It’s always a balance, finding a holiday gift that makes a statement without making a huge dent in your bank account. Oftentimes, we’re forced to hold back on what we’d like to give our loved ones due to a lack of funding, especially when it comes to expensive new technology. 2015 saw the rise of the smartwatch as Apple pioneered into the watch industry with their iWatch. Swiss watchmakers were not to be outdone, however, and this holiday season there are many smartwatches available, some starting at less than $1,000, from respected names in the watch industry. The gift of the season for the tech savvy gentleman? Any one of these smartwatches will do!1. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch
Arguably the most budget-friendly Swiss made Smartwatch on the market today comes from Frederique Constant- their stainless steel model on a leather strap is available for just $995. The watch communicates with an app on your smartphone to set the time as you cross time zones, track your daily activity, and monitor your sleeping patterns. However, saving dollars does come at a price: the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch is essentially a discreet, good-looking fitness tracker which also conveniently tells the time; the timepiece will not give you notifications for incoming calls, texts, or emails and it doesn’t give you control over your music. Still, unlike the other watches on this list, the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch does not need to be charged on a regular basis- it is energy efficient and only needs to have it’s battery replaced once every 25 months or so, much like a traditional quartz movement watch. To many, this convenience is worth the trade-off in features.
This piece also looks most like a traditional timepiece out of any smartwatch on our list; the analog display makes it impossible for someone to know that you’re wearing a fitness tracker unless you tell them. At the time of this publication, Frederique Constant offers this timepiece in five variations: silver dial with a steel bracelet (FC-285S5B6B), black dial with a steel bracelet (FC-285B5B6B), silver dial on a black leather strap (FC-285S5B6), black dial on a brown leather strap (FC-285B5B6), and white dial with rose case on a brown leather strap (FC-285V5B4). Learn more here!2. Montblanc e-Strap
Technically a smart strap more-so than a smart watch, Montblanc’s entry into the smartwatch race is certainly unique! Unlike the other watches on this list, Montblanc’s wearable tech doesn’t change the standard mechanical movement at all; the watch itself is still a traditional, mechanical movement Swiss timepiece. Instead, the wearable technology is housed entirely in a small screen on the strap which connects via Bluetooth technology to an app on your Android or iOS smartphone. This e-Strap is interchangeable and can technically be used in conjuncture with any mechanical watch in your collection, providing it fits!
The e-Strap has a variety of functions, including smart notifications signaled by vibrations (for things like texts, emails, incoming calls, and social media notifications), an activity tracker, control of your music, camera connectivity, and a find-me function which can help you find your phone or your watch if it’s lost and within 30 meters of your location. At the moment, Montblanc offers the e-Strap on three timepieces: Timewalker Urban Speed Date ($3,140), Timewalker Urban Speed UTC ($4,200), and the Timewalker Urban Speed Chronograph ($4,900). Learn more about the Montblanc e-Strap smartwatches here!3. TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch
The hype around the new TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch has been huge, and for good reason! Compatible with both Android and iOS, the TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch features touch-screen technology with the option to choose your “dial” from a list of existing TAG Heuer watch dials in a variety of colors. Need a chronograph function? Simply choose the chronograph dial. Traveling across multiple time zones and need the convenience of a GMT? Select the GMT dial!
Something that really sets TAG Heuer apart from the rest of the smartwatches out there is their upgrade program. In two years, for an additional fee, you have the option of sending your Connected smartwatch to TAG Heuer to have the Android-based technology switched out for a traditional mechanical movement. This program completely erases any possibility of you being stuck with an out of date, unusable piece of technology. I have a generation 1 iPad, now affectionately referred to as a useless hunk of junk, collecting dust at home and I would hate to spend money on a luxury timepiece only to end up with yet another paperweight when the technology becomes obsolete!
The TAG Heuer Smartwatch unfortunately won’t be available in authorized retailers until January, so unless you’re giving someone the promise of a luxury Swiss-made smartwatch this Christmas, you won’t be able to have one wrapped under your tree. Last we heard, Connected Smartwatches purchased directly through TAG Heuer’s website (available on a black strap only) may not make it in time for Christmas delivery as demand has been so incredibly high. With a price tag of just $1,500, this one is definitely worth the wait!
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