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When it comes to choosing the best designer smart watches, you will not be short of options to choose from in what is an expanding designer smartwatch space.
In this review article, we present 8 of the best luxury smart watches to get you started.
It needs no telling that watches are a great item to own. For the elegant lady or gentleman, it is a must-have accessory.
Whether you are a passionate collector or simply someone who appreciates a good timepiece on their wrist, you will not be short of options to make a pick from in a growing luxury smartwatch market.
Smart watches became a thing sometime last decade. Since then, this particular market segment has witnessed tremendous growth.
Initially, smart watches were produced by tech companies. In fact the mention of the word itself most likely evokes images of the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Fitbit Versa and such.
Thing is, though, while great looking, these smartwatches aren’t exactly what some of us would call luxury as most are a product of tech companies as opposed to luxury watch brands.
However, certain watch houses and designer brands are seeking to change this narrative as they start exploring the realm of smartwatches with their own lines that add a layer of style to the tech.
In this article, we review some of the best luxury smart watches on the market worth your consideration.
And just as a preamble, it is important to point out that there exists a world of luxury smartwatches that are beyond the reach of Joe Blow. Watches that cost like Ferraris and worth more than most people’s homes value.
They do exist, but as you continue working towards them, we think we will leave these for the Floyd Mayweathers of this world for now.
But if you are in the mood for some retail therapy, we have a post here just for you (you’re welcome).
Top Designer Smart Watches
First up on our list is a name most people are familiar with. The Armani brand has made strong forays into the smart wearables market, serving its tribe of ardent fans with products with and without screens.
One of their latest stabs in the smart screen category comes from the brand’s most affordable wing, Armani Exchange. But do not misconstrue that to mean this is a cheap smartwatch.
The Armani Exchange Connected Smartwatch will set you back a little over £200, but it just might be a cost worth incurring.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking this to be a regular watch. That’s because that is the design it assumes, unlike your regular smartwatch.
It has an all-metal construction that includes a metal bezel, a traditional crown with two pushers flanking it on the usual right side, in addition to a stainless steel strap.
For this reason, we think the Armani Exchange Connected Smartwatch is an excellent choice for someone who wants a smartwatch that doesn’t veer off from a traditional watch design.
That’s a big clincher actually, when you consider not everyone is into the whole contemporary sporty look associated with smartwatches.
Under the hood, the Armani Exchange smartwatch is powered by Google’s Wear OS which has the advantage of pairing with both Android and iOS platforms.
In terms of smart features, what this watch does largely is give you the ability to receive notifications on your wrist. You can accept or decline calls, read Whatsapp messages and reply, as well as scroll through.
You can choose from various clock faces to change its appearance, and you can use the watch to control music on your phone too.
When it comes to fitness tracking, the Armani Exchange Connected Smartwatch offers that, although it could be said that this ability is crippled by the fact that the watch comes with a metal strap.
How’s that a handicap exactly?
Well, as you may know, traditionally, metal strap watches should be worn slightly on the wrist. Which means if you rock the Armani smartwatch this way, the tracking features will work with less accuracy or fail to even record at all.
As well, the heft deems it a hard pick to go to bed with, so sleep tracking is off the table.
However, the good thing is that tracking features work well when it is a snug fit. For that, though, you might have to remove some of the strap linkages to boost its performance.
All in all, this is a very stylish watch that does the basics extremely well. It can deliver all notifications to your wrist, and while the tracking accuracy leave a little to be desired, there is a workaround to that pitfall as we just pointed out.
The Armani Exchange Connected Smartwatch goes well with both casual and formal wear, making it a great choice if you want a watch that looks great in the gym as it does in the boardroom.
- Subtle traditional design that should appeal to people who need smart features in a normal-looking watch
- Premium feel for the price
- Available in a choice of colours
- Features heart rate monitor, GPS and NFC
- Strap may be a loose fit for some people, but that can be corrected
At a time when the Apple Watch Series 5 is going for about £400, forking out twice as much for a watch that offers less in features may not sound too savvy.
However, there are people who demand a little bit more as far as luxury goes. Looking at it from this standpoint, the Montblanc Summit 2 makes perfect sense.
