Why it matters to you
Fossil’s new smartwatches are hip, stylish, thin, and pack Google’s Android Wear 2.0 operating system.
Fossil is no stranger to smartwatches. Last September, the American fashion brand that makes wearables for Armani, DKNY, Michael Kors, Kagen, Kate Spade, and others teamed up with chipmaker Qualcomm to launch the Fossil Q Wander and Fossil Q Marshall. And at this year’s Baselworld 2017 Conference in Switzerland, it debuted new faces to its existing lineup: The Q Accomplice, Q Activist, Q Venture, and Q Explorist — the last two of which are now available for pre-order.
“Almost two years after our initial launch, it is abundantly clear why we entered this market: As creatives, we felt there was a void of beautifully designed smartwatches where users could customize technology to their unique lifestyle,” Jill Elliot, Fossil’s chief creative officer, said in a press release. “We are aware that our customers want more than just an exceptional product — they want an exceptional experience.”
For watch wearers who want a more technological fashion statement, there’s the new Q Venture and Q Explorist. The Venture sports a 11.5mm case — compared to the Explorist’s 12.6mm case — the thinnest of Fossil’s smartwatches to date.
The watches feature round touchscreens with improved brightness and clarity over last year’s models, as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor paired with 4GB of memory.
They also ship running the latest version of Google’s smartwatch operating system, Android Wear 2.0, which is almost worth the price of admission alone. The new Android Wear boasts greater watch face customization, a stand-alone app store that doesn’t require a phone, improved fitness tracking, and Google’s voice-activated, AI-powered Google Assistant. It’s a big deal.
That’s not all the Q Venture and Q Explorist pack. Both come with freebies like a “vintage arcade-inspired” game, interchangeable straps, and a fast magnetic charger. As mentioned, the two devices are now up for pre-order, and they both start at $255. You can get the Q Venture here, and the Q Explorist here. There’s no word yet on when the watches will be available in stores, though Fossil says they’ll hit stores in “early fall.”
Fossil has also announced new watches from Diesel, Emporio Armani, and Michael Kors. The details are forthcoming, but the company said they’ll launch later this year.
New hybrid smartwatches
Not everyone wants to deal with the hassle of full-blown smartwatches. That’s where Fossil’s coin battery-powered hybrid line comes in. The Q Accomplice and Q Activist are the slimmest of the company’s hybrid watches to date, and boast design details that “highlight the goal to create the most functionally beautiful and elevated hybrid smartwatches on the market.”
The Q Accomplice and Q Activist ship with three customizable “pushers,” a new hybrid model that replaces the the previous generation’s mode selector. Those pushers can be programmed through the Fossil Q app to trigger a selfie, skip to the next music track in a playlist, set a unique ring tone to help find a missing phone, and more.
Just like Fossil’s other hybrid watches, the Q Accomplice and Q Activist deliver email alerts, activity reminders, call notifications, and more with haptic vibration motors. And the Q Activist, which is based on Fossil’s Vintage 54, uniquely features a double-layer dial that tracks calendar dates and a tachymeter scale for stopwatch functionality.
The Q Accomplice and Q Venture will launch in stores later this year for $155 to $175.
Update: The Fossil Q Venture and Q Explorist are now available for pre-order.