Fitness trackers are a hot item – they track daily motion, motivate wearers to stay fit, and help keep up to date on a users fitness routine. Up until now, however, most of them have tended to look like a piece of gear – bulky, ugly plastic and metal bands that look “techy” or “futuristic”, showing off the fact that the wearer is oh-so-cool and concerned about their health.
When perusing the catalog of releases for the year from Casio’s G-Shock line (or brand, however you want to refer to it), there was one that caught my eye – the Casio G-Shock GBA800. The big callout here was that it was incorporating a bluetooth connection (much like the Casio Edifice EQB501 and EQB900 watches we reviewed) as well as a step-tracker. Now, admittedly, the G-Shock line does seem a little more fitness-ready, so I wanted to take a closer look.
Back in March, we brought you word of a crazy new entry from Frederique Constant. They have been in the connected watch game for a while now, but those prior watches all featured quartz movements. That makes sense, since we’re dealing with a watch they designed to not need to be charged, yet still account for fitness tracking and syncing to your phone. With the Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture, however, we’ve gone into the realm of a connected watch that features a mechanical movement.
While we have reviewed more than a few different fitness watches, there is one brand we have not really focused on – at least, until today. That brand, of course, is Suunto. As with many other brands, they offer a wide variety of fitness watches, some very technically oriented to a specific sport or activity, and others a bit more, shall we say, generalist. Today, we check out that latter category, with the Suunto 3 Fitness.
As I’ve mentioned from time to time, I’ve not particularly found a use case for a smartwatch in my life. That said, I do rather like having a fitness tracker. For some years now, I’ve relied on a Fitbit One to track my daily activity, as well as (and this is the “killer app” for me) wake me up with silent alarms in the morning. All good things come to an end, as we know, and the Fitbit One is no more for the catalog. It’s been replaced by the recently-announced Fitbit Inspire.
It was not all that long ago where we brought you word of a curious thing – a big Swiss brand (Alpina) flogging their watch on Kickstarter, of all places. This was an oddity as we generally think of that platform for launching new brands, for raising capital, and so on. Things that, ostensibly, Alpina is not (they’re established) and should not have a need of (being part of Citizen should have it’s advantages). So, why this route? The word was so that backers could help to finalize some of the design and app features. From the earlier writeup we did, Eric liked what he saw so much that he backed the project (as did plenty of others). Today, I’m going to talk with you about the time I spent with with one on my wrist.
As most anyone reading this article is aware, the micro brand Kickstarter phenomenon has hit stratospheric levels in the last few years. As a watch blogger, I can tell you firsthand that it can be quite difficult to sift through the endless emails and press releases related to Kickstarter watches. It seems that several new brands are popping up on an almost daily basis on the popular crowd funding site. A small handful of these new brands are actually designing and selling some very nice pieces, but the vast majority are, to put it mildly, junk.
When it comes to watches, people tend to think of them in the traditional form (be they quartz or mechanical), or go to the other end of the spectrum with full-on “smart” watches of the Apple and Android varieties. Sure, those get some fitness tracking in, but it’s more an afterthought. What about a watch that is purpose-built for that task? There are options out there, but the stuff from Polar has quickly become some of my favorites, and my now-constant gym companion. Lately, I’ve been spending time with a more recent release, the Polar Vantage M.
Withings, recently acquired by Nokia, announced an addition to their fitness tracking analogue wristwatches today. Formerly, the line consisted of Activité Pop, Steel, and Sapphire. The new watch is Activité Steel HR, and it comes with some big changes for the Activité line.
Scoring an automatic chronograph these days for under a thousand bucks is darn near unheard of, and when someone tells me I can get a column wheel auto chrono for under $700, I start looking for the hidden TV cameras. Today, not only will we be looking at exactly that, but a pretty cool smart watch as well, both from the young brand William L. 1985.