Fossil released its first hybrid smartwatch in late 2019, a halfway point between the company's traditional watches and its Wear OS devices. The watch has continued to receive updates since then, and while Fossil hasn't yet developed a full-blown sequel, the company did announce a new variation under its Skagen brand at CES last month.

The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR isn't too different from the existing Fossil hybrid smartwatches, but it is available in more styles and sizes. The software has also matured more since our initial Fossil Hybrid HR review, so we thought it was worth looking at the new model.

Specs

Sensors Accelerometer, Heart rate sensor
Battery life 2 weeks (official estimate)
Storage 16MB
Case size 38 or 42 mm
Water resistance 3 ATM
Strap size 22 mm
Price $195

The Good

Design The metal frame and analog watch hands are great, and as with most smartwatches, you can swap out the wrist bands for standard replacements.
Battery Two weeks of battery life is significantly longer than you can get from any smartwatch.
Software Skagen's app has extensive customization options.

The Not So Good

Software (again) Notification mirroring isn't as good as you would get from any smartwatch, and controlling everything with only three buttons is finicky at times.
Price You can get plenty of real smartwatches for $200.

Design, hardware, what's in the box

Skagen's Jorn Hybrid HR is available in two sizes, 38 and 42 mm. I received the 42 mm model with the steel casing and mesh band, which looks great, but adjusting the mesh band is a bit difficult if you've never used one before. I eventually replaced it with the leather strap from my Skagen Falster 3 review unit — the watch is compatible with all standard 22 mm bands, so you have plenty of options for customization.

Just like the original Hybrid HR, the face of the watch has physical hands for the hours and minutes (but not seconds), positioned above an e-ink display. When you're interacting with the watch, the hands move to create a flat line in the middle of the display, so text and controls are still easy to read. However, the e-ink display doesn't fill the entire watch face, as there are sizable bezels surrounding it with small notches for hours and seconds.

There are three buttons on the right side of the watch. By default, the top one opens the health overview, the middle button shows your notifications, and the bottom opens music controls. Wherever you are in the interface, holding down the center button will take you back to the watch face.

42 mm Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR (left) next to 45 mm Galaxy Watch3

The underside of the watch contains the heart rate sensor, which is used for fitness data and sleep tracking. There are also two small magnetic pins, which line up with the magnetic USB charger. Wireless charging support would have been great to see, but considering the watch lasts around two weeks on a single charge, you don't have to break out the proprietary adapter very often.

In the box, you get the watch and USB charging cable. There's no wall power adapter included, but any charger with a USB Type-A port will work (or just plug it into your computer every once in a while).

Software and battery

The software here isn't radically different than shipped on Fossil's first hybrid watch, so if you want a detailed rundown, check out the software section on our earlier review. Skagen's watch connects to your phone over Bluetooth, using the Skagen Hybrid app. The application is more or less a reskinned version of the Fossil Hybrid app, but with different branding. It also has a separate account system from Fossil, so you can't directly copy any data or settings from Fossil-branded hybrid watches.

Skagen Hybrid Smartwatches
Skagen Hybrid Smartwatches

Once you create an account and pair your watch, the app is divided into a few different tabs. 'Home' shows you an overview of health activity (which you can optionally sync with Google Fit), 'Challenge' compares your activity level with other people using Skagen hybrid watches, 'Customize' gives you options for changing your watch's design, 'Alerts' is where you set up notification mirroring and messaging/call messages, and 'Profile' contains account settings and other miscellaneous options.

Fossil and Skagen have done an excellent job with the customization options here. You can change the watch face background, what each hardware button does, and the positioning and functionality of each information circle. The app even supports importing your own background images, and plenty of people have shared their favorite designs on the FossilHybrids subreddit. You can also save multiple presets, and switch between them whenever you want. My only complaint is that there's an always-present Skagen logo, no matter what background or design you pick — Fossil's hybrid watches don't have a required watermark.

The Alerts tab is where you can choose which apps can send notifications to your watch. The software support for notification mirroring still isn't as good as on Wear OS or Galaxy smartwatches, as clearing alerts on your phone won't automatically delete them from the watch (and vice-versa). Skagen's app also treats updated notifications as completely new alerts, so pausing/resuming music will usually cause the watch to vibrate, as well as new navigation instructions from Google Maps. The syncing option for Do Not Disturb also didn't seem to work perfectly for me, though that might be fixed later with app updates.

Most people won't be affected by this, but as someone who usually has to switch between different phones for work purposes, I appreciate that you don't have to factory-reset the watch when you change phones (unlike with Wear OS and Galaxy smartwatches). You just download the app on the new phone, log in, and let the app pair with your watch.

Should you buy it?

Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR
8/10

Yes, if you want a hybrid watch. Fossil's hybrid watch turned into a capable product after a few software updates, and this Skagen-branded model has all of those improvements included from day one. You get basic fitness tracking, a customizable watch face, decent notification mirroring, and music controls all in a sleek design. The addition of a smaller size is definitely a plus for people who don't want to wear massive watches, and best of all, you don't have to remember to charge the watch every night.

However, Fossil and Skagen's watches aren't perfect. Notifications are worse than you'd get with any smartwatch, and the lack of a touchscreen makes all interactions a bit finicky. The initial price of $195 is also probably too much for the functionality you get. Several full-blown smartwatches are available for that price, like the Galaxy Watch Active2 or Fossil Gen 5, but this watch is oriented towards people who don't want (or need) a screen on their wrist.

Buy it if:

  • You want something that looks like a traditional watch, but with some smartwatch features.
  • Multi-week battery life is important to you.

Don't buy it if:

  • You want the best-possible notification mirroring and health tracking features.
  • You already have the Fossil-branded Hybrid HR.