I've used the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar - it could be the hybrid smartwatch king

The new hybrid smartwatch doesn't need a battery, meaning you'll never have to run for wall socket to recharge

The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar worn on a wrist
(Image credit: Tissot)

I'll be honest with you, dear reader, I'm not a big smartwatch fan. Sure, I love the degree of insight on offer from these wrist-mounted devices, but it has never been enough to keep one on my wrist long term.

Perhaps that comes down to my love of traditional watches. Or, perhaps it comes from a deep-seated disdain for having to reach for the plug socket and recharge once a day, without fail. Whatever it is, it's not something which works for my lifestyle.

But then I discovered the wonderful world of hybrid smartwatches. These devices fuse a traditional timepiece with modern elements. That allows you to do things like check your heart rate or track a workout, but also enjoy a more conventional appearance when needed.

Now, one of the most interesting hybrid watches on the market has been launched. The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar uses a solar cell as the dial, allowing users to recharge the smart part of the device on the go. Simply point it towards the sun and soak up the lovely UV rays.

You'll find a small window in the dial at the 6 o'clock position, which showcases the display. You activate that by pressing the upper button, which causes the hands to spin furiously around the dial until they're out of the way. Then, the bottom portion of the dial registers touch input, to swipe and navigate through the features on offer.

In use, it's really quite remarkable. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the watch at the launch event in Switzerland, and I was blown away with how it performed. The appearance is definitely more Rolex Submariner than Apple Watch, but don't let that fool you. Health metrics are tracked closely and accurately, with an accompanying app collating all of the data in an easy to read manner.

Remarkably, though, all of that comes from a Swiss made watch which actually looks like a watch, too. There's even a steel bracelet option, should you so choose it, though I'd expect the rubber - which is exceptionally soft, to boot - to be the better pick for hardcore fitness freaks.

The real standout, though, is the charging situation. See, the entire dial is made from a proprietary material, which acts as a solar cell. Simply stick it in the sun - yes, even the meagre excuse for it we see here in the UK - and it will take on power from it. That means there is no need to hunt for a plug socket every 18 hours and wait for a top up.

For me, that's the real kicker here. You'll have enough power from a full charge to last for months of use, and then you can just stick it in a window and top up the battery. It's just effortless.

But calling it a smartwatch of any kind feels a little bit... wrong. Sure, it has smart functions, but I don't think it pays to consider it in that regard. You won't find a constant barrage of WhatsApp notifications on this, for example. 

Instead, think of it as a traditional watch which has the functionality required to give you some smart insight. It's just like any other Swiss watch you might opt to buy, except this one has the ability to warn you if your heart rate rockets.

So, how much will you need to fork out for that functionality? Well, less than you might have expected. You’ll pay between £950 and £1,050 in the UK, depending on which strap option you choose. That’s not cheap, but I think it’s worth every penny.

Here’s the thing - there are lots of watch lovers who are crying out for exactly this kind of device. Something which you can wear to the office without looking juvenile, but can still take to the gym to track your progress. While many have tried to make this work, no brand I’ve had experience with has succeeded quite like Tissot has.

Oh, and there is one last caveat, too. While this model was launched recently, it isn’t going to arrive in the UK until next year. So, for now, you can drool but you can’t get your hands on one. Still, we’ll certainly have another look at this when it’s available to buy in the UK.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.