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Skagen's New Signatur Hybrid Smartwatch

Insight behind the design of the affordable brand's latest addition

by David Graver
on 26 July 2017

Since its debut almost 30 years ago, Skagen's strength in watch design has been the presentation of minimal pieces that manage to captivate. Affordable pricing and attention to detail in manufacturing also propelled them forward. Recently, however, their hybrid smartwatch category has been a noteworthy development. Holding true to the core values of the brand but adding functionality for the modern watch wearer, these pieces live in an interspace that respects the past but embraces the developments of the future. Skagen promised to launch 19 new hybrid smartwatch styles in 2017 and now the four pieces of the Signatur collection have hit the market. It follows the two-piece Jorn style and the four-piece Hald women's offering. It's also powered by the dedicated Skagen app and some of the features (automatically updating date and time, activity and sleep tracking with goals and discrete phone notifications) are similar. And yet, the value of this line exists in the name. This is a signature collection and it veers from the predecessors in its design language.

Hybrid smartwatches still represent a relatively new category in the horological world. Traditional timepieces have received centuries of tweaks to their design language. New codes have been developed to indicate what's going on with new technology. As Frederik Thrane, Creative Director of Design and Concept at Skagen, explains simplicity must come first. "Our goal is to make more wearable, wearable products—both from a hardware and a software perspective—the Signature Hybrid reflects this. It is a subtle smartwatch, that gives you the information you need, when you need it—not one that floods you with constant notifications and makes you less present." Thus, these notifications and their indicators employ subtlety, clarity and readability.

"Our aspiration is to simplify and clarify wherever possible," he continues. "That has been a grounding principle since we were founded in 1989." Carefully-considered design nuances, a signature more or less of the minimal brand, run from their previous collections through to smartwatches. "For instance," Thrane explains, "mesh bands have been part of Skagen's designs from the inception of the brand. We are launching the Signatur Hybrid on a mesh band to infuse a familiar design element with a new technology in this watch."

The Signatur hybrid extends from their very popular Signatur line. It features "a simple rounded case design, where both graphic and surface design elements are informed by a circle," according to Thrane. Most of Skagen's other hybrid offerings employ much more angular (but equally minimal) elements. Here, down to the rounded pushers and large activity gauge sub-dial, there's a smooth, classic through line. For consumers who appreciate the aesthetics of generations of watches but want or need modernity to be seamlessly incorporated, Skagen's succeeding. And the Signatur line represents this.

Skagen's Signatur hybrid smartwatch line is now available online, with prices on the four styles ranging from $175-195.

Images courtesy of Skagen

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