Fossil's subsidiary Skagen revealed its first smartwatch at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018, having launched it in the form of the Falster, an Android Wear-powered device meant to blend Google's OS smarts with the minimalist fashion vision of the established watchmaker. Despite being a newcomer to the industry, Skagen already managed to address one issue that's been attached to a wide variety of previously released wearables - bulkiness. The Falster is an extremely compact device and one that doesn't feel like you attached a smartphone to your wrist. The circular AMOLED panel found on the smartwatch lacks an unseemly "flat tire" detracting from so many other wearables. The case of the watch measures 42mm in diameter and houses a 1.19-inch touchscreen, another first for the brand. While far from the largest offerings on the market, the Skagen Falster is both lightweight and straightforward to use.
The newly announced gadget ships with Android Wear 2.0 and all of the features that come along with it, including support for standalone apps and an intuitive user interface. The company's CES 2018 demo didn't offer units that ran the full-fledged version of the OS which would provide visitors with something much closer to an everyday experience. Instead, all Falster models demoed at the Las Vegas-based show were running in Android Wear's Retail Mode which is much more restrictive in terms of features, though navigating the watch in this controlled environment was at least maximally smooth. The stainless steel button of the watch was responsive in all menus but unfortunately isn't able to rotate, which may not be an issue to first-time smartwatch owners but could require some adaptation from people who are already familiar with Google's wearable ecosystem.
Like nearly every other contemporary wearable on the market running the Android-based OS, the Skagen Falster is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 2100, so its ability to handle multiple tasks and quickly switch between apps should be on par with what the market — including Skagen's parent — has already been offering for a while. The company has yet to provide any details in regards to the battery life of the device, though it's unsurprisingly promising a great experience on this front. What it doesn't promise is NFC support or a heart rate monitor, nor does its watch ship with GPS capabilities. Given its price point, the overall package certainly looks like a classic case of "form of over function," albeit it does offer a rather universally appealing form.
Skagen will start retailing the first Android Wear-powered addition to its Falster series in late January, offering it in black, silver, and rose gold variants. The smartwatch will start at $275 with a leather strap, whereas the rose gold and silver options will be bundled with a mesh strap and come with a $295 price tag attached. No information regarding the global availability of the device has yet been provided by the manufacturer, though the company should at the very least offer international shipping. Despite its lack of high-end features and a price that puts it in the premium end of the smartwatch market, Skagen is positioning the new Falster as an intelligent watch capable of succeeding where many others have failed - appealing to aficionados of analog timepieces.