Emporio Armani has released a hybrid smartwatch

The Armani Connected is the perfect smartwatch for those who aren't really sure if they want one.

Meryl D'Souza November 24, 2016

Look away fashion watch purists, this one is going to hit you right in the feels. 

Following in the footsteps of TAG Heuer, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo and others, Emporio Armani has joined the “dark side” and embraced the smartwatch trend with its brand new Emporio Armani Connected line.

The Italian fashion company has partnered with Fossil to make its hybrid smartwatch a reality, and it incorporates everything you would expect from a smartwatch while doing its best to remain as least smartwatch-looking as possible.

It's a hybrid watch in every sense of the word, with an analogue watch face but also mechanical parts. Under the hood it is equipped with motion sensors and Bluetooth. Using that Bluetooth feature, the watch syncs with your phone to send subtle notifications, track daily activities, control music, monitor sleep patterns, schedule alarms, wirelessly take pictures and locate the wearer’s misplaced smartphone, à la the Apple Watch

While all that sounds great, we’re a little miffed with the name. We can’t understand why Armani would settle on a name that’s already taken by TAG Heuer. The idea is to stand out and not have your product confused with another brand’s already existing one. Ironically, the name is all that Armani’s Connected shares with TAG's.

The Emporio Armani Connected comes with a texturised face and will be available in three variants: rose gold-tone, black, gunmetal, and stainless steel, with either a three-piece link bracelet or leather strap as your band options. 

It come with quartz batteries instead of the lithium-ion options that have been generally used in smartwatches thus far, and quartz will give the Connected an edge over other smartwatches when it comes to battery life; Ars Technica claims the watch can go up to six months on a single charge, so don't worry about packing that extra charger.

Of course, as is life, the quartz batteries have a downside: they cannot be recharged once they run out of juice. Meaning if you buy the Armani Connected, expect to have the battery replaced in store as you would for a regular non-smartwatch.

We know 'they' say better late than never, but Emporio Armani is coming into the smartwatch fray at a dire time. According to the International Data Corporation, the number of smartwatches shipped during the third quarter this year declined by 52 per cent compared to the same July-to-September period last year. While part of that is due to Google’s decision to hold off on Android Wear 2, you can’t help but feel that the market might be experiencing a downturn after initially overtaking sales of Swiss Made watches at the start of the year.

While we will have to wait and see how things play out, Armani isn’t waiting on anything. The company's long-term plans include a fully-fledged smartwatch sporting a digital display. That is expected to drop at some point next year. 

Until then, you can head to the Emporio Armani store at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai to pick up the hybrid.