For starters, this is one hell of a great looking watch. Inspired by Montblanc’s legendary 1858 collection, this is an elegant smartwatch that improves over the original Montblanc Summit and is sure to make you feel good about yourself.
Just like the Armani Exchange smartwatch, this too doesn’t come across as a smartwatch until you look at the display.
However, the default watch face resembles a traditional luxury timepiece. Montblanc gives you 10 watch faces to choose from. The default we are talking about is the 1858, a classic look intended for the design.
You can always swap between the faces as your mood dictates.
There are two based around fitness – the Workout Coach and Activity faces. There is also a very unique one called Timeshifter built for the app that goes by the same name which aids frequent world travellers in curbing jet lag.
It creates a jet lag plan for you and makes recommendations on stuff to do to stay awake and refresh.
The Montblanc Summit 2 boasts a beautiful stainless steel case and comes in a leather strap that serves to add to its premium look and feel.
It runs on Wear OS from Google, serving you the usual menu of customisable watch faces, the ability to download apps directly from the watch, and of course, Google Assistant support.
In addition to a range of Android-powered apps, Montblanc also offers an array of their own.
It is a smartwatch that delivers a wealth of information generally – a bunch of it useful – all presented immaculately as you would expect from the German luxury brand.
As alluded to, there are fitness apps to aid in your sessions and help keep track of your daily progress.
But fitness is a bit of a whiff on this smartwatch unfortunately, as is the GPS.
Sure, Montblanc provided all the right things, but they don’t work as smoothly as they should. The GPS, for instance, works fine when it’s tethered (connected GPS), but solo GPS finds it hard to establish a connection in a number of environments.
The Summit 2 promises a day and a half of battery life, and that is what you get. That should be enough for most people even when you forget to charge it overnight – more so if you decide to off the continuous heart-rate monitor.
Besides, if you feel you’re running low on juice, you can always switch to battery saving mode which turns the smartwatch into, eh, a dumb watch.
Overall, the Montblanc Summit 2 makes a solid case as one of the best luxury smart watches in the market.
For the few inherent hitches present, the upside is that they are solvable by a software update, so let’s hope Montblanc will provide that in the not too distant future.
- Gorgeous stylish design
- Top-notch performance
- Scratch-resistant crystal
- Multiple watch faces to choose from
- Myriad useful apps such as the Timeshifter
- Water resistance of 5 ATM (swim proof)
- Fitness features could be improved
- Built-in GPS doesn’t work as it should
Michael Kors is another of the growing number of luxury brands to launch a smartwatch.
Actually, the American fashion designer has built up quite a repertoire of smartwatches with an undeniable sense of style that are flying off the shelves like hot cakes.
One such smartwatch is the recently released Michael Kors Access Runway for women, an enhancement of the Michael Kors Sofie (its predecessor).
This is a chic smartwatch that, like most designer smartwatches, could be mistaken for an analogue timepiece. It assumes a circular form, with a metallic bezel and a traditional textured crown flanked by two sizeable buttons that produce a satisfying click, all hooked to a stainless steel strap.
The fashionable design should look great on her, but beyond the aesthetics, she will find it quite practical too.
In addition to touchscreen functionality, the physical buttons on the Access Runway come in handy when trying to access your favourite apps.
The watch runs on Google’s Wear OS and can pair with both Android and iPhone.
It has a long list of smart features that include distance trekked, step tracking with Google Fit and calories burned, in addition to keeping track of your heart rate, results of which can be saved in the Google Fit app.
If you want to monitor your beats readily, the Michael Kors Access Runway Smartwatch gives you an assortment of faces that present it to you on the front display without having to fiddle with the buttons while at the same time allowing you to customise your dial.
The fitness apps aside, this watch is big on other applications you will find useful, including the usual like weather, time zone and music control, on top of others like Google Pay, LED flashlight, wireless syncing and more.
Performance is great. The luxury smartwatch works without any noticeable lag, and battery should last you a full day on a single charge.
The 24 hours advertised by the manufacturer seems a bit optimistic as most users report 12 hours when everything is turned on – GPS, heart rate sensor et al. However, it should last longer when in low-power mode.
Still, in the event you forget to charge the smartwatch, the new magnetic USB rapid charger makes it possible to get the watch to 80% charge in just over an hour.
