Best hybrid smartwatch 2023: Quick links
As the name suggests, the best hybrid smartwatches are an amalgamation of the best smartwatches (generally speaking, those with touchscreens) and the best mechanical watches, with their physical hands and limited functionality. Hybrid watches usually offer a traditional-looking face but with an extra dial or two displaying information like steps taken, hours slept, battery life, and smart notifications.
Your walking – plus running, cycling and sometimes even swimming – is tracked and logged by an onboard accelerometer. Some hybrids include a vibration motor that alerts you to something on your phone or wakes you with a silent alarm. A major bonus of hybrid smartwatches is their battery life, measured in weeks, months or even years.
Withings recently launched two new Scanwatch models, the top-of-the-line Scanwatch 2 and the more affordable Scanwatch Light. The new hybrid watches look beautiful and have a host of smart health and wellness features, including ECG, temperature tracking, sleep monitoring and more.
The Top 3
Best hybrid smartwatch overall
Apart from looking stunning, Withings' ScanWatch offers a wide variety of health features to keep you informed about your general well-being. It has a heart rate monitor, ECG and can track blood oxygen levels. It also detects breathing disturbances, tracks sleep and automatically logs your walks, runs, cycles, and swims.
Best mid-range hybrid smartwatch
This hybrid has key features like constant heart rate monitoring, the ability to estimate your VO2 Max and fitness age, and wellness monitoring tools that suggest you take a moment to breathe when showing signs of stress. What sets it apart from the crowd is the touchscreen display beneath its traditional watch face, giving you the best of both worlds.
Best premium hybrid smartwatch
The Sekel's battery lasts up to two years, it has a vibration motor for alerting you to notifications on your phone and waking you up silently each morning, and of course, it also counts steps. Additional features include IFTTT (If This, Then That), so the watch’s location can be set to trigger smart home devices, like kettles or coffee machines, into life.
Best hybrid smartwatches to buy right now
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The Withings Scanwatch is the brand's most innovative wearable to date, packing a tremendous amount of health and fitness tracking tech into a slender body. The ScanWatch is available in 38mm and 42mm case sizes, with black or white dials and 15 different strap options, ensuring it'll suit any outfit.
Beneath the attractive face, the Withings ScanWatch has a heart rate monitor, ECG functionality, and a new system for measuring blood oxygen saturation. The ScanWatch can also detect breathing disturbances, track sleep, and log your walking, running, cycling, swimming and more.
On top of all this, the tiny monochrome display at the 12 o'clock position can display incoming calls and other notifications from your Bluetooth-connected smartphone using the free Health Mate app (iOS and Android).
Read our full Withings Scanwatch review.
The Garmin Vivomove HR is one of the most comprehensive hybrid watches you can buy today, with a wide range of fitness- and health-tracking features, a subtle digital display, and several different colours to pick from.
This hybrid has key features like constant heart rate monitoring, the ability to estimate your VO2 Max and fitness age, and wellness monitoring tools which kick in and suggest you take a moment to breathe when showing signs of stress.
What makes the Vivomove HR stand out from the crowd is how it features a touchscreen display beneath its traditional hour and minute hands, giving you the best of both worlds.
Many hybrids look similar to regular watches, but we thing this Kronaby Steel 41mm is one which really keeps its smarts under wraps, thanks to its traditional face, strap, and buttons which to the untrained eye look like mere chronograph controls.
But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find the technology. There is a battery which lasts up to two years, a vibration motor for alerting you to notifications on your phone and waking you up silently each morning, and of course a daily step count.
Additional features include a stopwatch and timer, a button which can be configured to control your phone’s camera, and even IFTTT (If This, Then That), so the watch’s location can be set to trigger smart home devices into life. For example, you could have your smart lights and coffee machine automatically switch on when you arrive home wearing this watch.
While hybrid watches are usually at the more affordable end of the scale, there are exceptions like this timepiece by Frederique Constant, for example. Its smarts work in a similar way to other hybrids in that an accelerometer tracks your steps, movement and sleep, and then the data is sent to a smartphone app over Bluetooth.
But this particular hybrid comes from a bona fide luxury Swiss watchmaker with the design and build quality you would expect. The Horological Smartwatch is powered by an MMT-285 quartz movement, which sits inside a 42mm stainless steel case that is protected by a convex sapphire crystal and water resistant to 5 ATM. Battery life is a claimed two years.
Best for women
The Vivomove smartwatch range by Garmin includes no fewer than 15 different variants. Case sizes include 39, 42 and 44mm.
Much of the range are fully-fledges smartwatches with colour touch screen displays, but four are hybrids, with traditional hands and a small touch screen display at 6 o’clock for showing extra info and notifications.
Known as the Vivomore 3S, this hybrid is available in four different styles, all with a fairly compact 39mm case, and industry-standard straps. The display only appears when you need it, showing your step count, heart rate, hydration level and sleep score. There’s also integrated GPS, a feature for tracking your stress levels, and a five-day battery life. For a hybrid, that’s a huge range of features.
The beauty of most hybrid watches is how they hide their technology, and nowhere is that more apparent than with the Holst by Danish watchmaker Skagen. This smart and simple timepiece has a subtle 0-100 scale between 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock, indicating the percentage of your daily step target you have completed. Just press a button, and the watch points to what you’ve achieved so far.
The Holst, which has a 40mm case diameter and is 13mm thick, also tracks your exercise and sleep, sending data back to your smartphone over a Bluetooth connection. Calls, texts and other notifications are buzzed through to the wearable, which vibrates and points its hands to alert you and say what type of notification it is. The watch runs off a standard CR2032 coin-cell battery, which is claimed to last around six months.
We could forgive most shortcomings of the Instinct Crossover Solar, but not the price. Garmin watches aren’t cheap, but the Instinct has always been one of the more affordable watches; that’s not the case here. You’ll need to shell out serious monies for the analogue hands, the dial and Revodrive tech – is it worth it?
Even though we enjoyed using the watch, we can’t recommend it unless you’re really, really keen on the analogue hands. There are pretty hybrid watches on the market (Withings Scanwatch, listed above) that can measure ECG and track fitness for half the price of the Instinct Crossover Solar.
And although Garmin is more accurate than those, the whole point of hybrid watches is that they appeal to people who don’t like the look of digital watches. Those people won’t like the look of the Instinct Crossover – who’s going to buy it, then?
Read our full Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar review.
How to buy the best hybrid smartwatch for you
Unlike smartwatches, which often put their technology ahead of their aesthetics, hybrids look more like regular watches. This means there is a huge range of styles and sizes to choose from. You can even opt for a well-known Swiss brand like Mondaine and its Helvetica 1 hybrid or the Hybrid Manufacturer by Frederique Constant.
At the other end of the price range, we have Withings (which recently bought itself back from Nokia), producer of the Steel HR. Most hybrid watches accept regular straps, so can easily be given a makeover to match your favourite outfits.
Some hybrids have heart rate monitors, but some don’t, so if you want your watch to double as a personal trainer, then you’ll need to bear this in mind. Similarly, some offer more fitness tracking features than others, some are water resistant to greater depths, and most sold by companies belonging to the Fossil Group have a very similar companion smartphone app. As do several Swiss hybrids and their shared MMT app.