Whether given by a parent to a child, an employer to an employee, or girlfriend to boyfriend, the wristwatch has long been a safe gift choice that most appreciate. The sheer volume of choice available makes decisions difficult, a problem multiplied by the emergence of smartwatches, which add confusion over tech and compatibility into the mix.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and you decided to get your significant other a connected watch. Which one is right for you? Here is our choice of the best smartwatches generally; but maybe you want something that puts looks before features? That is what we are helping out with here. These are the best smartwatches for Valentine’s Day because they are about making an impression and making them feel special, not about how long the battery lasts or how many apps they run.
Apple Watch Series 4 Hermés ($1,300)
Why the Hermés version? It’s undoubtedly the most special Apple Watch available, going that step beyond the Watch Edition due to the custom watch faces and genuine Hermés strap. We’re opting for the stainless steel Watch with a particular strap — the fauve grained Barenia leather single tour rallye. A bit of a mouthful, but we adore the rally-style hole-punched brown leather strap, which really suits the Apple Watch anyway, but when matched with the simplicity of the Hermés watch faces, it really comes together. Apple doesn’t sell this strap separately, plus it all comes in an attractive presentation box, so you are getting something very special.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is currently our top pick out of all the smartwatches available. It has the best user interface, smooth and fast performance, adequate battery life, a strong feature list –including the ability to make calls if you choose a cellular model — and a wealth of aftermarket accessories. He won’t be disappointed with the Apple Watch and the beautiful Hermés version is our personal pick.
If the significant price tag of the Apple Watch Hermés, or even the Series 4 watch is more than you want to spend, consider the still current Apple Watch Series 3 — it has almost all the same features, after all — and match it with a third-party strap. There is even a $100 rally-style strap from Burkley on our list.
Diesel OnFull Guard (from $325)/Skagen Falster 2 (from $275)
No, we’re not being indecisive with our two Android Wear 2.0 selections. They both represent two very different styles, helping you choose the right one based on personal style preferences. The Diesel OnFull Guard is a bold, tough-looking, and incredibly masculine watch. It’s also heavily influenced by Diesel’s mechanical watch style, right down to the clever iridescent color effect over the watch face, highlighted by the large and high-resolution screen.
We reviewed the black model with a brown leather strap, which is probably the most restrained. We love the black model with the black steel band, and there is even a gold model with a gold metal band for those who feel the need to really stand out. While the watch isn’t packed out with features — and that is a good thing — the design makes us love it. However, it’s not for everyone, which is where the Skagen Falster 2 comes in. Danish brand Skagen is known for its minimalist, restrained designs, and the Falster 2 continues that trend.
Simplicity of design doesn’t mean boring and the bars attaching the strap to the body really give the Falster visual fizz, as do the mesh metal straps. It’s these mesh straps that make the Falster so versatile, as they are suitable for day and evening wear, casual and smart. While the Diesel On Full Guard looks best with clothes you may buy from Diesel — by which we mean casual — the Falster can bridge the gap better between smart casual and smart. The features are basically the same as the Diesel, as both are Fossil-owned brands, and use the same platform and app.
Watches show off our personal style, which means it’s not one-size-fits-all. The Diesel and Skagen Android Wear watches do the same thing but will be worn by different types of people.
Alpina Horological Seastrong Hybrid (595 Swiss francs/$630)
Maybe a smartwatch with a touchscreen isn’t what you want. How about a hybrid instead? Hybrid smartwatches give you the basic necessities such as fitness tracking and notifications, all wrapped up in a traditional watch body. Alpina, an established name in the watch world, has selected its gorgeous Diver 300 Automatic watch as the inspiration for the Seastrong Hybrid, bringing the cool and desirable diver watch look to the hybrid world.
In addition to the connected features, all synced up with a dedicated smartphone app, the Seastrong boasts sapphire crystal glass for durability, water resistance to a depth of 100 meters, a Swiss movement, and a choice of colors and straps. We adore the black-on-black look. Yes, it’s expensive for a hybrid watch, but most watch connoisseurs will recognize its value and be very happy to receive it. What’s more, the battery life is rated for an astonishing four years, depending on use, so you’re not buying yet another device to charge each day.
The Emporio Armani Connected hybrid watch has always attracted compliments, probably more so than any other hybrid we’ve worn. The black metal strap and minimalist watch face, complete with the EA logo at the 12 o’clock mark, just looks so damn classy. Match it with the right outfit, and it’s stunning, plus it’s equally at home with casual weekend gear as it is with a suit. Putting on the EA Connected feels special and that is what you want from a watch.
It provides the same degree of functionality as most other hybrid smartwatches, so it delivers notifications from your phone, tracks your steps, and has programmable buttons for features like a remote camera shutter release. The battery inside is a simple coin cell, and should last a year before it needs replacing. However, you don’t really buy this for the features. You buy it for the style, and we think it’s gorgeous.
Fossil Q Commuter Hybrid (from $175)
It’s the splash of color on the Q Commuter hybrid’s watch face that makes us love this design. It’s fairly minimalist, and already has some visual flair thanks to the bars attaching the strap to the body, but the red tips on the hands, and the red hand showing step count, set the whole thing off perfectly — especially on the smoke stainless steel model with the mesh metal band. Like the Skagen Falster 2, the Q Commuter has a restrained design, meaning it will suit most outfits.
Functionality covers the basics — notifications, alarms, step count, customizable buttons, and music controls. The Q Commuter’s unique feature is its ability to show you what time you will arrive at a preset destination — like your work — at the push of a button. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters, and the battery should last for about a year before it needs swapping. Even then, it’s a simple and cheap coin cell. The price is another reason we recommend the Q Commuter, it’s great value for the design and functionality.
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