Hybrid watches offer the best of both worlds, with smart connectivity, weeks-long battery life and beautifully designed.
Hybrid smartwatches take the Bluetooth connection, health features and fitness tracking of a regular smartwatch, then hide all of that technology inside the case of a regular looking timepiece. Some include a small, simple display for showing data like your heart rate or incoming notifications from your phone, while others have an entirely analog design, and then add a second analog dial for displaying more information.
These watches vary in price from less than half the price of an Apple Watch, to over $3,000, with the latter coming from some of the finest luxury Swiss watchmakers. There is also a huge range of options in-between, with many from the Fossil Group, its Skagen brand, and also Withings, the French fitness tech and wearable maker.
Here are some highlights which we think deserve your attention:
Fossil Hybrid HR – From $156
The Hybrid HR includes an always-on display under analog handsFossil
Announced in November 2019, this watch features a large circular display on its face, which looks similar to the screen of an ebook reader and is used to show notifications, weather reports, fitness data, alarms, a second time zone, and additional details.
In front of this always-on display sits a regular pair of analog hands sweeping around the face to tell the time as normal. The Hybrid HR is priced from just below $200 with various versions, including brown with a leather strap, black with a silicone strap, and silver with a matching stainless steel strap.
More feminine versions are also available, pictured below, but these all share the same 42mm case, which is the average size for a men's watch, so are better suited to a larger wrist.
The Hybrid HR misses out on integrated GPS and there's no NFC for making contactless Google Pay payments, but otherwise this is a complete hybrid watch, with heart rate sensor, sleep tracking and more. Battery life is a claimed two weeks and the Hybrid HR is water resistant to 30 meters.
Fossil Carlie – reduced to $49
Fossil Carlie hybrid smartwatchFossil
Reduced from $175 to just $49 while stocks last, the Fossil Carlie is a far more feminine answer to the Hybrid HR shown above. The watch features a smaller 36mm rose gold stainless steel case and up to six months battery life. Instead of a second dial, the watch points its hands at a certain hour marker to let you know about notifications coming through to your Bluetooth connected phone (iOS or Android).
The watch also tracks your daily activity and sleep, with all of that data visible on the phone app. Water resistance is 3ATM, so it is safe in the shower but shouldn't be taken swimming. The side buttons can be used to control certain aspects of your phone, for example taking a photo.
Withings Steel HR – from $180 to $300
The Withings Steel HR collectionWithings
The Steel HR range from French technology company Withings is one of the most varied on sale today. The range begins at $180 for the regular model, and stretches all the way to $300 for the luxury Sapphire version, with the Sport landed in the middle at $200. There are two different case sizes for the regular model, of 36mm and 40mm, making this a fairly compact hybrid watch suited to wrists of all sizes.
Withings offers no fewer than 20 strap options, plus various case designs and finishes, and all models of Steel HR comes with industry-standard lug bars and straps with quick-release lug bars, so any other strap can be fitted in just a couple of minutes.
All models include heart rate monitoring and automatic tracking of walking, running and swimming, plus manual tracking of over 10 other sports and activities. There's also sleep monitoring, a battery life of up to 25 days (plus an extra 20 with some features switched off), and the digital display shows phone notifications and health and fitness data. For a customizable hybrid watch, there are few options better than this.
Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch - Activity, Sleep, Fitness and Heart Rate Tracker with Connected GPS
Skagen Hagen – from $195
The Hagen hybrid costs from around $195Skagen
Part of the Fossil Group, Skagen offers a broad selection of hybrid smartwatches for men and women. Most feature a second dial for relaying information on your daily steps; this dial also points to indicate notifications arriving on your Bluetooth-connected phone.
Buttons on the side of the watch can be configured to control your smartphone — to take a photo, for example, or to play and pause music.
The Skagen Hagen accepts industry-standard 20mm straps, and is powered by a regular CR2430 watch battery, which the company claims will last around six months before it needs replacing. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters and works with both iOS and Android smartphones.
Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch – from $155
The model of Fossil Hybrid is reminiscent of a GMT watch with its blue and red bezelFossil
Fossil's Hybrid Smartwatch range is broad and includes models with a number of different colors, straps, sizes and designs. Prices have recently been reduced to start from $119 (down from $175), and all models work with the same iOS and Android smartphone app.
