If you want some smart features but don’t want to wear a digital smartwatch, then Swedish Kronaby hybrid watch is for you. The company’s motto is Connected, not distracted.

Kronaby (Australian website here make real watches for men and women – with hands and knobs (sorry crowns) and style. But underneath the skin is an Android or iOS compatibility that allows you to select the notifications you want to receive.

One crown is for music or podcasts. Another will find your phone and vice versa. It can link to Google Fit (Android – iOS not tested), reject calls, set alarms, act as a camera shutter, provide world time, SOS and more.

For a full overview of features read here.

Review: Kronaby Apex 43mm steel A$899 (free shipping)

Before we get into the review, there are several designs – Sekel, Apex, Nord, and Carat. These reflect the watch face style – bars, numerals – and case style.

Within these are

  • Gold, rose gold, black, stainless case
  • Different coloured faces
  • Leather, steel and other bands.

Style wise the review unit Apex is reminiscent of an aviator/military watch with nil, one or two sub-dials and large, legible, glowing numbers. Case sizes are 38, 41 or 43mm.

The review unit is 43mm with H-shaped solid link pieces made of 316L brushed stainless steel featuring a double button butterfly mechanism. It is very comfortable to wear. It weights 175g.

Kronaby

Warranty is two years. Should you need it, it is via DHL express return to Kronaby in Sweden. That is easier than it sounds.

Kronaby Specifications

There are some that are important – it is not just a watch

  • Lithium coin battery CR3032 lasts up to two years. Cost is about $5. Replacement should be done by a watchmaker to ensure water resistance and pressure testing
  • Water resistant to 100 metres
  • Bracelet width 22mm (uses standard spring pins so you can get third-party bands)
  • Glass: double domed sapphire crystal with AR coating – tough
  • Hands and numerals: Super LumiNova strontium aluminate–based, non-radioactive and non-toxic photoluminescent pigments. Offers up to 10 times the luminescence of phosphorous coatings and glows up to 12 hours between exposure to light.
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE: Range is up to 30 metres, but in reality, it’s about half that.

Fitness band – it is not intended to be

I simply make the point that this is more a dress watch than a gym junkie’s plastic fitness band. It tracks step count as a pedometer (indicated usually via a sub-dial) and interfaces to Google Fit. You can select any daily step count goal.

The App – simple, well designed and easy to use

Kronaby

Watch Face allows you to allocate functions to the main crown and the sub-dial.

Filtered notifications allow you to drop people from your contacts into one of three vibration patterns. But it allows you to drop in the notifications you want to receive. For example, I set up wife, boss, BFFO, daughter, son, mum, aunt, calls, calendar, alarm, texts and had one spot left from the 3 vibrations and 4 spots. The watch hands also line up at 1, 2, and 3 in case you wondered how many vibrations there were.

Kronaby

Pushers are for the two outer crowns. Camera shutter and mute/reject call were my choices. But you can also select music play (from your default playlist), and there is an IFTTT (If this then that) option (not tested but could access home automation or open a garage door).

Activity is your step goal.

Settings allow for analogue hand calibration, last know location, forget watch, firmware updates, and stronger vibrations. Forget watch is necessary to pair to another smartphone.

GadgetGuy’s take. Kronably is a classic watch with benefits

Don’t think of this as a smartwatch. If you do, then go and buy the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch (very classy and even has an LTE phone) or Apple watch.

Think of this as a classic, classy watch with benefits. One that can subtly alert you to incoming calls, or remotely active the camera shutter. It does everything it states very well.

There are over 45 sizes/style options, colours, faces and bands. So, there will be one that is right for whatever wrist size you have.

Apex range

Kronably has shown me what a hybrid can be. It is for those who prefer a simple experience that can tell the time and just a little bit more.

Pro

  • All features are useful including step count, camera shutter and music
  • A range of stylish designs
  • High-quality components and construction – it is a keeper
  • Watch function has Swiss made quartz movement and vibration motor
  • 100-metre water resistance
  • 2-year battery
  • Love the remote camera shutter feature
  • Play, skip to the next song with a double tap and a triple tap allows you to go back
  • Great alternative for the fashion conscious
  • Being app based additional functionality can be added

Con

  • While it operates as a watch, you need to have your smartphone handy to action alerts
  • You still will need to buy a fitness tracker for gym and workouts

Ratings

It’s a hybrid watch, and to that end, it’s a five out of five! Its competitors are Fossil, Garmin Vivomove (HR). Skagen, and more.

Price

From $499 to $999 including freight, it is good value for a chronograph with benefits.