The watch company is set to reveal on Thursday, the official kickoff day of CES 2017 in Las Vegas, new hybrid smartwatch designs it thinks harness all the lessons it has learned so far about what consumers want from wearables. The direction the segment is going toward indicates that’s more function than Space Age gadget.
The company is showing new case designs for its Q Modern Pursuit and Q Grant hybrid smartwatches. Fossil will also reveal the new Q Accomplice, which lends a sportier feel to the brand’s lineup of hybrid smartwatches, along with a slimmer design. Q Accomplice wearers also have the option of customizing their pushers, or watch command buttons.
“We’re excited about that, to be able to customize it to the customer and definitely know that that’s something they’ve been asking for,” said Fossil chief creative officer Jill Elliott of the pushers.
The three designs — Accomplice, Modern Pursuit and Grant — will be available in the spring with retail prices ranging from $175 to $215.
Fossil jumped into the wearables fray in fall 2015 with its Fossil Q lineup, divided between hybrid smartwatches, which on the surface look more like the traditional watch, in addition to touch-screen models.
The watches will sell at Fossil stores and on the web site, along with retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon and Macy’s.
For Fossil, the smartwatch category has proven a boon in bringing new customers to the brand along with new retailers, such as Best Buy, for its wholesale business.
The Fossil Q line has attracted what Elliott called a fashionable consumer who’s active, but not part of the typical fitness or “super-techie” crowds. Its smartwatch customer base is also about evenly split between men and women, and buyers generally skew a bit younger than the crowd buying from the main line of Fossil watches. Many are Millennials, purchasing their first watch from the Fossil Q line, Elliott said. The tech-savvy lineup has in some ways helped as a gateway into the broader Fossil product assortment and with cross-selling, where customers buying a smartwatch have also bought additional wrist straps or a matching bag.
There’s still more to come on the innovation side as the company’s development team looks to further push customization of the command buttons and integration of that with the app in the back half of the year, Elliott said.
“In the beginning it [wearables] was this very niche thing, but after the initial novelty wore off, you got tired of it,” Elliott said. “Today it feels like it’s moving more toward table stakes. You can have access to smart technology, but in a very traditional-looking wristwatch. You can customize what exactly you want it to be.”