These watches all function in a very similar way, with a second dial indicating your daily step count, and three buttons are used to show different pieces of information and control your smartphone music playback. They also all record exercise and track your sleep, and offer between six months and one year of life from a regular cell battery.
A great option for buyers who want a traditional-looking diving or GMT watch, but which still has more than an element of connected smartness onboard.
Fossil Women's 36mm Jacqueline Stainless Steel and Leather Hybrid Smart Watch, Color: Rose Gold, Blue (Model: FTW5014)
Garmin Vivomove HR – $349
The Garmin Vivimove HR hybrid smartwatchGarmin
The Vivomove HR by Garmin looks like a regular analogue watch, until its discrete digital display lights up across the lower half of the dial. Invisible when not showing some information, the display works like that of many of many other hybrids, in that it shows phone notifications, exercise, sleep and fitness data, your heart rate, and even your current stress level. The watch is water resistant to 5ATM, which means it is safe to swim with but shouldn't be taken diving. Battery life is a claimed five days, which is a little on the short side compared to most other hybrid watches.
The Vivomove is available in a wide range of colors and styles to suit every outfit, and the straps can be swapped out for any other. The case size is 43mm.
Garmin vívomove HR, Hybrid Smartwatch for Men and Women, Gold with Black Italian Leather
Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch - $1095
The Horological is a luxury Swiss hybrid smartwatchFrederique Constant
Although most hybrids comfortably undercut so-called proper smartwatches, like those from Apple and Samsung, this isn't universally the case, as the next model proves. The high price is due to the fact that Frederique Constant is a luxury Swiss watch maker which in recent years has dabbled in the hybrid market.
Its first offer, the Hybrid Manufacturer, will set you back $3,500, so $1095 shouldn't be sniffed at in terms of price. For that, buyers get a luxury watch with a 42mm case, leather strap, sapphire crystal front, a Swiss quartz movement, and activity and sleep tracking.
Much like other hybrids, the Frederique Constant delivers information on your step count and other variables via a second dial. The watch's smartphone app works with iOS and Android, and the 21mm straps are interchangeable thanks to industry-standard lug bars.
Misfit Command - $150
The Command hybrid smartwatchMisfit
Another hybrid offered with a range of colors and finishes, the Misfit Command has a second dial like many others, but can also use its hour and minute hands to point at information when requested, including the day and date.
Meanwhile, the second dial points at icons to identify notifications when they arrive on your phone, Say a text comes in; the watch will vibrate (as most hybrids do) then use its second dial to point at the text message icon. The watch's accelerometer tracks your daily steps, distance, swimming (water resistance is 50 meters) and sleep.
The company says the battery will last one year, and the Misfit's app works with both iOS and Android.
Alpina Seastrong Horological Smart Watch – Around $595
Alpina is a traditional Swiss watchmaker, and as a result the Seastrong hybrid hides its smarts more than most. Based on the company's range of analogue Seastrong watches, this model has a second dial for showing exercise and activity data, and is connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that shows more data, including sleep tracking.
This hybrid is larger than most, with a case diameter of 45.5mm. Water resistance is also more than most, at 330 feet, so it can be taken swimming and snorkelling but not diving.
Withings Move ECG - $130
Our third and final visit to Withings is for the Move ECG, which is the only hybrid smartwatch to include ECG functionality. Just like on the Apple Watch Series 4 and up, the Move ECG measures the electrical activity of your heart in the same way a single-lead electrocardiogram does, and alerts you if it spots potential signs of atrial fibrillation, which can lead to stroke and heart disease.
As well as its ECG function, the Move ECG works like the rest of the Withings range. This means it automatically tracks your walking, running, cycling and dozens of other exercises and sports, and your sleep.
Although available to buy now in Europe and the UK, Withings is still waiting for approval from the FDA to sell the Move ECG in the US.
If you need help in finding a good hybrid smartwatch, try The GearBrain, our compatibility find engine for smart devices. It's free and it can help you find any type of smartwatch including ones that are compatible with your smartphone or tablet.
How to Find Products in The GearBrain, Our Compatibility Find Engine for Smart Devices www.youtube.com