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Hybrid smartwatches are a relatively new concept that very few brands are dipping their feet into.
In short, a hybrid smartwatch is a type of smartwatch that looks just like an orthodox wristwatch but comes with many useful “smart” functions.
Quite frankly, even an experienced watch aficionado is likely to struggle while trying to spot one – if it’s well-made.
These types of timepieces are extremely popular amongst folks who love the advanced technology offered by modern smartwatches but find their design too much of a departure from a regular wristwatch.
We share the sentiment fully.
Up until recently, there wasn’t a reputable brand that focused strictly on hybrid timepieces.
However, the last few years have seen a hybrid watch manufacturer from Sweden, Kronaby, earn massive praise in the circles.
Born as a start-up less than a decade ago, the brand is now enjoying rapid growth across all the major markets.
In today’s Kronaby watches review, we will take a detailed look at the quality offered by the innovative Swedish watchmaker.
Is the hype warranted?
Kronaby History & Background
As it’s always the case with watchmaker reviews on our website, we start with a quick look at the brand’s history and background.
In the case of Kronaby, it’s really quick.
As already mentioned, the brand is still making its baby steps in the industry, having been founded as a start-up in 2015.
7 years and tens of thousands of sales later, the brand is sticking to its #1 principle on which it was created – to always be on the bleeding edge of technology.
The Swedish firm set out to develop a revolutionary (at that time) smartwatch and would go to any length to achieve its goal. These wristwatches, mostly known as hybrid smartwatches, mix the classical design of a dress watch with hidden functionality that helps us get through your everyday chores – and more.
A step counter and GPS tracker, as well as a Walk Me Home function, GeoTag capabilities, and a messaging notifier, are all included in Kronaby products.
Kronaby watches have everything that is deemed vital in modern living, as well as a slew of other features.
Advanced human technology is expertly mixed with a classic-looking watch, making it suitable for individuals who do not want to forego the aesthetic of a traditional watch in favor of 21st-century technology.
While the early goal was to conquer the Scandinavian market, now the brand has much bigger goals.
In the last few years, it has enjoyed year-on-year growth in competitive industries such as the United States and the UK.
That’s not to say that it’s been all rosy throughout Kronaby’s short existence.
In 2019, the brand actually filed for bankruptcy in Sweden before being rescued by Barcelona-based Festina Group – to which it belongs to this day. The recent rise of Kronaby watches is mostly attributed to that move.
Are Kronaby Watches Any Good?
Normally when reviewing a watch brand, we evaluate its quality based on the value it offers when compared to watchmakers in the same price category.
In the case of Kronaby – it’s not really possible as there are simply not enough companies specializing in hybrid smartwatches – yet.
Instead, we will simply look at the overall quality it delivers in terms of the design, construction, list of smart features and, essentially, the battery lifespan.
So, are Kronaby watches worth it?
Without a doubt, Kronaby is second to none in terms of design.
We put our hands up: if Kronaby’s and other brands’ logos were removed from watch faces, we would struggle to correctly call whether the model is a hybrid or not most of the time. And that’s what Kronaby’s customers seem to appreciate the most.
Despite the hybrid tag, these watches look incredibly stylish. Not only is it hard to differentiate between a Kronaby timepiece and a standard wristwatch but many models look even more elegant!
To briefly describe the style, it would be fair to say that a lion’s share of these watches oscillates in the dressy spectrum. These usually boast very minimalistic dials and classic colors. They come with either leather or stainless steel bands.
However, the number of more laid-back designs and sporty-looking models is constantly on the rise. We will have a closer look at the different styles offered by Kronaby in the Watch Collection section further down the article.
It’s a fact that smartwatches are usually a far cry from regular wristwatches when it comes to durability. They can be pretty fragile.
How about hybrid models?
Withings, Kronaby’s arguably strongest competitor, seems to be offering similar durability standards to most smartwatch manufacturers. Their watches, for the most part, utilize mineral crystal glass and come with very moderate water resistance.
Kronaby products are a pleasant surprise in this aspect.
Starting with easily the most fragile part of any timepiece, the dial window, all Kronaby hybrid watches use the most scratch- and crack-resistant material available – sapphire crystal. This watch glass type is an ever-present element of all the top-end watchmakers in the industry, such as Rolex, Breguet or Omega.
What’s more, most models come with an anti-reflective coating which makes the watch that much easier to read. In fact, at times you might forget the glass is even there!
Kronaby watches use exclusively stainless steel cases.
The material is pretty much an industry-wide choice as it’s extremely robust, long-lasting, and has excellent anti-corrosion properties.
The exact stainless steel type used in Kronaby hybrid watches is 316L which is a more stain-resistant version than the 314L type.
As you will notice while browsing through Kronaby collections, all models come with two additional pushers sitting on each side of the main crown. It’s crucial that all three elements, as well as the caseback, are screwed in because it greatly decreases the chance of any moisture getting inside the timepiece.
Kronaby utilizes two materials when it comes to bracelets – stainless steel and leather.
Stainless steel bands come in two forms – link bracelets (3-5 links) or mesh bracelets. If you’re looking for excellent durability standards, go for this type.
Leather bands are undoubtedly the easiest on the eye but they’re much more fragile.
The good news is: all the bands are interchangeable so you can buy a few and fit according to the occasion.
What we really, really appreciate about Kronaby hybrid smartwatches is them taking seriously the importance of solid protection against water.
On top of the screwed-in casebacks and crowns we mentioned above, all models offer good-to-very-good water resistance.
Outside the dive watch collection which comes with a 20ATM (200m) rating, all Kronaby watches can withstand a pressure of up to 100m. It’s an excellent result for a hybrid watch.