Speaking of GPS and notifications, the Access Runway has built-in GPS that doesn’t need tethering. NFC as well.
Ladies will love how nicely tiled the notifications are presented in a chronological fashion. This makes it easier to read and scroll through each one. A swipe in either direction gets rid of the notification.
What’s more, the Michael Kors Access Runway gives you an assortment of faces that allow you to customise your dial and add a dash of glitz and glamour.
The Access Runway Smartwatch from Michael Kors is undoubtedly one of the most striking smartwatches on the market. Equipped with a ton of features that run smoothly, you will be hard pressed to find a more unique luxury smartwatch for women.
It would make for a perfect gift.
- Fashionable design
- Rich array of practical apps that actually function
- Smooth performance
- Crisp display on all available watch faces
- Built-in GPS works great
- Fast charging
- Strap may need some pro adjustment on some hands
- Not the watch for getting your hands dirty – in the gym, for example
TAG Heuer’s design prowess translates well over to a luxury smartwatch. This Swiss luxury watch teams TAG Heuer with the themes of 2017’s film Kingsman: The Golden Circle, to give us something unique. The modern take on a classic TAG design offers precision watchmaking with connectivity.
- Dial: AMOLED, 400 × 400 Pixels
- Case Material and Width: Titanium (Grade 5) Black PVD 45 mm
- Case (WxD): 1.77×0.54 inches (45mm x 13.75mm)
- Battery Power: Up to 25 hours
- Straps: Leather
- Colors: White, Black, Red
- Water Resistance:160 Feet (50 m)
- Other Functionalities: GPS, Bluetooth, Android, Touchscreen
- Memory: 1 GB Memory, 8 GB Storage
Case and Bezel
A stunning 45 mm case gives the watch real presence and marks its character as a true man’s smartwatch. The bezel has a black PVD coating that is resistant to fading.
TAG Heuer uses grade-5 black titanium for the case material, which is an alloy superior to pure titanium. Grade-5 titanium has a high resistance to thermal expansion and seawater, making it a great all-round sports watch.
The 45 Kingsman has an interactive touchscreen face with AMOLED display at a resolution of 400×400 (287ppi). The display has incredible clarity and projects artificial watch faces that would fool most people.
A sapphire glass crystal protects the screen — a technology you see in top-end watches.
The rechargeable battery gives you 25 hours of standby time — with normal usage. Turning on all the connectivity features will reduce the battery time. A charging puck and micro-USB cable are both in the presentation box.
Colors and Straps
The Kingsman 45 has large 18-carat rose gold lugs that project out from the case and embellish the leather strap. Straps are easy to remove and interchange thanks to quick-release latches on the inside of the case.
The Kingsman has GPS, compass, altimeter, thermometer, barometer, and a range of other sensors. Health information can interact with an app on your smartphone, so you can keep on top of your health regime.
Bluetooth or USB means that you can connect to an Android or Apple device and update your watch with new faces and apps. And Bluetooth allows you to receive notifications of messages or alerts without having to look at your phone. NFC also lets you pay, direct from your watch.
- A vast number of sensors.
- Sapphire crystal face.
- A stylish strap.
- Strong titanium case.
- A large presentation box to keep your investment in.
- The leather strap will need replacing with a rubber or metal strap if you go sea swimming.
- Fixed bezel.
Apple is now the most popular smartwatch in the world, with over 55% of the market at the beginning of 2020. Apple has produced a variety of designs to personalize the look for each wearer.
- Dial: Retina IPS LCD (368×448 — 272×340 Pixels)
- Case Material and Width: Aluminum, Steel, Titanium, Ceramic
- Case (WxD): 1.73 —1.5 inches (44mm — 38mm)
- Battery Power: Up to 18 hours
- Straps: Rubber, Fabric, Leather, Stainless Steel
- Colors: All
- Water Resistance:160 Feet (50m)
- Other Functionalities: 4G LTE, GPS, Bluetooth, Android, Touchscreen
- Memory: 1 GB Memory, 8 GB — 32 GB Storage
Case and Bezel
Apple now makes two basic models — the Series 5, and the Series 3. Series 5 Apple Watch comes in either a 44mm or 40mm case. Where the series 3 comes in either a 42mm or 38mm case. Both the Series 5 and the Series 3 are indistinguishable in design.
