But for fans of classic watchmaking that want the benefits of synced smartwatches, the current crop of connected timepieces falls short. However, there are signs the timepiece making status quo is starting to catch on.
Baselworld 2014 saw a raft of classic analogue watches getting a tech makeover with solar power reserves, GPS satellite syncing and even partner apps gracing pieces from the world’s biggest watchmakers.
Consider Swatch’s plans to add smartwatch tech to its 2015 range, and there’s early signs that the wearable movement is starting to disrupt this oldest of industries.
Here’s our list of the best watches for tech lovers...
Seiko Astron GPS Solar
Doubling down on tech advancements, the new Seiko Astron uses invisible solar panels to overcome the issues of automatic movements and replacing batteries. The large reserve means that the Astron GPS Solar will lose less than 15 seconds a month even in perpetual darkness, and uses the earth’s GPS beacons to stay synced with the correct time, wherever you are.
Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar
Another solar powered piece, albeit with less discreet cells, the Tissot features an insane power reserve that will keep it running for a year from just one hour in the sun. There are also 25 functions built-in, ranging from a compass, an altitude reader, a timer and a weather prediction thanks to the in-built air pressure sensor.
Casio Edifice EQB-500 Bluetooth 4.0
A unique blend of classic wristwatch with “smart” functionality, this toughened timepiece connects to a smartphone app via the built-in Bluetooth functionality. At present, this only enables users to set the alarm and a few other basic tweaks, but represents an interesting shift in the feature sets of classic watches.
Casio G-SHOCK GPW-1000
The G-Shock GPW-1000 will update the time and date automatically using Sony’s GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) as you fly around the globe. The solar powered reserve will adjust for loss of time automatically, and if that’s not enough, the second hand at the 3 o’clock position shows your global latitude.
Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave F100
One of Japan’s ‘big three’ watchmakers, Citizen has pumped a huge amount of tech into its Satellite Wave watch range, and the new F100 unveiled at Baselworld 2014 is the best-looking yet. The Calibre F100 movement features the Eco-Drive solar tech and connects to GPS beacons to keep time, retrieving the correct time within three seconds of landing in one of the 40 supported time zones.
A fitness tracker and Swiss-made timepiece rolled into one, the Withings Activite could point to an exciting new era of watchmaking. The analogue face wouldn’t look out of place in any high-end watch shop, yet the second dial points to the progress toward your step goals. The Withings also syncs to the app, tracking activity and sleep – and what’s more, will wake you up in the correct part of your sleep cycle, functionality that the Withings Pulse Ox is yet to enjoy.