Fossil Hybrid HR can replace your Apple Watch AND your traditional watch

Hybrid smartwatch has physical hands, digital screen, two weeks of battery life and a heart rate monitor

Fossil Hybrid HR watch wants to replace your Apple Watch AND your Rolex
(Image credit: Fossil)

The new Fossil Hybrid HR is a smartwatch which offers an always-on display, physical hands, and a two-week battery life.

It does this by being a hybrid smartwatch, and instead of featuring a colour LCD touch screen, the display is more like what you’d get on an ebook reader. The display shows useful information like messages and incoming calls to your Bluetooth connected phone, plus exercise stats like your heart rate and step count when you’re in the gym or out for a run.

Fossil is hoping this is the perfect compromise between tech and style, with informative and advanced smartwatch features, with the traditional appeal of a mechanical watch. That gives the hybrid watch many rivals, from the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, to Swatch and Tissot (maybe not Rolex).

The circular display takes up a significant proportion of the watch face, but leaves room around its outer edge for hour and minute indices, pointed at by a pair of regular watch hands.

We think it's a neat design which offers the best of both worlds; you get the long, two-week battery life and traditional looks of a hybrid, but also a heart rate monitor and the useful display of a smartwatch – albeit without colour and proper apps.

(Image credit: Fossil)

Other information shown by the display, which can be adjusted via the watch’s buttons, includes the weather forecast, a second timezone, alarm, timer and stopwatch, music playback control, the day and date, and an overview of your daily activity.

Fossil is offering four different styles of Hybrid HR from launch. These include a dark grey stainless steel model with matching strap, a rose gold option with steel mesh strap, a model with a black case, dial and matching silicone strap, and finally a version with a black case, brown dial and brown leather strap. All models have industry-standard lug bars, so the straps can be swapped for any you fancy.

All models of the Fossil Hybrid HR are water-resistant to 3 ATM (about 30 metres), have a light on the front of their display for viewing at night, work with iOS and Android, track activity and sleep, include workout modes, and have a battery which charges to 100% in 60 minutes. All that’s missing is NFC for contactless Google Pay payments and GPS for tracking outdoor runs without a smartphone.

All data collected by the watch - like your daily steps, exercise and sleep - is sent to the Fossil Smartwatches app on your phone, where it can be analysed in more detail and plotted over time.

The Fossil Hybrid HR is available now, with prices starting at £189 in the UK and $195 in the US.

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Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.