Is 2016 The Year Smartwatches Start Looking Good?

March 16, 2016, 2:12 PM UTC
Apple CEO Tim Cook looks over a selection of Apple Watches in Palo Alto
Apple CEO Tim Cook looks over a selection of Apple Watches in Palo Alto, California April 10, 2015. Customers flocked to Apple Inc's stores around the world on Friday to get their first close-up look at the company's smartwatch, while online orders were backlogged until June. The Apple Watch, Cook's first new major product and the company's first foray into the personal luxury goods market, was available for preorder online and to try out in stores by appointment, but not to take home. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTR4WUS5
Photograph by Robert Galbraith — Reuters

A collective of high-profile fashion brands are banding together in a big push for better-looking wearables.

Kate Spade New York, Emporio Armani, Chaps, Diesel, Michael Kors, Misfit, Skagen, and Fossil are all planning to push out more than a hundred new Internet-connected watches and trackers this year aimed at making wearable tech more fashion-friendly.

The announcement comes just as smartwatches are eclipsing Swiss watch sales for the first time ever.

The Fossil Group is powering the tech behind the new products, betting that 2016 is going to be the year fitness tracking goes high-fashion. To get things started, Fossil is launching several new operating systems and apps to support all the new baubles.

“Customers will be delighted with the sheer volume of styles and options available when shopping for a wearable that fits their personal style,” said Fossil Group chief strategy and digital officer Greg McKelvey, in a release this week.

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It’s the latest move in Fossil’s big bet on wearable tech. The group acquired Misfit in November of last year for $260 million in a bid to get the company back on track after slow earnings earlier in 2015. Some of the Misfit trackers don’t need to be charged, which could make them easier to integrate into jewelry or accessories.



Though the company’s earnings improved in the fourth quarter, analysts are cautious about whether or not wearable tech fashion is something Fossil can really pull off, as MarketWatch reports.

In contrast, timepiece maker Swatch is still largely waiting things out in the smartwatch market. The company has only rolled just a few smartwatch options while guarding its patents, and it is waiting to see if the tech really takes off.

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