Graphic design has taught me that to find out what people think of a subject, search images of related keywords on Google.
So I searched up “business watches.”
What I saw was that business watches usually have an analog watch face, had a leather strap or metal band. Brown, gold and silver is the colour palette.
That rules out a whole bunch of watches. Many smartwatches do come with silicone straps and plastic cases. Those look pretty amateurish and so you’d want to avoid them if looks matter.
Apple Watch bucks the trend
The base model Apple Watch Series 5 comes with a silicone strap and looks nothing like a business watch with its thick bezels and shiny materials.
Apple users will be in a real dilemma. The Apple Watch Series 5 is the best smartwatch out there for Apple users but the base model Apple Watch looks like some kid’s toy as compared to the likes of high-end watches from Tag Heuer, Patek or Rolex.
Look closer and you’ll find some design choices that really make it a premium watch. For one, it has a curved display which is something that shouts out “premium.”
This is a feature that is on all high-end Samsung smartphones. The lower-end ones get the flat screens.
Plus, the Apple Watch Series 5 does not have any sharp 90-degree edges, it’s all rounded, just like the Mini or Fiat 500s which avoid these in order to create a feeling of friendliness.
Furthermore, if you want to get a more “professional” looking strap, you can get the Apple Watch with a bunch of straps made with leather or stainless steel. Heck, you can even spend hundreds of dollars on a Hermès handcrafted calfskin leather strap. Yes, we’re talking about a strap that costs as much as the Apple Watch.
That said, it still doesn’t look like what you’d think of as a business watch. Maybe if your business was in the less suit-and-tie kind of domain. I mean, I see people on TV wearing it with a suit, so I don’t know.
But when it comes to software, I’d say the Apple Watch is pretty amazing.
Software for a businessperson
Beyond the exterior, the quality of software and operating system is an important aspect.
If I were a busy person, expecting important emails and messages, I don’t want to refer to my phone all the time in order to judge whether or not the message is important.
In meetings, I want to be able to see those notifications so I can decide whether it’s urgent or not. I would also like to avoid taking my phone out so as not to give off the impression that I’m distracted or not paying attention.
That’s the great thing about notifications from a smartwatch. You’ll know who sent it and the first few lines of their message.
The other thing that’s very useful is the ability to answer phone calls on your smartwatch. Entry-level smartwatches generally do not have this feature because they do not have a speaker. Oftentimes, they will have the software disabled because of this reason. Higher-end smartwatches generally will have a speaker except for sports-oriented smartwatches which will not.
Busy people hate tedium. Can you imagine asking a busy person to do data entry? In the same line of thought, a smartwatch can be very tedious if you had to tap, swipe and scroll in order to get something done, like starting a timer.
This really makes it quite important to have a good speech-to-text system rather than trying to fumble with a keyboard on the screen and it also means that a good, dynamic voice assistant is very crucial. I want to be able to start timers, set appointments and do other tedious things through the voice assistant.
And finally if I am always on the go, I would want my battery life to last me a full day. Most smartwatches can achieve this and I’m really glad.
It’s a pain to see a smartwatch go into power saving mode where it becomes a very heavy and bulky time-telling device. It loses all its smart functionality.
Let’s revisit the Apple Watch
So why is the Apple Watch so perfect for busy people? To be more accurate, busy people who use iPhones because Apple Watches won’t pair with anything else.
Well, it fulfills all the criteria listed above. Unlike all other smartwatches, the Apple Watch really functions as a miniaturized smartphone, especially if you get the LTE version which pretty much is the biggest untethering between smartphone and smartwatch.
Nonetheless, the base model allows you to do a lot on your wrist as long as your smartphone is within reach. So, let’s say you are in your office but you have left your phone in a drawer (so as to stay focused), you will still be able to get calls and messages within the reach of Bluetooth.
Calls are great. The quality is good enough when in a quiet environment and if you stick the speaker to your ear, you’ll be able to hear what your caller is saying, even if you’re in a loud environment.
Furthermore, the Apple Watch Series 5 can access message and email logs directly as if you were on your phone.
