Mh, difficult to summarize... I don't like fat bulky smart watches that only display the time when I wiggle my wrist or press a button.

On the other hand, features like motion sensors and whatever on your wrist, and phone notifications, can be helpful at times. I was very interested when learning about the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR smart watch (a rebranded Fossil HR Hybrid smartwatch), which still looks ok in size, an uses an always-on epaper display.

Unfortunately, it seems to require a Fossil online account for everything, even to display local notifications from my phone, or to perform sleep recording, which is a no-go for me.

While trying to validate whether this is true, I also learned about the Sigma iD.RUN HR, which claims to also work "offline", but does not really look like a classical watch.

I'm not really looking for recommendations, which by nature are strongly opinion-based, but rather hints which smart watches are there at all which come close to what I have in mind (in descending order of priority/importance):

  1. Does not require an online "Cloud based" account to which it transfers data. (Fetching updates from some server is fine with me.) (Well, at least does not transfer much data during operation, even if it may require the account to set it up.)
  2. Looks somewhat like a classical watch, but not too bulky. Mechanical watch hands would be nice, but not mandatory. (The Skagen HR actually looks quite ok in this regard.)
  3. Connects to an Android phone (e.g. Bluetooth and/or NFC) and can show notifications and reminders from this phone (and maybe provide a way to dismiss those notifications).
  4. Time (and preferrably date) are always readable.
  5. Has motion sensors for gimmicks like step counting or sleep tracking.
  6. Has even more obscure sensors like pulse/heart rate sensor and/or blood oxygen sensor.
  7. Preferrably runs for a week or longer before it requires recharging.

Especially information about whether a cloud / online account is required, and for which features it's needed / which data is exchanged seems to be really hard to come by. For the Skagen HR, even the tech specs on the website didn't mention the mandatory online account.

2 Answers 2


The Pebble 2 HR is the watch you are looking for! I had the Pebble Time for a year and it lasted over a week on a single charge. The Time does not have heart rate, however, so if you want heart rate, get the Pebble 2 HR. It sends notifications from Android and iOS, counts your steps, and much more. The only reason I got rid of it was because I got an Apple Watch.

The only hiccup is the company went out of business two years ago, but a company called Rebble resumed web services and now they are 100% functional again! You just have to add a couple of steps while setting it up.

As for the cloud sync, it does sync your apps and health data to Rebble, but not an excessive amount of data is sent.

Overall the Pebble is an amazing smartwatch.

  • Thanks! I tried to upvote, but have not sufficient reputation here for the vote to be displayed. Looks as if the old pebble devices are more or less the only option... A bit disappointing, as I had an officially supported device that's still produced in mind, and preferrably a "hybrid" watch with actual hands, but apparently I had too high expectations... Mar 20, 2021 at 18:59
  • No problem! It’s the thought that counts :). Even though the pebble isn’t still in production or officially supported it works as if it was. It’s truly an amazing smart watch that I highly recommend.
    – Salocor
    Mar 20, 2021 at 19:08

In the end, I now ended up with a Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR, which is technically identical to the Fossil Hybrid HR watches.

Yes, by default it also forces you to use the Fossil cloud services - but I learned about Gadgetbridge, an Open Source and Free Software Android app which supports a whole bunch of wearables without the need for any cloud service at all.

BTW, Gadgetbridge also supports the Pebble mentioned above, besides some Fitness wrist bands and similar devices.

For many of the supported devices, this is supposed to work mostly flawlessly.

In case of the Skagen Hybrid watch, this solution definitely isn't for everyone, as you need to obtain the watches' crypto key in order to fully enable its features. But if you're technically savy, it works thanks to the amazing effort lots of developers put into the software, and the Skagen then is really close to my dream solution...

It runs about 2 weeks with one charge, has analog hands and an always-on epaper display which can show custom widgets with measurements etc. It also comes with some pre-installed apps for smartphone music player remote control, weather forecast, stopwatch and timer, and, thanks to Gadgetbridge, in addition allows custom apps and widgets to be written and installed.

Just testing it now since a few days, but so far it looks really promising!

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