As wearable tech matures, designer collaborations are popping up everywhere. Tech firms have realized that they might not have the credentials to make the kind of products people want to show off on night out, and fashion and watch companies can skip years of R&D and focus testing.
From Swarovski to the Fossil Q Accomplice and everyone in between, wearable technology is moving away from horrid black boxes and into luxurious designs. And as the tech gets smaller, these top designers can push the boundaries even further. Read on for our round-up of the best looking designer wearables money can buy.
Levi's Commuter Trucker Jacket
The first entry on our list is also one of the most futuristic - Levi's Commuter Trucker Jacket is the first piece of Project Jacquard smart clothing that we'll be able to actually buy.
Due to launch in 2017, the jacket is aimed at commuting cyclists and allows them to control music, maps and calls via interactive yarn in the sleeve and a detachable tag. It is, of course, the work of Google and we're expecting more Project Jacquard partnerships in athletics and enterprise.
Skagen Connected 2017
Part of Fossil's beefy lineup of 2017 smartwatches, the Skagen Connected 2017 takes one of our favorite hybrids of 2016 and updates it with some nips and tucks that cumulatively refine the entire experience.
There are two variations: the Jorn for men and the Hald for women, and both are stylish and beautiful. They also both come in a couple of variations. Thankfully for your wrist, both are slightly thinner and lighter, making it a little easier to wear around every day. These are hybrids for people who want a nice watch first, and a smartwatch second.
Kate Spade Metro Grand
The Metro Grand is also a part of Fossil's massive lineup of wearable tech, however it is exclusively aimed toward women. In our time with the beautiful hybrid, we received a lot of compliments (and near compliments). You know, stuff like "is that the Kate Spade?" and "no way it has tech inside."
You can see why. It feels polished, it looks well made and expensive and it's got a little bit of personality. Look at those clinging champagne glasses, or the cute bubbles, or the "Cheers!" up at the top. There aren't many watches that can balance a personality with good looks, but the Metro Grand certainly does.
Apple Watch Hermès
Apple and Hermès have struck up quite a partnership for this expensive Apple Watch edition. Apple takes care of the customized watch faces, based on Hermès' Clipper, Cape Cod and Espace watches. Hermès, on the other hand, takes care of all those tour and double tour leather bands. You also get a customized sport Hermès orange sport band. Groovy.
From $1,149, apple.com
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
Tag's second smartwatch builds on the things the first watch did well while adding a big new feature: modularity. The Connected Modular 45 lets you customize pretty much every element of the watch, you can even swatch out the digital screen for an analog one. There are 56 different variations you can create, and it all comes with top notch build quality with a luxury, comfortable fit. Plus, for all you swimmers out there, it's waterproof.
Fossil Q Accomplice
Like its Fossil siblings the Skagen and Kate Spade, the Accomplice is another hybrid that looks damn good. We found it to be both beautiful and simple, though it does have simple activity tracking and, for some reason, the leather strap is extremely prone to getting dirty. Despite all that, the Q Accomplice is one of the best looking watches in Fossil's quiver.
Public School x Fitbit
OK, this is a line of accessories, not a wearable tech product. But Public School's upcoming collection of Fitbit Alta HR straps and accessories is a good instance of wearable tech companies going for style and substance over big names. Public School is big in certain circles but its urban, minimalist pieces will no doubt convince the fashion set that a fitness tracker doesn't have to look tacky.
From $175, publicschoolnyc.com
Swarovski Activity Crystal
All the design work here was done by Swarovski's in-house designers. It's essentially a Misfit Shine activity tracker dominated by a large single Swarovski crystal, which has nine accessories to accompany it, from an attractive bracelet to blingy pendant.
The styling might not be for everyone but it's impressive how much the range blends in with dumb jewelry. You can easily pop out the Activity Crystal, which is what Swarovski calls its customized Shine, and pop it into other accessories. Some of the sets even come with regular bands.
From $84.50, swarovski.com
Michael Kors Access jewelry
In addition to being a part of Fossil's smartwatch push, Michael Kors is also doing a couple of more simple activity trackers. There's the Access Reade, which is a strap that has an activity tracker on top of it. Bonus: Every tracker sold will see the World Food Programme donate 100 meals for hungry children in need. There's also the Access Thompson and Varick, which are more bracelet-like. Either way, you'll be tracking your activity in style.
Access Reade: $145, michaelkors.com
Fitbit by Tory Burch
On its own the Fitbit Flex 2 isn't the best looking wearable on the market, but fashion conscious females might be taken with the impressive accessories by fashion guru Tory Burch. She's designed a host of Fitbit accessories for every occasion, from blingy jewellery to stylish bands.
Burch launched the gorgeous double wrap and metal hinge bracelets in a handful of colors. There's the more traditional gold and silver, but there's also a neat, almost tie-dye metal that'll definitely give your Flex 2 some added personality. Your Fitbit's never looked better.
One of the early tech/fashion partnerships was between Martian and Guess. Martian has been turning out some impressive smartwatch tech – see the Notifier for a prime example – yet it's struggled for exposure. If Guess watches are your bag, the Guess Connect smartwatch number is well worth checking out even though in our test there was a lot to disappoint in terms of reliability. While they are long in the tooth now, you can get them cheaper than ever before and there are a whole range of new styles coming later this year.
Read the test: Guess Connect review