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Top 15 Apple Watch Alternatives

When the Apple Watch was announced in fall 2014, potential consumers were divided. Was the return to a wristwatch design the next logical step in the development of smart devices or merely a novel attempt at appealing to hipster sensibilities? As of March 2015, this question has yet to be answered.

Apple has a solid marketing history, but this writer believes they’ve missed the mark with their latest gadget. With a price point starting at $350 – and skyrocketing to $17,000 – and without mobile carrier involvement, the Apple Watch’s target demographic excludes much of the working class. It seems Apple has failed to ask one critical question: will the individuals to whom this watch is marketed actually want the device if every. single. one. of their peers has the exact same gadget?

For the discerning consumer, here are seventeen Apple Watch alternatives.

Nooka Zub ZenV 20

Via watchismoNooka makes some pretty great watches. They’re stylish, yet affordable, and sporty, yet geeky. Basically, Nooka is everything you want in a watch that costs less than your gaming console.

A large part of the ZenV line’s charm – particularly the Rose Gold offering seen at left – is its retrofuturism. These watches would have fit right in with the costuming on Battlestar Galactica ’78, or in the campy Space Station 76. The Zen-V is ’70s sci-fi for the digital age.

And although we don’t feature any other Nooka watches on this list, be aware that they’re all worth a gander. Part of this brand’s appeal lies in its collaborative efforts with licensed characters from the likes of Adventure Time, DC Comics, and Tokidoki.

Styles Available: 7

Retail Cost: $170.00

ZIIIRO Gravity

Via watchismoLike the Nooka Zum ZenV above, the ZIIIRO Gravity watch is made from a combination of silicone and metal. Unlike the Nooka – and most other watches on this list – the ZIIIRO is a bracelet watch; according to the copy on Watchismo, it fits wrists measuring at or above 15cm. It’s a sporty watch, to be sure, but the Gravity collection’s sleek face design allows these watches to blend into professional settings.

Those of you unimpressed by the black and red offering at the right should note that the Gravity line comes in eight initial color combinations. As an added bonus, most ZIIIRO watches feature mix-and-match faces and bands, which ensures each wearer will find the perfect fit.

Styles Available: 8

Retail Cost: $169.99

Nava Ora Unica

Via watchismoIs there a name for surrealist minimalism? We need such a term to describe the Ora Unica’s design.

Once you get over the unconventional squiggle, reading time on the Ora Unica is surprisingly intuitive. The long and short arms of the watch’s uneven spiral correspond to the hands on a traditional analog clock.

Although the Ora Unica is available in brightly-colored versions, this watch is perfect for anyone who wants a unique timepiece but doesn’t want to be loud about it. Like the ZIIIRO Gravity, the Ora Unica isn’t inappropriate for the office.

Styles Available: 6

Retail Cost: $184.00

Mr. Jones Vingt Mille

Via watchismoWatch manufacturer Mr. Jones created the Vingt Mille as an homage to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. This quirky find is sure to delight fans of French literature, Lovecraftian horror, marine biology, and tentacles.

And, as you might have guessed, those appendages are exactly what this watch uses to keep time. With the Vingt Mille, watch helpless mortals doomed to a watery grave count away the hours of your own miserable existence.

Illustrator Fanny Shorter is the woman behind the design of two Mr. Jones watches: this and the Tour du Monde. While the Vingt Mille’s sister watch is not included here, it’s certainly worth a look.

At just over $200, the Vingt Mille is among the most affordable on our list, and clocks in at under half of the Apple Watch’s price-point.

Styles Available: 1

Retail Cost: $217.99

Qlocktwo W

Via watchismoYou’ve probably seen Bieger & Funk’s products somewhere on the Internet. The style here is Mad Men meets 1984, and that somehow gives it a broad appeal.

The Qlocktwo doesn’t aim for precise timekeeping. Its display changes every few minutes, giving users messages like “IT IS TEN TO FOUR” or “IT IS A QUARTER PAST SEVEN.” In short, Qlocktwo tells time the way we tell time: in chunks.

With a price point of roughly $1,000, the Qlocktwo is pretty pricey. Granted, it’s still a fraction of the cost of a Rolex, but most people aren’t in the position to shell out $1,000 for a watch. We aren’t saying it isn’t worth it; we’re saying it’s damn expensive.

Styles Available: 9

Retail Cost: $850.00-1,250.00

Projects Iridium

Via watchismoThe Iridium watch is one of the more traditional timepieces on this list. It has a numbered face, and it isn’t particularly colorful or chaotic. But the way the Iridium keeps time is a thing of minimalistic beauty.

Just beneath the watch-face are two translucent, colored circles: blue for the hours and red for the minutes. Those circles move around accordingly, highlighting the numbers as they pass over them. When they cross paths, the numbers turn purple. It’s a small gimmick, without much pizzazz, but it has a gentle appeal.

Projects calls its products “architecture you can wear,” and we don’t really disagree with that.

Styles Available: 1

Retail Cost: $139.99

Nava Ora Lattea

Via watchismoThe Ora Lattea is, by far, the most minimalistic watch on our list, and there’s no doubt this Nava watch will be too stylistically simple for some. Hands have been reduced to tiny dots, here, and numbers have been erased completely. What’s left is a timepiece with a very face-like face.