Both the 3 and 5 series use Apple’s retina display. For retina quality, the number of pixels on the screen must exceed the density of what the human eye can perceive at 12 inches.
And Apple also uses sapphire crystal on the higher-end models. While the aluminum sport model has Ion-X glass, which shaves a fair amount off the weight.
Even though the processing speed of the watch is the same as earlier editions, there are improvements to the power efficiency. Battery capacity is now greater across all case sizes, And the battery will last for up to 18 hours in normal operating conditions.
The power will last half as long when an application is running (10 hours), and a half of that with connection to a smart device (5-7 hours). The Apple Watch takes around 2.5 hours to charge to full power from flat.
Colors and Straps
The basic design of the Apple Watch does not change much along with their range of styles, but you do get an amazing choice of straps and cases. Rose gold, black, and white is a practical alternative to chrome. And the straps range from basic materials to designer brands such as Adidas, and Hermes.
The Apple Watch comes with all the usual sensors, including one that works as an ECG heart sensor.
All models have the choice for 4G LTE, and Bluetooth comes as standard across the range.
- Signature look.
- Intuitive to use.
- An enormous number of strap designs.
- Retina display.
- Apple Pay.
- You need an iPhone 6s or later, it will not work on an Android device.
- Square face.
Breitling makes watches to last forever, and this smartwatch has one of the longest power reserves of any we have seen. The EXOSPACE B55 takes the classic Breitling face and improves on it for the 21st century— where a watch and a smart device works side by side.
- Dial: Analog Hands and Dual-LCD
- Case Material and Width: Titanium, Sapphire Crystal
- Case (WxD): 1.81×0.6 Inches (46mm x 15.25mm)
- Battery Power: up to 50 Days
- Straps: Rubber, Fabric, Leather, Stainless Steel
- Colors: Blue, Black, Titanium
- Water Resistance: 330 Feet (100 m)
- Other Functionalities: Bluetooth, Android, and iOS
- Memory: N/A
Case and Bezel
The wide 46mm case weighs an impressive 3 – 4 times that of the Apple Watch. Breitling builds for strength. And the impressive 330-foot water-resistance of the watch shows its strength. The bezel also rotates in either direction to function as a rider-tab for yachting.
The face has analog hands — in line with the classic Breitling look. These hands rotate above two LCDs. The LCDs provide the wearer with message notifications, battery status, and other information. The wearer can also choose to move the hour and minute hand out of the way of the screens for better visibility.
50 days standby is a long time for a smartwatch, though this does depend on whether the Bluetooth is active. a bespoke socket and USB power adapter come with the watch for charging the battery.
Colors and Straps
The B55 has two striking straps, one in blue rubber with a push-button folding clasp for the water athlete. There is also a breathable black polyamide fabric strap that the outdoors person may prefer. Or the aviator may prefer to go for the full titanium bracelet.
There are no sensors, but the LCD is backlit.
The B55 can run as a standalone watch, or by using Low-Energy Bluetooth to link to an app on either an Android or Apple smart device.
- Breitling precision.
- Classic looks with some modern features.
- Moveable bezel.
- Titanium case.
- A striking blue rubber strap.
- There are no sensors to measure health.
- Small LCDs.
Other Best Designer Smart Watches Worth a Serious Look
There can be no denying that the designer smartwatch space is expanding, with Tag Heuer at the forefront.
But even better, the luxury smart watches coming out are not just a meek attempt by designers looking to get in on the smart craze with some fancy offerings. No, that horse has long bolted.
Not only do they look better than your typical smartwatch, but the best luxury smart watches today come equipped with a bunch of useful apps. As far as performance goes, they are no slouches either.
Honestly, if you are willing to spend a bit more on a good smartwatch that doesn’t scream to everyone that you too have jumped on the smartwatch bandwagon, this is the way to go.
Here then, are a few other solid options from your favourite designers.
Michael Kors MK8077 Smart watch for Men
Emporio Armani Smartwatch ART5010 with Stainless Steel Strap
Fossil Q Explorer Gen 5 Smartwatch (For Women)
Fossil Q Explorer Gen 5 Smartwatch (For Men)