Update (Oct 14, 12:45 pm ET): Included a response from Google regarding Assistant availability on Wear OS 3 watches.
What you need to know
While everyone is still reeling over the Pixel Watch, Fossil is sneaking in to steal some of the thunder with its first Wear OS 3 smartwatch. That’s right; the new Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition is here with a sleek design, upgraded fitness tracking, and, of course, the latest Wear OS software.
The watch is powered by the Snapdragon 4100+ chipset, the same as the rest of the Gen 6 family. While it’s not the new Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1, we imagine Fossil is saving that for an eventual Gen 7 smartwatch. Still, the current chip is plenty fine and at least newer than the one powering the Pixel Watch (no shade intended… much).
The new Gen 6 Wellness Edition features an updated design with sleek, curved stainless steel edges, which makes this probably one of the best-looking Wear OS smartwatches we’ve seen from Fossil (or anyone, for that matter). The watch comes in a 44mm case with a 1.28-inch display. The two function buttons are still there, as is the rotating crown with an updated design.
But what further sets this watch apart is the updated fitness tracking features powered by Fossil’s Wellness app. The app can track cardio and monitor heart rate, Sp02, and VO2 Max to give you a full view of how your body is performing. Additionally, Gen 6 Wellness Edition can also automatically start workouts depending on your movements while continuously tracking your heart rate during a workout.
That’s quite a move following the news that the Pixel Watch won’t exactly support automatic workout detection on the device, although Fossil tells me that its workout detection won’t be extensive. Still, something is better than nothing, and it looks like Fossil is giving its own fitness app a boost in the absence of a Fitbit app (it’s currently exclusive to the Pixel Watch).
The good news is that the watch is launching with Wear OS 3, joining the ranks of a few others, like the Galaxy Watch 5. Fossil says it should look and feel mostly like the UI found on the Pixel Watch, complete with an upgraded Fossil companion app for its Wear OS devices. The bad news is that, like the Montblanc Summit 3, this won’t include Google Assistant, which Fossil suggests isn’t ready for Qualcomm-powered Wear OS watches just yet.
I asked Google about this and received a pretty generic response from a spokesperson: “Our priority with Wear OS is to deliver a high performing platform for our partners and users, and we are taking the time to ensure our apps and services deliver a quality experience. We have nothing more to share at this time.”
To make up for it, Fossil has the Alexa app it launched earlier this year, which is receiving an upgrade allowing it to work more independently and with iOS users as well. And yes, Fossil’s smartwatches will work with iOS. The company is also including three new watch faces alongside Gen 6 Wellness Edition, including Heritage Wellness, Heritage GMT, and the exclusive Wellness Gauge watch face.
The smartwatch features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, which seems quite fine based on my experience with the Skagen Falster Gen 6. You also get Bluetooth 5, NFC for Google Wallet payments, and all-day battery life with Fossil’s super-fast charging, which can get the watch juiced up in no time flat.
Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition is available in three styles with black, silver, and rose gold colorways. It retails for $299 and will be available on October 17. There are also a number of 20mm watch bands available for $30 each.