For those of you looking for something different, but not quite ready to spring for the Ora Unica’s squiggle or the Vingt Mille’s squid, the Ora Lattea inhabits an appealing middle ground. It’s office-appropriate, unobtrusive, and definitely unlike anything your friends have seen.

Styles Available: 2

Retail Cost: $169.99

ODM JC01-10

Via watchismoAlso known as the JC/DC Pop Hours watch, the ODM JC01-10 may appear a bit too childish for some, but we know a lot of have already fallen in love, at first sight. Inspired by a childhood LEGO pastime and designed by JC de Castelbajac, this watch is perfect for anyone confident enough to rock a whimsical timepiece.

The JC is one of few watches on this list available for under $200, but don’t think you’re sacrificing function or quality here. Wearers can program ODM’s watch with a marquee message, and the display, according to information we found, is touch-sensitive.

Buyer beware: knockoffs of this funky watch sell online for only a few bucks less. Make sure you are buying from an authorized retailer.

Styles Available: 6

Retail Cost: $154.99

Mr. Jones Time Traveller

Via watchismoSure, you can buy a watch with multiple time zone settings, but does it allow you to monitor sixteen cities on one watch face? Enter the Time Traveler from Mr. Jones. Landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque act as the hour hands on this 24-hour face, while the red pigeon flies around as the minutes tick by.

Certainly, changing to a 24-hour watch-face can be a difficult adjustment to make. 24-hour watches are generally used by medical staff and the military, and not often elsewhere. The Time Traveler has an obvious application in the lives of entrepreneurs, but we think anyone can appreciate its cosmopolitan design. It’s sleek, and – like all Mr. Jones watches – it’s definitely a conversation-starter.

Styles Available: 1

Retail Cost: $218.00

Nixon Rotolog

Via watchismoSeveral of the watches on our list hearken back to the halcyon, low-tech days of our lives. The Nixon Rotolog combines the feel of a 1970s wood-paneled office with the ancient technology of your grandmother’s rotary television. Further upping the retro vibe is the Rotolog’s jump-hour technology, which reminds us of vintage flip-clocks.

Just shy of $250 – and half the price of the Apple Watch – gets you a great, vintage-chic watch made from walnut and stainless steel. If the similarity to wood paneling is too strong for you, the Rotolog also comes in cherry-stained walnut/black steel and black enamel/stainless steel varieties.

Styles Available: 3

Retail Cost: $248.95

Projects Past, Present and Future

Via watchismoProjects bills this five-watch series with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “With the past, I have nothing to do nor with the future. I live now.”

While this transcendental message is certainly apparent in the design of the Past, Present and Future, we can’t help but feel this stark-yet-hazy watch is a little dystopian. The red “PRESENT” indicator feels like Pyongyang’s Juche Tower or the Panopticon. The thick fog covering the “PAST” and “FUTURE” reminds us of government obscurity or – at the very least – of Snowpiercer.

The bottom line: there’s something off with the Past, Present and Future, and we love it, whatever it is.

Styles Available: 5

Retail Cost: $119.99-145.00

Devon Tread B

Via watchismoBack in 2013, Forbes described Devon as a company producing “high-end electro-mechanical wristwatches that feel as though they’ve been brought back from the future.” They weren’t wrong.

The Devon Tread B watch has a gloriously dieselpunk feel about it. Don’t make any plans for the day you buy it: you’ll be stuck watching each belt wind away the hours, fascinated.

For readers who care about consumer products’ origins, the Tread B has one selling point that may legitimize its high cost: Devon watches are assembled in the United States from 80% US-manufactured parts.

Styles Available: 4

Retail Cost: $18,500.00

HYGGE 3012 Discus

Via watchismoHYGGE is a Japanese watch manufacturer influenced by, and named after, the Dutch principle of hygge: the feelings of coziness and comfort, brought about by the little things in life. Little things like – we assume – funky watches.Regardless of whether

Regardless of whether hygge extends to unique watches or not, the Discus’s design is somehow simultaneously clean and quirky. It occupies the same unique yet professional space as the Gravity.

Like many of the other watches on this list, the Discus comes in both colorful and monochromatic options. We’ve selected the white/orange color combo to display at left, but check out the others if it doesn’t appeal to you.

Styles Available: 6

Retail Cost: $255.00-272.50


Via watchismoIf this isn’t the watch for Slytherins, we don’t know what is. From that amazing emerald-green display to the infinity symbol snaking through the hours in the center: this watch is pure perfection.

Like many of the watches on this list, the Cognitime requires users to learn a – slightly – new method of telling time. In all honesty, the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as it seems at first glance. Wearers are more likely to be disoriented by the Time Traveler’s 24-hour display than the Cognitime’s cool, serpentine style.

Finally, if there are any Ravenclaws in the audience, you should be aware that the Cognitime is also available in blue.

Styles Available: 2

Retail Cost: $175.00

Projects Foretell

Via watchismoSo far, we’ve covered watches that resemble LEGOs, architecture, and 1970s sci-fi gadgets. Our last watch comes from the good people at Projects, who were clearly – and admittedly – inspired by the Magic 8-Ball. It even makes predictions!

While we don’t recommend making major life decisions on the basis of your watch display, Projects does give wearers the opportunity. According to their copy, the watch displays a new answer every five seconds, no shaking required.

The Foretell is only available in classic 8-Ball blue.

Styles Available: 1

Retail Cost: $159.99

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