Skagen Signatur T-Bar review

Skagen’s Signatur T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch proves traditional can also be futuristic

The Skagen Signature T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch is comfortable, easy to use, and beautiful on the wrist.
The Skagen Signature T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch is comfortable, easy to use, and beautiful on the wrist.
The Skagen Signature T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch is comfortable, easy to use, and beautiful on the wrist.

Highs

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use app
  • Classic style
  • Fair price

Lows

  • Delicate leather
  • Can’t change straps

Skagen is well known for providing its customers with clean and simple watch designs. Its newest hybrid smartwatch for women is no different. The T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch – now available for purchase starting at $175 – combines elegance with the convenience of smart features. Using the Skagen Connected app available for iOS and Android, this smartwatch packs a lot into a thin, lightweight case.

With a hybrid smartwatch, you have all the usual smartwatch functions – but without the touchscreen. The Skagen T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch has a classic analog style, but simultaneously tracks fitness, activity, and alerts you of notifications, via the Skagen Connected app.

In our Skagen T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch review, we found it to be extremely enjoyable to wear, but we were disappointed at the limited customization options.

Stylish and subtle

The Signatur T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch comes in four different color options – rose gold steel-mesh, silver steel-mesh, grey leather, and black leather. The case size measures 36MM with a thickness of 12MM, which sits comfortably on the wrist.

The watch face is made of mineral crystal, which isn’t as durable as sapphire crystal, but is still scratch-resistant. The crown found on almost all watches is replaced by a large, flat button along with two smaller flat buttons. This design adds to its elegance, while also making it look thinner, and feel lighter.

With a plain leather watch strap, you can easily pair other accessories, such as bangles or bracelets, without making it look too cluttered. Both the mesh and leather straps also have enough room for you to be able to secure them tightly.

We had the gold case with the leather watch strap, and thought it looked extremely traditional – in a good way. In true Skagen fashion, it doesn’t look too flashy but still makes a statement with its different accents. The gold accents on both the tick marks and dials make the white watch face really pop, even with such simple colors.

We had the gold case with the leather watch strap, and thought it looked extremely traditional – in a good way.

It felt much lighter than when we wore the Michele Hybrid Smartwatch we reviewed, which came with a 38mm stainless steel case. We also like that where the Michele watch has larger bezels, Skagen’s watch face has much thinner ones. When sitting on the wrist, it actually almost looks bezel-less upon first-glance.

As for the watchstrap, the leather already feels a bit broken in when taking it out of the box. Many leather watchstraps take a few days or weeks of wear before they comfortably hug your wrist. But Skagen uses genuine Cowhide leather which is soft from the beginning.

It looks similar to the Fossil Q Tailor hybrid smartwatch, which has a thicker case but still stays true to the analog, traditional style. Its suede watch strap also feels more durable and won’t look worn out after daily use. It’s a bit cheaper – costing you $155 for the beige color variant.

Skagen Signatur T-Bar review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

The Skagen T-Bar Hybrid might be good for comfort, but we did notice the strap started to look worn out quicker than expected. While leather generally looks better when it wears in, this leather strap didn’t age too nicely. It makes the strap look sloppy or cheap. Thankfully, you won’t see it too much, because it’s unnoticeable while on the wrist. When taking the watch off and placing it down, however, you’ll see exactly where the leather is starting to crinkle and crease.

In instances like these it would be ideal to have the option to swap out the watchstrap. But if you already know the worn-out leather will bother you, we recommend going for the mesh variant instead. While we didn’t get to wear it, the mesh strap does have an open clasp for easy adjustment and shouldn’t run down after only a couple of weeks.

Skagen Connected app

The watch and the app connect via Bluetooth 4.1 and sync wirelessly to each other. For Apple users, it requiresiOS 8.1 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. For Android, it requires version 4.4 and up.

Since the Skagen and Michele brands are both owned by the Fossil Group, we were already familiar with the layout of the app after using our Michele watch. But for new users, it’s easy to get the hang of quickly.

Thankfully, the app comes with the ability to create different configurations that apply to all types of scenarios.

Using the app, you can set up each button on the side to trigger a different function. The main ones include setting alarms, switching time zones, and receiving notifications. The app allows you to customize which specific button you’d like to set the functions to.

If you’ve used a Skagen smartwatch before , then you’ll notice the T-Bar looks and runs differently with the app.

Previous versions of the smartwatch – such as the Hagen Connect Hybrid Smartwatch – were equipped with a colorful inner circle of dots underneath the watch face. You could then assign notifications to a specific color, so that it was easy to distinguish them.

But the T-Bar model no longer includes the inner circle, so you must use numbers instead. Regardless of which smartwatch model you have, the latest version of the Skagen Connected App no longer has the option to use colors, either.

Instead, the app gives you the option to choose up to six contacts and six apps to assign specific numbers to.

The different numbers on the watch face could be confusing at first. On the outer rim, the watch face is numbered 1 through 31 to represent the date and time. Then, there’s 00 to 100 which tells you the percentage of your fitness goal you’ve reached for the day. This is where your watch hands will go when you press one of the three buttons on the side of your watch, if you set them to show you the date or progress for your goals.

While leather generally looks better when it wears in, this leather strap didn’t age too nicely.

On the inner rim you can choose from the numbers 1 through 12 for each contact or app. But these are represented by tick marks on your watch and not actual numbers. You can use the same number twice for different contacts if it makes it easier to remember.

