When Skagen, the Danish-inspired watch brand by Fossil, launched the Falster smartwatch in January, the one thing everyone agreed on was that it was beautiful. The plain leather, metallic straps and the black dial boasted a sleek aesthetic rarely seen in Google’s Wear OS (earlier known as Android Wear) timepieces.

But without standard features like a heart-monitoring system, the watch simply wasn’t smart enough.

Last month, Skagen unveiled a revamped version of the watch that has upgraded specifications but sticks to its signature minimalist look. The Falster 2 has a host of new features, including a heart-rate monitor, swim-proof case, and a built-in near-field communication (NFC) chip for mobile transactions. Aimed at fitness enthusiasts, the monitor tracks the user’s heart rate automatically during workouts and is designed to sync with the Google Fit platform. The watch also has GPS capabilities built into it. Users can access routes and distance log directly on the touch-screen interface of their watches. No need to take your phones along.

The high points of the original Falster, its straps and sensual black dial, remain intact in the sequel and two additional buttons on the side enable easy access to apps. It also has the option to customize watch dials and save battery.

The chunky design and proportion has been a repeat issue with Wear OS smartwatches. For instance, the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch, which Diesel launched at the same time as the Falster 2, is the biggest Wear OS timepiece so far. It has a 56mm case and 1.39-inch display.

But as Apple and Samsung smartwatches have consistently shown, tech wearables look best in a light, sleek avatar. Driven by Scandinavian minimalism, Skagen Falster’s design has always been its best feature. But the brand is now adding technical prowess to the design, adding a real dose of “smart" too.

It’s certainly not a coincidence that Fossil has also announced its fourth generation of Fossil Q watches with features similar to the Falster 2. The Fossil Q watches also eschew the bulky make of conventional smartwatches. The big drawback is that both Fossil Q and Falster 2 watches are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip, which is already two years old and can adversely affect the speed and working of these smartwatches.

The Skagen Falster 2, available from 12 September, will be priced $275 (around 19,500) onwards.

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