The Skagen Hagen smart watch keeps tabs on your minimalist life

Skagen is a Danish watch company famous for its minimalist designs and affordable prices. Now, for $215, you can add a little smarts to your minimalist wrist, a welcome bit of news for those who think the flat black slab of an Apple Watch is too flamboyant.

The Skagen Hagen is basically an activity watch similar to the Withings Activite and the watches containing smart movements from MMT. The watch can measure your steps and sleep patterns and vibrates when you get a notification on your phone. The battery lasts four to six months and you can easily swap it out for a new one by opening the back case.

Why is this watch interesting? First it’s surprisingly light. Made of titanium this particular piece could pass for a modern minimalist mechanical. Skagen also has a steel version on a mesh strap and a rose gold model but this one is the nicest, I think. The three buttons on the side control the various functions including music playback on your phone or other device. The sub-dial at nine o’clock displays the percentage of steps taken and a separate iOS or Android app lets you see your progress.

The Skagen Hagen is a really nice watch. As a timepiece I’m quite pleased with the soft leather band and handsome case. As an activity tracker I could see it replacing a non heart-rate-sensing Fitbit in, well, a heartbeat. This is also not Fossil’s first smartwatch effort. I still have their original Palm watch – an amazing little bit of technology – and they’ve been mucking about with Android Wear over the past few months as well. This sort of watch – pared down, simple, and usable – is just another arrow in their smartwatch quiver.

For $215 the Hagen is a pretty solid deal. It doesn’t do much, but if you’re primarily interested in your steps and some minor notification controls then this does exactly what you need it to. Sure it doesn’t have a passcode, weather readouts, and a way to send little hearts to your friends, but who needs that when you have minimalism?

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