It’s a bit of synergy that was only a matter of time. Late last year, Fossil Group purchased Misfit for a cool $260 million. And now, just under a year later, the wearable startup, best known for its modular fitness devices, is launching a watch.
To its credit, the company’s not going full-on smartwatch here. There’s not a hint of Android Wear to be found on the Phase. Rather, the watch is something more akin to Withings’ offerings, an analog hybrid device with Misfit’s proprietary fitness tracking technology baked in, along with the standard array of notifications for calls, texts, emails and the like.
It’s not a bad looking watch, either. It’s actually extremely minimalist as far as these things go. The Misfit rep I spoke with assured me that the company was involved with every step of the process – rather than just handing off the heavy lifting to its new bosses, though Fossil’s timepiece making expertise no doubt helped the process along considerably.
The Phase is noticeably thicker than your standard analog watch, owing no doubt to added electronics, but it’s not nearly as unwieldy as most of the smartwatches out there. At first glance, you’ be hard-pressed to distinguish it from an old school wristwatch.
The company has also utilized the hands themselves as a clever sort of interface, moving to different positions to indicate different things. You can, say, associate top contacts with different times, so if a friend texts it will move to 3:00 – at which point you can decide whether or not to engage with the message on your phone. It’s creative, but it feels a bit complicated, and will take a bit of memorizing to really become a power user.
The watch works with the company’s existing app and you can swap the straps for any 20mm field band – not quite modular in the same sense of the Misfit’s older offerings, but nice nonetheless. It will arrive in six color options on November 7, priced at $175.