There are people for whom smartwatches don't stand a chance.

Because they look like tiny computers on your wrist.

Because they have to be charged every night.

Or because they are just too different from what you previously wore on your wrist.

Fossil built its new Hybrid HR for these people.

At first glance, the watch looks like a normal watch with a dial that has real hands.

But it actually has a round e-ink display and is connected to the smartphone.

Thus the Fossil Hybrid HR is a real offer of reconciliation.

You cannot make phone calls with the watch, call up an assistant like Alexa, control the networked home or make contactless payments.

All of these can be found in other smartwatches, with which the Fossil Hybrid HR should not be confused.

But it looks better than most other smart watches with its real hands and round design.


It is set up via an app that is available for Android smartphones, but also for Apple's iPhone.

Various watch faces can be selected in the app, which are then displayed behind the pointers.

Actions for the three buttons on the side of the clock can also be assigned.

The Fossil Hybrid HR is smaller than most smartwatches

Source: fossil

If a call, an SMS or a WhatsApp comes in, the E-Ink display shows the name of the caller, if he is in the smartphone address book, or the message.

The watch vibrates.

The smartphone can be muted without missing a call.

An e-ink display has several advantages.

On the one hand, it can be read even in strong sunlight.

The brighter the better.

But when it gets dark, you can see less and less.

A double tap on the watch glass switches on a light on the Fossil for a short time.


On the other hand, an e-ink display consumes little power.

In this respect, the Fossil Hybrid HR is not that different from a Kindle e-reader, which also uses this technology.


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The watch counts the steps and measures the heart rate

Depending on the time, it can of course happen that the clock hands are positioned in such a way that a message displayed behind is covered.

Therefore, the hands move horizontally for a short time when a call or a message comes in.

A quick turn of the wrist also moves the hands to the side.

The manufacturer promises the user of the watch detailed tracking of sports activities.

However, only a few sports are available: running, elliptical, weight training, and exercise.

If you don't find your sport, just choose training.

The watch has built-in motion sensors and a step counter.


When it comes to sports tracking, however, it also accesses the heart rate, which is measured by an optical sensor on the back of the watch.

The tracking results can then be read off afterwards in the smartphone app.

But they are not too precise.

At the same time we wore an Apple Watch while exercising, which measures very precisely.

There was always a clear difference to the results of the Fossil Hybrid HR.

In addition to the date, the start screen shows the wearer's heart rate, the outside temperature and the steps taken

Source: fossil


The Fossil Hybrid HR looks good and has some functions of a smartwatch without being able to install new applications on it.

There is also no app store for it.

It reliably displays notifications for calls and short messages, but in small font.

Messages from apps such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and emails are also displayed.

The user must make the appropriate settings in the app.

Messages from other apps such as Teams do not arrive on the watch.

We really liked the display of current information via widgets on the dial.

And of course the battery life.

With intensive use of the watch, including sports tracking, we got by for three weeks on one charge, which is a very good value.

The Fossil Hybrid HR is available in different versions with leather, silicone or stainless steel bracelets for men and women.

The watch costs between 199 and 219 euros.

This article was first published in December 2019.