even watch videos on the watch face. Another cool feature allows you to take your own photo and upload it to the dial for a personalized watch face. There is also the possibility to recharge your watch via your phone thanks to wireless power sharing, which is obviously very practical.

The watch comes in two sizes – 40mm and 44mm – and two styles with a lightweight aluminum version with a Fluoroelastomer (FKM) band, or a premium stainless steel model that comes with a leather strap. Pre-orders are available early September.

Price: From USD 279.99

 

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