Luxury Smartwatches Fit Active Lifestyles

Smartwatches are strong competitors in the luxury timepiece market.

Smartwatches are strong competitors in the luxury timepiece market. Photo: Vernon Chan | FlickrCC.

Apple is not a technology company; it’s a luxury lifestyle company.

The transformation was manifested in 2013 when Angela Ahrendts was hired to head Apple’s retail and e-commerce departments. Prior to Apple, Ahrendts was CEO of Burberry, the world-renowned British high-end manufacturer of lifestyle items and fashion.

Investors with a global perspective have identified luxury smartwatches as a niche with stability—not a trend. Tracking personal metrics has been integrated into the fashion world by luxury brands like Tory Burch, a major fashion icon and powerful retailer with a significant presence in brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce. Her company and others like it have turned these nice-to-haves into necessities. General Atlantic’s Chief Executive Officer, Bill E Ford, shows his confidence in this development by sitting on the Tory Burch Board of Directors of Tory Burch.

Timepieces have always been a part of the luxury lifestyle industry. The popularity of Apple’s iPhone and their Android competitors introduced consumers to easy access to time, weather, news, music, food, and friends.

An ongoing interest in fitness and health became a perfect source for app developers. A small portion of runners and fitness enthusiasts began to record and share their fitness statistics. The Fit Bit is a personal metrics tracker that grew in popularity as more users discovered the value of tracking their sleep quality, steps climbed, and steps walked. Their functions have been integrated into luxury smartwatches. Here’s a review of the more popular brands in the market.

Apple Watch

A partnership with luxury fashion house Hermès elevated the Apple Watch by designing an exclusive leather band and case for about $1,500. The Apple Watch performs as a technological device and a fashion and luxury item. The 38mm Sport model is the cheapest choice at $345. If you’re looking for luxury, you can fork out $17,000 for the same watch with a leather band and a rose gold buckle.

Mondaine Helvetica Smartwatch

This luxury timepiece appears to be a typical expensive wristwatch. It successfully combines the elements of classic Swiss watch design with smartwatch functionality, featuring alerts, an activity tracker, and sleep monitoring. Data is easily backed up and stored in the cloud. Its two-year battery life beats the Apple Watch, which must be recharged daily.

Tory Burch Fitbit

Fitbit revolutionized the personal metric industry. It tracks your activity and allows you to set goals to improve your performance. Metrics are easy to upload to the Fitbit website and share with friends. Of course, it also tells time. Tory Burch partnered with Fitbit and designed a bespoke range of pendants and fashion bracelets featuring the stylized Tory Burch logo in a variety of fashion colors.

Samsung Gear S

The S stands for Solo and this smartwatch from Samsung is Apple’s biggest competitor. Their initial entry into this market failed to interest consumers. However, that failure propelled Samsung into further development, which led to the Gear S. It works without a smartphone due to a SIM-card slot and has Bluetooth, wireless, and 3G connectivity, which allow you to make calls and send texts and emails. It features a heart rate scanner and is waterproof, making it popular with active consumers.

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