Don't let the analog faces of these smart watches fool you—they're really fitness trackers in disguise
Analog Watches Get a Modern Update
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Some people like their fitness trackers to be super discreet, a slim silicone band that goes virtually unnoticed—all the better to blend in with (or be completely covered by) an armful of bangles. (Heck, some people are lusting after fitness tracker "tech tats," possibly the most hideable wearable there is.)
I'm not one of these people. If I'm dropping a hundred-plus bucks on a wearable, I want it to look fancy. I want people at parties to spot it and ask me if that's "the new ______?" At the very least, I want it to be equipped with a few bells and whistles that can distract me when I'm stuck in a long line or boring meeting. Hmm, let's see how many steps I've taken today... That sort of thing.
The new trend in activity trackers might be the best of both worlds. They're not subtle, but they don't scream fitness freak either. They're trackers that look like regular, analog watches. But hidden within the dials are more data than you can imagine: steps walked, miles covered, laps swam, hours slept, calories burned, and more. Wear these smart watches all the time or just when you need a little extra bling, and you can be punctual and health-conscious. (But first, learn The Right Way to Use Your Fitness Tracker.)
Withings Activité Steel
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The Withings Activité Steel ($170; withings.com) is the newest launch in the Activité line, which also includes the super luxe, $450 Classic and the $150, multi-colored Pop. They all feature a minimalist face with two dials: one that shows you the current time and a smaller one that shows what percentage of your step goal you've met. There are no buttons. The watch automatically picks up when you start running or swimming, plus it tracks your sleep, offers a silent alarm, and comes with a no-charge-necessary battery. The companion app also just launched calorie-tracking. Basically, there's no reason to ever take it off. So you'll never realize mid-run that you forgot to put it on. (Psst... Check out 15 GIFs Every Fitness Tracker Addict Can Relate To.)
Movado Motion Series
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Movado recently released a trio of smart watches: The Museum Sport Motion (from $995; movado.com), the Bellina Motion (from $1,495; movado.com), and the not-yet-for-sale Bold Motion (from $695; movado.com). They're all gorgeous, boasting the classic Movado dot and clean face. All three track your steps, and the Bellina and Museum Sport lines both feature a second dial that shows the progress you're making toward your daily step goal; the Bold does the same through LED lights on the main dial. They also track sleep and pair with your smartphone to set alarms, let you know when you receive a text or call, alert you to upcoming appointments, and so on.
Photo: Movado Group Inc.
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Another recent release, the Timex Metropolitan+ (from $125; timex.com) comes in stainless steel or black, with your choice of a leather, nylon, or silicone strap. While it has a companion app, it shows you most of the data you need right on the watch face. A secondary dial shows you what percent of your custom-set step or distance goal you've achieved (you can toggle between the steps and distance settings with the press of a button), and a fourth hand shows you exactly how many steps or how many miles you've moved so far. Timex plans on launching a sleep-tracking feature in spring 2016. (Check out How Technology Has Changed Our Workouts.)
Pebble Time Round
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The new Pebble Time Round ($250; pebble.com) is a little different. It's actually a digital watch, but you can download any number of watch display faces, many of which are analog. It's super light, super thin, and super customizable, with 10 different color and width options. It needs to be charged every other day or so, and it's not the most intuitive watch we've worn—like the Apple watch, you download various apps to use, including the Misfit app to track activity and sleep. Another big downside: As of now, it doesn't offer a silicone strap, so you may want to take it off to workout. But we love that it lets you scroll through texts and social media notifications discreetly.
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The Nevo Watch ($300; nevowatch.com) is the epitome of simple. The face is white, with subtle hour and minute ticks, two hands, and a faint logo. But press a button by the winder, and white LED indicators will show your progress to your daily activity goal (it tracks steps, running distance, swimming, and calories burned). You can also set customizable color LED notifications to show when you receive a call, text, email, or more. Other features include a vibrating alarm, solar charging, and sleep time and quality tracking.
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The Runtastic Moment (from $130; runtastic.com) is another watch you can wear seamlessly all day long without taking it off—to work, to your workout, then to sleep. The waterproof watch displays your step count, calories burned, or progress to your sleep or activity goal on the face. It has a six-month battery, seven-day memory, vibration alerts, and sleep tracking too. And it comes in four styles, each of which is available in different colors, depending on your look: the Elite, the Classic, the Basic, and the Fun.
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The iFit Classic ($170; shop.ifit.com) comes with not one, but three fitness subdials in addition to the main time-telling one. One shows net calories, another shows steps covered, and a third shows calories in. (Yes, you can log what you eat directly on the watch.) It also has all the usual features—sleep monitoring, vibration alerts, water resistance, and extra-long battery life. IFit is also scheduled to come out with a new watch later this year, called the Duo. You can flip its face over to toggle between an analog watch and a high-tech screen, and it'll show fitness stats as specialized as elevation gain. (Question: Should You Count Calories To Lose Weight?)