When you receive a notification, your watch alerts you by vibrating and the watch hands will go straight to the tick mark on your watch – between 1 and 12 — that you chose for each specific contact. You can also set the watch so that the watch only vibrates and the dials don’t move. For example, if you set “Mom” to number six, the watch hands will go straight to the number 6 if she calls or texts you.

As far as apps go, Skagen offers a variety of over 50 apps to choose from to receive alerts, such as social media and banking apps. Since you can only choose up to six contacts, “All Texts” and “All Calls” are included under the list of apps as well. So even if someone that isn’t on the list of specific contacts you assigned through the app texts or calls you, your watch will still alert you.

Skagen Signatur T-Bar review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Other functions include the ability to take a photo on your phone by pressing the assigned button on your watch while your camera app is open, tracking activity and sleep, controlling your music, goal tracking, and ringing your phone when you can’t find it.

Since you only have three buttons, your initial thought might be that it’s difficult to pick which functions you want to commit to. Thankfully, the app comes with the ability to create different configurations that apply to all types of scenarios.

One example configuration we set was assigning notifications to the top button, activity tracking to the middle button, and taking a photo to the bottom button. For another one, we kept the notifications and activity as the first two buttons, but then assigned the calendar date to the third button.

When you find a combination you’re set on, you can save it under any name you’d like, and it’ll appear under the “Customize Device” section under “Saved.” From there, you can tap from different configurations to switch between each one.

Health and fitness tracking

With the Skagen Connected app, your smartwatch tracks your activity and fitness. You can set the number of steps you want to complete in a day, and it will track your progress, along with the total number of miles and calories burned. You can also review data for the same day a week prior to track your progress.

There’s a section to keep track of your goals. When you add a goal, there are pre-set options such as “Drink Water” or “Exercise,” which you can then set for how often and how long. You can create your own as well if there are other goals you’d like to achieve.

We managed to sleep through the entire night without wanting to take it off due to discomfort.

Whenever you complete your goal – such as “Drink water 3 times per day for one day” – you can press the assigned button to track it. Your progress is recorded under the “Goal Tracking” section and once you’re done, the app will notify you that your goal is achieved. From there, you have the option to end the goal or keep going.

The Skagen Signatur T-Bar Hybrid also tracks sleep and is more comfortable to sleep with than other hybrid smartwatches we’ve tried. Since it’s lightweight, we managed to sleep through the entire night without wanting to take it off due to discomfort. But, as opposed to wearables meant specifically for fitness and health tracking, this watch might be too nice to wear to bed.

If you do wear it to bed, it works the same way you track activity. You’ll be asked to set the total number of hours you’d like to sleep for each night, and it will keep track of how many hours you actually get. It also separates into the total time you were awake, and distinguishes between light and restful sleep.

The sleep tracker was pleasantly accurate — some sleep trackers tend to confuse sleep with simply laying down and scrolling through your phone. But the Signatur T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch was exactly correct when calculating the hours and minutes we slept.

For both activity and sleep tracking, you can also swipe up on the app to see a visual and more detailed overview of your progress through different graphs and charts. If you ever want to change your step or sleep goals, you can do so under the Settings tab in the app.

The watch is water resistant to 3 ATM – which is 30 meters. It can withstand rain or any splashing but you shouldn’t shower, swim, or participate in any other water activities while wearing it.

Warranty, Price, and Availability information

The Skagen Signatur T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch has a 2-year warranty that covers the internal pieces of the watch. External components – like the case, band, crystal, and battery – are not included.

The black leather or gray leather hybrid smartwatch is available on the company’s site or at select department stores for $175. The mesh variant – in either the rose gold-tone steel-mesh or plain steel-mesh – will run you $195.

Our Take

The Skagen Signature T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch is comfortable, easy to use, and beautiful on the wrist. The only downfall is that you’ll have to commit to a specific design, since the watch straps can’t be switched out.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes, if you want more of a statement piece. The Michele Hybrid Smartwatch has the exact same functions and uses an app with an identical interface. Even though it’s more expensive – $495 to be exact – you’re paying for the highest quality material. The 38MM watch face is made of sapphire crystal and the 18MM watch straps vary from materials like alligator, leather, lizard, and stainless steel. The straps are also interchangeable to match with all your looks.

Another option that’s only slightly cheaper is the Kronaby Hybrid Smartwatch – which might be a little big for smaller wrists but comes in a wider variety of designs. There’s also an easy to use app that tracks the same functions, such as sleep and activity.

How long will it last?

The Skagen Signatur T-Bar Hybrid Smartwatch is battery powered, and uses a standard CR2025 coin-cell battery that’s replaceable through the back of the device. It will last you anywhere between four to six months. Since it connects via Bluetooth, you can keep track of the battery percentage through the app. We used the watch for almost two weeks with notification settings on, and it was at 98 percent.

But – as mentioned earlier – the leather watchstrap started to look worn out after only a short time. If you want to get the most out of the watch both in functionality and wearability, we recommend going with the mesh strap instead.

Should you buy it?

Yes, The Skagen Signatur T-Band Hybrid Smartwatch has beautifully classic design and a ton of functionality. It can be worn both day and night, and it can also be accompanied with other jewelry, so you’ll definitely get a lot of use out of it. Even though the watch straps aren’t interchangeable, you can’t beat the sub $200 price tag.