Fossil's Smartwatches Are So Good, Google Just Paid $40 Million For Their Tech

By Brad Nash
21 January 2019
Watches, Fossil
Image credit: Fossil/GQ

The masters of rugged, affordable style are turning heads in Silicon Valley

They may not be the most glamorous of names, but over the past few years Fossil have very quietly carved out a nice little niche as the brand that consistently delivers ruggedly-inspired, stylish and affordable accessories. This has stretched to their line of Smartwatches, which have turned out to be so well-built that Fossil they've established themselves as one of the leading smartwatch manufacturers in a category that also includes the likes of Apple, Samsung, Huawei and TAG Heuer.

It appears that Google, who provide the Android-based WearOS platform for Fossil's smartwatches, have stood up and taken notice. The search giant and Fossil Group have announced an agreement to acquire some of the technology that Fossil puts in its smartwatches, along with some members of the R&D team that helped develop it.

The deal, which is reportedly worth over $40 million, also includes a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market,” which Fossil apparently picked up when they acquired wearables start-up Misfit for $260 million back in 2015.

“Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalization and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance,” Stacey Burr, the president of product management for Google’s WearOS platform, said in a statement.

“The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer.”

Fossil have long set the standard for hybrid smartwatches, providing a more affordable, accessible (and possibly better) version of the kind of watch that other lifestyle brands like TAG Heuer have helped popularise. These hybrid watches put a heavy emphasis on looks while also incorporating functionalities like GPS, heart-rate tracking, and a battery life of up to a year.

Where this'll actually lead Google in its pursuit of Apple's success in smartwatches remains to be seen. Some have speculated that it may set the foundation of what could become a long-awaited Google Pixel Watch, while others think it'll simply just help them provide a better software for the manufacturers who use WearOS in their watches.

Via GQ Australia