Fossil usually shows up to CES with a hoard of smartwatches, but last year was a weird one for Wear OS. Google and Samsung announced a new unified version of Wear OS, but the catch was that non-Samsung watches — including Fossil’s — won’t be eligible for an upgrade until mid to late 2022. Given the circumstances, this year, Fossil is keeping it relatively simple with a limited-edition Razer smartwatch and an updated version of the Skagen Falster.
Before you ask, no, the Razer X Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch does not come with RGB lighting. It does, however, come with three Razer-branded watch faces — including a “Chroma” face that you can customize to match Razer’s other Chroma products. It’s technically not RGB, but you can enable “breathe” and “wave” lighting patterns, so it’s the next best thing. The other two are more subtle. One is an analog face with the Razer logo, the other spells out the time in a Razer-inspired font. The 44mm watch comes with a matte black case and two interchangeable straps: black and a spectacularly neon green.
That’s pretty much the extent of what makes this a “gamer” smartwatch unless you count the fact that there’ll only be 1,337 of these available for purchase. While Garmin launched an esports fitness watch in late 2020 that lets you track esports activities and stream your biometrics on Twitch, you shouldn’t expect that here. The Razer X Fossil smartwatch is basically the same as the Gen 6, which means it’s a Wear OS watch with a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chip. It’s got also got a 1.28-inch color touchscreen, built-in GPS, and contactless payments. Like Fossil’s other watches, it’s capable of fast charging, meaning you can get 80 percent battery in 30 minutes.
Fossil demurred as to whether it would re-release the watch if it proved popular, saying that nothing was 100 percent planned. However, it didn’t rule out collaborating with Razer again down the line. As for why Razer wanted to collaborate on a smartwatch, Fossil says it ties back into the gaming company’s recent efforts to promote mental health and wellness in e-sports. (And who can forget that Razer also once tried to launch its own ill-fated line of fitness bands and a not-so-smart smartwatch?)
If the Razer watch is a gamer version of the Gen 6, the new Skagen Falster is the Gen 6 with a Danish minimalism veneer. The main upgrade here is it adds the 4100+ chip and six colorways. That’s not entirely nothing. Fossil says the more powerful 4100+ chip meant it was possible to cram more features while maintaining the Falster’s 42mm case size. In a world where smartwatches keep getting bigger, it’s refreshing to see a watch stay small.
Both watches feature the same health features — a new SpO2 sensor, sleep tracking, and Fossil’s new Wellness app. The 4100+’s greater power efficiency also means you can finally use Fossil smartwatches for sleep tracking, though you still have to charge daily. They both also have 3ATM of water resistance, meaning they’re safe enough for the shower and rainy days but not entirely swim-proof. (You generally want 5ATM of water resistance for the pool.)
I got to spend some time with both the Razer watch and the new Skagen Falster — the 4100-chip does make a significant difference in performance and battery life over the 3100-powered Gen 5 watches. Design-wise, the Falster looks quite nice on the wrist, but it’s also not that different from the Falster 3. My unit came with a metal woven strap, and while it was stylish, it wasn’t ideal for working out or sleeping in. The Razer watch is also a handsome smartwatch, though the 44mm case was a bit big on my wrist. The neon green strap was also too loud for my taste and a little unnecessary, given that most of the pizzazz comes from the Razer watch faces. That said, if you want your smartwatch to match your mechanical keyboard, this should fit the bill.
The main thing to note is that both watches are currently running the outdated Wear OS 2. The upside is that since both are powered by the 4100+ platform, so they’ll be eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3 later this year (aka whenever it is that Google gets around to pushing out the update). It is, however, awkward timing when Samsung’s watches are already out there running the new Wear OS and there are rumors that Google’s working on a Pixel Watch for 2022 — a fact that Fossil has admitted to hindering initial Gen 6 sales.
The 1,337 Razer x Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches will retail for $329 and will be available later this month at Fossil and Razer’s websites. Meanwhile, all versions of the Skagen Falster Gen 6 will retail for $295 this month.
Correction, January 5, 2022, 11:20 AM: Fossil’s original press release stated the Razer x Fossil Gen 6 would be available at GameStop’s website. The company informed us after publication that this is incorrect.