Fossil/Misfit merger shows the way ahead for wearables

Activity tracking appeals to watchmakers more than digital smartwatches.

Earlier this week, TAG Heuer revealed its $1,200 Connected smartwatch. The Guardian called the release a potential “turning point in smartwatches”, something that I disagreed with for a number of reasons.

However, today’s news that Fossil has acquired activity tracking startup Misifit is far more interesting. The watch company says that it will be incorporating Misfit’s fashion-orientated activity tracking technology across its watches and accessories. 

To me, this move is far more indicative of how the wearable market is heading. Fully digital smartwatches from traditional brands such as TAG Heuer are likely to remain rare and none of the traditional watchmakers we talked to in our recent Horology vs Technology report showed an interest in such a product. But they were more receptive towards of the idea of hybrid devices in the style of Withing’s Activité, and there are already some appearing on the market from the likes of Mondaine, Frederique Constant, and Alpina.

The hybrid models offer the chance to combine technology and classic watch-making far more easily, retaining the longevity and design of regular watches but providing added functionality. Expect to see more Fossil/Misfit style announcements in the future rather than thousand-dollar Swiss-brand Android Wear devices.

Download the IDG Connect watch report now to see why the watch industry is showing no fear of Silicon Valley and how the companies trying to muscle in on their turf think they should change.