As sure as day follows night, the Fossil Group will launch a seemingly endless number of new wearables at CES. Whereas in previous years there have been several "big" new smartwatches or hybrids to talk about, at CES 2019 the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2 is undoubtedly the headline act.
We had a lot of time for the first Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch, and the second retains those good looks while bringing its features in line with the rest of Fossil Group's collection. That means you now get Wear OS, a heart rate sensor, Google Pay, built-in GPS and 3ATM water resistance with swim tracking.
In fact, the new watch changes very little in the design; most of the cosmetic updates are happening in the new straps and watch dials. The smartwatch still measures in at 42mm and comes in either a rose gold or silver-and-gold case, with both featuring that ionic scallop design around the bezel.
I do think there will be a day when all of our watches will have smart tech in them
This time the watch has an additional button beneath the rotating crown, which should be useful for quick access to Google Pay or taking on-the-spot heart rate readings.
Alternatively, you can take a heart rate reading by touching the spade icon at the watch's 12 o'clock point, which will create an animation of hearts and spades on the screen before telling you how your ticker is beating.
The Scallop Smartwatch 2 is the first smartwatch to be designed under Nicola Glass, the new creative director of Kate Spade, and the watch will apparently fit with Kate Spade's spring collection of clothing. Kate Spade's "Choose your look" micro app makes a triumphant return on the new watch, letting you customise your clock face to match your clothes and accessories.
Here's how it works: You open the micro app (it was paired to the shortcut button in our demo) and select the exact colour of the bag, dress and jewellery you're wearing that day, and it will create a clock face that matches. Or at least that's the idea. We simply selected some random colours and it spat something out with a lot of green on it. Fashion!
There are also some nice animated clock faces to choose from, but that's the extent of Kate Spade's contributions to the software. Otherwise it's the usual Wear OS collection of apps, and all heart rate data goes into Google Fit.
What it doesn't have is the new Qualcomm 3100 chip, which among Fossil's family currently only lives inside the Fossil Sport. "When we looked at everything we wanted in this watch, it could be supported by the 2100. So we made the decision to stay with it on this watch," Mary Beech, Kate Spade's chief marketing officer, told us. The company also confirmed that adding the 3100 would make the watch more expensive for prospective buyers.
On the straps, there's a new black silicone band on offer, alongside some leather and stainless steel b racelets. The Scallop 2 is on pre-sale now and will be available later in January online and in stores, starting at $295 for the silicone and leather straps, while the bracelet strap will cost $325.
Our verdict on the first Kate Spade was pretty much: Looks great, needs more features. And now we have features galore, with a watch that still very much looks the part. The only alienating factor may be that size – at 42mm it will still be too big for a lot of women.
This is only the second Kate Spade smartwatch, but Beech said that the company is thinking about the possibility of hybrids and expanding the smarts across its collection in the future. "I do think there will be a day when all of our watches, whether they’re analogue or digital, will have smart technology in them," she said.
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