Fossil’s drive to get smarter is continuing at Baselworld, where the watchmaker will unveil a series of new additions to its wearable tech offering.
The Fossil Q Smartwatch line has been updated with a bevvy of high-tech wonders.
The Q Accomplice and the Q Activist both look like watches, but incorporate smartwatch features. Starting at $155, they offer smartphone notifications, activity tracking and other features.
At the techier end of the spectrum, the Q Venture and the Q Explorist start at $255 and pick up Google’s new Android Wear 2.0 operating system and feature touch screens, the ability to access outside apps, microphone and speaker and more.
Fossil jumped into the high-tech world with both feet in 2015, buying Mistfit Inc. for $215 million. The company launched 150 wearable products last year and, for 2017, plans to double its wearables production.
Kosta Kartsotis, Fossil’s chairman and chief executive officer, told investors in February that “2016 was a year that the Fossil Group demonstrated its ability to move very quickly to adjust to consumer demands. In one short year, we acquired Misfit, integrated their team into the organization, and leveraged their technology platform across our portfolio brands.”
Smartwatches have helped pump up the business.
“Following several consecutive quarters of declines, watches stabilized in the [fourth] quarter as smartwatches reversed deteriorating trends in traditional watches and some of our key brands had a double-digit impact on the category,” Kartsotis said.
Dennis Secor, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, said the watch giant sold more than 1.5 million wearable devices last year, generating sales of nearly $170 million. The majority of that take came from fourth-quarter smartwatch sales in the Fossil and licensed Michael Kors brands.
“With the strong success of Fossil and Michael Kors wearables, there is clearly a place for fashion and branding in tech-enabled wrist devices,” Secor said. “In the short time since we launched, both of these brands have experienced more than a 10-point improvement in watch growth trajectory since the first quarter of 2016, and that has been driven primarily with display watches.”
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