The presentation of emails is probably the best on the WatchOS as compared to other platforms. Wear OS or Samsung’s Tizen OS can only display the text in an email but the WatchOS can display text, images and really mimics how an email will look on your smartphone.
Replying to emails and messages is a breeze because of Apple’s fantastic speech-to-text system. Apple’s WatchOS considers the context and forms sentences that make sense most of the time.
Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, is also fantastic. First off, it understands you. That is really important.
I can’t emphasize this point enough — a voice assistant that doesn’t understand you is frustrating. The voice assistant should be able to make your life easier.
And Siri does that really well. You can ask it anything and most of the time, it will give you a response. It can activate timers, schedule appointments and if you ask it a question that’s too random, it will just take your query and search the web.
I think Siri is just fantastic. The only other voice assistant that comes close is Google Assistant and perhaps now’s a good time to talk about smartwatches for the Android crowd.
Best business smartwatch for Android users
Fossil Gen 5 is what you need.
Fossil makes some really great smartwatches on the higher end, and they are all under the “Gen 5” umbrella.
As stated, looks matter if you are going to wear a watch in big board rooms. The Gen 5 really gives you the widest range of looks that go from business casual to business formal.
Choose between a silicone strap, leather strap, metal mesh strap or a metal band and clasp setup, then choose between black, orange-gold and silver as a colour scheme. Finally, you can choose a bezel thickness from completely flat to a real hardcore outdoorsperson’s bezel.
Great software and OS
The Fossil Gen 5 comes with good software and an operating system that is supported by Google.
Google’s Wear OS has been getting better and better. In early 2020 (when you could gather in close quarters, dine-in at restaurants, attend concerts and sports events), Wear OS was notably laggier and in lesser smartwatches, it was quite a pain to use the Wear OS.
But the Fossil Gen 5s have the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 and also 1GB of RAM, which really led the pack of Wear OS smartwatches for a while. In my experience, it was the sole Wear OS watch that could deal with the sluggishness of the old Wear OS.
Today, there’s not that big a difference between the Gen 5 and other smartwatches, but I appreciated how it could deal with a heavier load without cracking.
I think for a busy person this is important. When my time is limited, my patience is even more limited. A slow, laggy watch will go straight to Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or Kijiji in no time. Thankfully, not the Gen 5.
The Gen 5 parallels much of the Apple Watch’s strengths. Its speech-to-text system is backed by Google which means that its accuracy is class leading.
This means that replying to texts and messages is easily done with the speech-to-text function. Furthermore, the Wear OS offers a 26-alphabet keyboard that you can use if you need to type in something very technical.
Google Assistant is also fantastic. There are some limitations to what it can do as compared to Google Assistant on the smartphone such as not being able to solve my indecisiveness by helping me flip a coin.
But most tedious tasks can be done through Google Assistant and if Google Assistant doesn’t know what you are looking for, it will search the web for an answer.
The apps on the Wear OS also deserve special mention. I really like how the Wear OS allows you to download Google apps. I love having Google Maps and Google Translate on my smartwatch. Especially Google Maps which can help you with navigation on a bike or while driving. You can also get Google Keep if you use that to take notes or keep track of grocery lists.
The convenience of being able to make calls and receive calls on the Fossil Gen 5 is also great. Call quality was good on both ends.
The Fossil Gen 5s offer a great choice of looks on the exterior and also offers great dynamism when it comes to software. For any businessperson, I think this will greatly enhance your productivity.
The focus of a smartwatch for a businessperson should be about looking the part and enhancing your productivity.
I think the Apple Watch Series 5 is the best watch out there, but it just won’t pair with anything but Apple iPhones. That’s sad because I would like to use it with my Android device.
But the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches are very close in greatness. I think it really does help you enhance productivity. Being able to call, text and email reliably really helps. Plus, having access to Google’s apps is an advantage the Apple Watch does not have.
Plus, the Fossil Gen 5 will be able to pair with iPhones if you decide to switch in the future, but vice versa isn’t true. Oh, did I also mention that the Fossil Gen 5 is able to accept calls on an iPhone? Most Wear OS smartwatches cannot.