Withings sticks a digital fitness tracker in an analog watch

Let’s be honest: most fitness trackers on the market clearly place function over form. They’re kind of ugly. But Withings is bucking the trend with a new product launched Monday that takes its fitness tracker and sticks it into a conventionally styled analog watch.


No, the Withings Activité is not a “smartwatch,” but rather, a combination of two existing product categories: the quartz analog watch and the step-counter. At first glance, it looks like a fairly standard, analog, white-faced wristwatch. But look closer at the dial, and you’ll notice a smaller, second dial, which counts the wearer’s progress towards a daily step goal. The device can also be programmed as an alarm clock, waking you up in the morning with a slight vibration.

Inside the Activité, you’ll find an accelerometer and a Bluetooth chip. Withing’s most recent entry into the fitness tracker market, the Pulse, includes a blood oxygen monitor and heart rate monitor in addition to the accelerometer that powers sleep monitoring and step counting. Unfortunately, the Activité doesn’t have those sensors, which limits the device to tracking calories burned, steps taken, and hours slept. But like the Pulse, the Activité can beam all that data back to the Withings Health Mate app, which keeps it all in one place.

Compared to the Pulse’s $120 sticker price, the unisex Activité will cost $390 when it launches this fall. That’s not a bad price for a stylish watch, but it raises a problem with marrying cutting-edge technology with classic fashion: in five years, when health tracking sensors become far superior to the guts included in the Activité, will you still wear the watch?