The biggest compliment I can give the Skagen Hagen Connected is that I can’t stop looking at it. I’ve been wearing this watch for the past couple of weeks, and still I find myself admiring it from time to time. I can’t say the same for many other smartwatches at the moment, and so Skagen, the Danish company owned by the Fossil Group, has already won half the battle. I’d happily wear this in spite of any smart functionality at all.
But the Hagen Connected is indeed an smart analogue watch – or hybrid smartwatch, if you prefer. Like an increasing number of others it chooses to keep its smarts more clandestine, appealing foremost to watch lovers who want a bit of connected fun on the side.
Its sub-$200 price tag means it’s a significantly cheaper proposition than the likes of the Mondaine Helvetica No.1 Smart and the Withings Activité.
Fossil’s been on a smartwatch rampage this year, unleashing an epidemic of devices onto the market, but the Hagen Connected is one of the best looking of the bunch. How does it fare on everything else? Read on and find out.
Skagen Hagen Connected: Design
Yes, it’s a looker, alright. The Connected is clearly built with watch lovers in mind, and in lacking some of the tech of other smart timepieces makes for less compromise. Many smartwatches are too chunky but not the Hagen Connected, with the 42mm wide, 11mm thick case feeling substantial but not hefty, and lugs that don’t overbear.
However the watch is only available in this one size. While I feel as though many women will still be fine wearing this – my wrists are pretty small, and it fits well – it potentially alienates buyers who prefer an option in the 36mm area.
Down the right side of the case are three buttons that function to display your activity progress and control the remote smart features for your smartphone. There’s no crown, as the time is set on your phone, which means no excuse for inaccuracy. It also means that the watch will update your time zone automatically should it change. It was odd not having to change an analogue watch when the clocks went back this November, but in a good way.
The Hagen comes in four styles, with stainless steel and titanium cases mixed with leather and steel-mesh straps. For this review I was using the stainless steel with a black leather strap, but honestly I like the look of the other three just as much. You’ll also be able to switch out the 2omm bands for any of your choosing, as is the case with most of Fossil’s range.
Skagen Hagen Connected: Activity tracking and other features
In terms of features, the very fact the Hagen Connected is a hybrid means there are obvious compromises: there’s no screen, but there is a sub-dial; notifications are limited, but the battery lasts for ages.
You’ll notice there are four colours on the sub-dial: white, light grey, dark grey, and blue. These can be assigned to contacts on your phone, and when you get a phone call, text or email, the dial will move and point to the corresponding colour, while the watch emits a gentle vibration.
I’ve been using the notifications feature, and I don’t think there has been a single time where seeing who a message is from has been more useful than taking out my phone. I have to keep reminding myself what color is assigned to my four “chosen ones,” but more often than not, I get messages from people who aren’t in my Skagen Circle of Trust, and often through apps that aren’t supported.
However the A, B and C on the sub-dial also throw up your chosen second time zone, the date, and your alarm respectively. These I find more useful, although ideally I’d have the date displayed at all times, if I’m being picky. A lack of screen means there’s only so much information a watch like this can tell you, but for calls, texts and emails I don’t find the sub-dial particularly useful. You may find otherwise.
Thirdly, the sub-dial also displays your activity progress in real time, and this is definitely more handy at a glance. Skagen has embedded Misfit’s tracking tech into the Hagen Connected, although it feels like the sensitivity has been tweaked, with my end-of-day results totalling around 50-100 higher than on the Misfit Ray. It’s not a massive difference, but something I noticed. As a basic fitness tracker overall, it does the job.
It’s also a sleep tracker. Right now I’m King of this realm, as you’ll know if you’ve been reading my diary, and I’ve been putting Hagen’s watch up against a range of other devices in rigorous testing. I’ve found the results comparable to the Ray (apart from a night where the Ray went AWOL) and quite similar to the Beddit 3. Again, different sensitivities likely come into play, but overall the results have been reasonably accurate for a wrist-worn tracker.
The app will give you a total of your sleep time when you load it up, and scrolling down will give you a breakdown of “light” and “restful” sleep, which really just reflects your usual bodily cycles. It’s basic, and it’s not going to tell you what any of this data means. More problematic, I think, is that this is probably not a watch you’d wear to bed. Yes, I said it’s not too chunky, but it’s still got the bulk of a classic watch, and I find that uncomfortable when sleeping.
The bottom button on the right side controls Skagen Link (also lifted from Misfit), which lets you perform functions on your smartphone remotely. There are four of these to choose from: ringing your phone, controlling music (using the button like morse code to play/pause/skip track), taking a photo, or tracking a goal. You can only have one smart feature assigned at a time, and so far I’ve primarily used it for skipping tracks when I’m listening to music.
Skagen says the coin cell battery will run you between four and six months. With only weeks to do this review we obviously couldn’t test that, but any watch that doesn’t need charging every day, or even week, is music to our ears.
Skagen Hagen Connected: App
Setting up the Hagen Connected with the app – it works with iOS and Android – is very straightforward, and I had the watch running in a matter of minutes. The beauty of a phone connection means you don’t need to set the time, as the hands will move into place the moment it’s tethered. Then, from the app you can choose how you want to set up your notifications, Link features, and a second time zone – that’s brought up by hitting the middle button on the side of the watch.
For notifications the app where you can select which colour corresponds to which contact, but as I mentioned before, this will only be for calls, emails and text messages; you can’t connect third-party apps.
The app is also where you can view your activity, sleep and goal data, the last of which is recorded through the Link button. You can only have one goal active at a time, but it can be whatever you want. The app suggests ‘Exercise’ and ‘Drink water’ as default options, but you can punch in anything that can be quantified by assigning individual points throughout the day.
I managed to use it for about a day until I got bored and stopped. Perhaps the more determined among you will use this feature, but I find reminders more useful when it comes to self-improvement. Having to tap a button every time I drink a glass of water feels like a bit Pavlovian, and just another thing I have to remember.