IN RECENT YEARS, it has been established that a good watch doesn’t necessarily have to be mechanical. Hell, it doesn’t even need to be Swiss. Yes, mechanical timepieces still come out on top in an ever-growing market — and probably serve as the better investment long-term — but the digital smartwatch category has grown exponentially, and many top-tier brands are getting with the times.
Aside from looking good while telling the time, smartwatches have far greater capabilities than your classic wrist-watch. From tracking workouts and providing important health metrics to taking calls, sending messages and even utilising Artificial intelligence, smartwatches today offer a compelling proposition for the person looking for a sturdy watch without the hefty price tag.
While Fitbit was one of the key players to officially launch one of the first wearable smartwatches way back in 2007, it was arguably the arrival of the Apple Watch in 2014 that set the tone for the booming smartwatch market to come. The idea of presenting digital information to users in a non-distracting way was, and still is, the mantra set by smartwatches — and consumers wanted in. Since then, the appetite for smartwatches is unavoidable, and many luxury brands have recognised the increased demand for tech-savvy users to be digitally connected in all aspects, including wearables.
Here is Esquire’s roundup of the best smartwatches on the market in 2023.
APPLE Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch has come a long way since the first generation of smartwatches were unveiled in 2015. Now in its eighth series, the Apple Watch Series 8 reveals groundbreaking new technology and performance that will drastically improve how you interact with technology. New features of the Apple Watch Series 8 include increased battery life, increased accuracy and capabilities in fitness tracking, crash detection for severe car crashes and an innovative temperature sensor that enables advanced features for women’s health.
SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch 5
The new Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is likely the greatest smartwatch option for Android users. While sporty in aesthetics, the Galaxy Watch 5 wears incredibly sleek on the wrist. It features a new skin-temperature reader, greater scratch-resistant display and a longer-lasting battery that will see up to 50 hours of use. The Galaxy Watch 5 also comes equipped with Google Assistant, which is very intuitive to use — some would say it rivals Apple’s Siri. There’s plenty to like here with the new Galaxy Watch 5, and to be honest, it’s a no-brainer for Android users wishing to purchase wearable tech.
GARMIN Venu 2 Plus
If you’re one to track your exercise activities on the daily, then the Garmin Venu 2 Plus might be the smartwatch for you. Garmin has long held a reputation for being the watch for the athlete – amateur and professional – serious about accurately tracking their fitness. Garmin has held a reputation for its rugged, almost indestructible design with arguably the best (and most accurate) GPS in the smartwatch category. But the Venu 2 Plus is a strong sell for other reasons too, like its stylish aesthetics, the introduction of on-wrist calls and voice assistant, and the ten-day battery life, which is a runner’s dream.
TAG HEUER Connected Calibre E4
On the higher end of the smartwatch category lies TAG Heuer. But while its price tag might be hefty for some, the new Connected Calibre E4 in titanium is arguably the best-looking smartwatch we’ve seen this year. TAG Heuer has paved the way for the future of luxury smartwatches since 2015, a category it helped define and one that, as a whole, is projected to sell over 156 million units by 2024. The new Calibre E4 in a new 42mm case — customers spoke, TAG listened — is built like a mechanical watch, in ultra-light titanium, no less. It combines the robustness of ultra-light grade 2 titanium with the versatility of a comfortable rubber strap, and is ready to track your every move thanks to the improved TAG Heuer-exclusive sports app.
APPLE Watch Ultra
The smartwatch that many Apple users have long been waiting for, the Apple Watch Ultra packs a punch when it comes to features, capabilities and ruggedness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big watch — at 49mm, it’s designed to be seen, no matter the conditions… but that’s kind of the point. At a glance, this tool-like smartwatch is genuinely sturdy, made from aerospace-grade titanium that boasts precisive dual-frequency GPS and offers up to 36 hours of battery life — Apple’s best battery yet. It was also released with three new watch bands ready for adventures.