Exercise, whatever form it takes, comes as a welcome boost at a time when other options may be limited. Get ready with a smart watch which not only maximises performance but can also look after your physical and mental health, with our pick of the best below.
Citizen shifts the wellbeing emphasis to prevention in the new CZ Smart YouQ smartwatch, with software that can predict dips in alertness. The tech gets smarter the more it records, learning the wearer’s preferred time to wake and sleep after a week to ten days of monitoring. Custom strategies advising how to remain at peak fitness and deal with exhaustion will ensure a better quality of life, while forecasts for the upcoming days presented 24 hours in advance can ensure wearers are adequately prepared to maximise alert periods.
The new DW-H5600 comes complete with a host of useful features. Solar powered, it supports sports from running to time in the gym, while a heart rate monitor allows you to accurately track your stats.
Skagen is inspired by the green energy of Denmark's Samsø Island for the new Samsø series. A case created from upcycled, ocean-bound plastic waste and a watch strap in recycled plastic and recycled polyester make an eco-friendly foil for solar-powered movement, available to admire on the dial.
The ultimate luxury sports watch, Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak rethought the genre with last year's release of the Perpetual Calendar in full blue ceramic. Lightweight and virtually scratchproof, its hypnotising homogenous new hue lends a depth to a classic piece when paired with the Royal Oak's distinctive mix of brushed and polished surfaces.
Breitling has infused the classic design of the SuperOcean watch with bright pops of colour. Dials in orange, turquoise and icy white make for clear readability even when underwater, while a scratchproof bezel make this the ideal companion for water sports.
G-Shock is celebrating 30 years of the Frogman watch with a special edition which gives an environmentally-friendly twist to the original. Marrying a bezel and band created from biomass plastics with the distinctive shape of the original design, this is the ultimate modern sports watch.
Adidas Originals Timepieces
Bring a cheerful pop of retro chic with the new Adidas Originals Timepieces range, which looks to street culture codes for its bold aesthetic. The first collection to be designed, manufactured and distributed by Timex Group, pieces nod to a retro vibe in a celebration of vintage digital watches.
Seiko build on their sporting heritage with the Prospex Speedtimer Oregon, which marks the seventeenth time the brand has offered their timing services to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon. With a dial which recalls the texture of the running track and a simple reset function which makes timing races effortless, this is the perfect companion both off and on the track.
The Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch is an ultra-light, sporty companion which boasts impressive battery life for a GPS watch. With features including blood oxygen monitoring, night mode and digital dial which makes scrolling through the screen effortless even when weaing thick gloves, this promises to be a useful fitness companion.
The Fēnix 7 Sapphire Solar multisport GPS watch is a powerful tool to fuel your workouts. Guaranteed to last - a solar charging lens promises to extend its battery life - this handy sports watch can be both a running coach and a health companion, letting you know your stats while offering encouragement, all to the background of your favourite tunes thanks to its welcome music feature.
Casio have collaborated with professional surfer Kanoa Igarashi on the latest G-Shock shock-resistant watch. The GBX-100KI is, naturally, very handy for surfers, which as well as a multitude of functions comes with a tide graph. Mobile Link capabilities mean your phnoe can easily communicate the tide data and sunset and sunrise times, as well as keeping you updated with your time, pace and distance travelled.
Sports watches don't come more highly rated than the Zenith Chronomaster Sport, which has now been awarded the prestigous Grand Prix D'Horlogerie de Genéve 2021 for its slick technical capabilities. With an intricately precise movement wrapped up in a sporty steel case, this is the sports watch for those who like their timepieces professional, reliable and slick.
Tag Heuer's Connected watch sets the bar for fitness companions that look good too. The multi-feature display on the Synopsis watch face lets you view six features at once, meaning you can check your stats, the time of your next meeting and the weather in one quick glance. Along with a built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, when linked with the Tag Heuer Sports app it will fully break down your run, cycle, walk or stroll on the golf course, meaning there's no excuse not to get out there for your next PB.
Danish brand Skagen eschews superfluous details which could slow down performance, making it a practical choice for a sports watch which also looks good. The Skagen Falster 3 runs efficiently, with smarter battery modes then its predecessor and double the storage. Wear OS by Google software and new speaker functionality means both Android and iPhone users can take calls from their Bluetooth-enabled watch, as well as play music and ‘chat’ to the Google Assistant. The efficiency stretches to the layout, which will offer handy fitness information – progress towards goals, a heart rate check or the quick start of a workout which can be viewed with a swipe left. Good for all activity, the watch is now waterproof to 30 metres and also auto-installs Cardiogram, which converts your heart rate data into interactive charts which can help identify weak spots to target.
Withings’ ScanWatch takes your health very seriously, conscientiously tracking activity and automatically recognising which form of exercise is being taken. Comprehensive fitness assessments also come as standard thanks to its VO2 Max indicator (measuring how easily your body converts oxygen into energy), which makes it easy to optimise training. It is as a health tool where this watch really shines, however, and an in-depth cardiovascular health monitoring programme means it can spot the signs of both sleep apnea and arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) early. If the watch notices an abnormal health rate, or the user suspects symptoms, a quick touch on both sides of the bezel will activate three built-in electrodes which will perform a thirty-second ECG, the results of which you can save and take to your doctor.
The Galaxy Watch Active2 takes a more well-rounded approach to health and fitness with an emphasis on wellness that goes beyond comprehensive workout stats (although those are here too). As well as tracking stress levels, it offers guided meditation programmes through an integration with the Calm app, as well as putting an emphasis on sleep patterns with more efficient sleep analysis tools. A competent all-rounder, it also lets you do most of the things you would expect from a smartphone, with the ability to film videos, use Samsung Pay and wirelessly charge.
Fossil’s Gen 5 smartwatch in stainless steel, like Skagen’s Falster 3, comes with a host of useful functions thanks to a link-up with Google’s Wear OS software. Swim-proof and with an activity and heart rate tracker and long battery life, this does the essentials well, making it the ideal fitness companion.
Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.
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