Kronaby watches, as long as they’re purchased from an authorized retailer/seller, are subject to a 2-year warranty.
The duration of the guarantee period is pretty much a standard amongst most brands.
Additionally, you can return the product within 14 days of the purchase for a full, no-questions-asked refund.
At the time of writing, Kronaby is leading the hybrid watch industry race when it comes to the number and quality of smart features on board.
The brand groups the list of features into three categories.
- Always-On-Time – this smart feature automatically switches to local time as soon as you cross a time zone
- Never Charge – the 2-year battery life puts to shame competitors and means you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel
- Filtered Notifications – you can choose which events and messages from which people you want to be notified of
- Reject Call – the watches allow you to decline a phone call with a single tap on your wrist, without having to reach for your smartphone
- Silent Alarm – strong, soundless vibrations are excellent if you’re sharing a bed or a room with someone that wakes up later than you
- Lost Watch – if you leave the watch somewhere, you can always locate it using the app on your smartphone
Watch Face Features
- Additional Time Zone – akin to GMT watches, Kronaby allows you to select an additional time zone that can be displayed on the watch face
- Stopwatch – measures how fast you can run a mile, times specific laps, or just keeps track of how long it takes you to finish a task
- Step Counter – this allows you to set a step target for yourself and track your progress on your wrist
- Date – check current day with a single tap
- Timer – a great aid in time management
- Camera Remote – thanks to the built-in camera remote, you can flip between being the person behind the camera and sharing the moment with your friends in front of it
- Find Phone – the ingenious pusher on your watch displays the location of your phone
- Music Control – easily move between your favorite tracks
- Remember This Spot – the GeoTag button allows you to mark the place you want to get back to before your trek
- Walk Me Home – with a single push of a button, you let your loved one about your way back home. The person can track your every step in the app
Some smartwatches could do with some of these functions, never mind hybrid watches.
Naturally, Kronaby timepieces are fully compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.
Kronaby utilizes its in-house Bluetooth movements which ensure pin-point accuracy.
At present, the brand offers three calibers sprinkled across all collections: BT001, BT002, BT003.
All movements use Bluetooth Low Energy technology, guaranteeing efficient work and excellent battery performance.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of the battery…
Depending on how you exploit the watch, you can expect between 18 and 24 months of battery life – which is excellent for a hybrid smartwatch.
Kronaby Watch Collections
At the time of writing, Kronaby groups its watches into 5 collections.
What’s important to note, all share the same list of functions – they just differ in terms of looks.
Equally important is the fact that all watches are unisex.
Let’s now have a brief look at each collection.
If you’re a fan of minimalistic timepieces, the Nord collection is probably your best bet.
It consists of 6 watches that are extremely aesthetic and elegant.
The size of cases varies from 38mm to 41mm. You can select from three types of straps: leather (4 models), stainless steel bracelet, and mesh band (made from stainless steel).
All watches boast simple, easy-to-read dials. They include fairly large Arab numerals to which point two luminescent hands.
The timepieces are water-resistant up to 100m.
The Carat collection is ideal for those who appreciate timepieces with gold-tone elements.
All Carat models have at least one.
Every timepiece in the line comes with a gold-tone (either yellow or rose gold) stainless steel case. Apart from two models which utilize leather straps, all timepieces boast beautifully-polished stainless steel bands (3-link or mesh bracelets).
Every model shares the same case diameter – 38mm.
They come with simple dials with two-hand complications, providing excellent legibility. Instead of Arab numerals, Carat models utilize stick indices as hour markers.
All models boast double-domed sapphire crystal glass with an anti-reflective coating.
On the waterproofing front, Carat models can withstand a pressure of up to 100m.
The Apex collection combines the elegance of the previous two with a bit more modern, sporty look.
All timepieces in this line come with fairly busily-arranged dials that have either 1 or 2 additional sub-dials with different functions.
For the most part, these watches utilize Arab numerals although there are a few models that opt for alternating Arab numerals and stick indices as their hour markers.
When it comes to the size, you can pick from 41mm or 43mm models. There’s an equally big selection of watches with leather and stainless steel bands.
The watch faces are protected by double-domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass.
All models are water-resistant up to 100m.
Similar to Apex, Sekel watches blend elegance and style characteristic of classic timepieces with a modernized touch provided by an additional sub-dial positioned at 6 o’clock.
The Sekel collection is by far the largest one, with nearly 30 timepieces available to pick from.
The choice of leather strap models is bigger than in the Apex line.
Another standout difference is the use of stick hour markers instead of Arab numerals, which is definitely a more minimalistic approach.
These watches are mostly medium-sized (41mm or 43mm) but some models are relatively small (38mm).
All models come with luminescent hands and hour markers. They are also water-resistant up to 100m.
The Diver collection is for those who, you guessed it, love immersing in deep waters.
Like most watch brands offering dive watches, the design of Kronaby Divers has been clearly influenced by what is still the most iconic dive watch to this date, the Rolex Submariner.
There are two standout features that distinguish the Diver collection from the remaining four lines:
- unidirectional dive bezel – an ever-present element of dive wristwatches that helps you measure elapsed time underwater
- upgraded water resistance – the Diver collection is the only Kronaby line that is water-resistant up to 200m
All models in the collection come in unified size, with the case diameter measuring 45,7mm. Every timepiece boasts a nicely-polished stainless steel case and 3-link bracelet.
To improve legibility underwater, these watches come with fairly large baton indices and two massive hands. All elements glow in the dark.
Last but not least, Kronaby Divers’ faces feature two additional sub-dials. One functions as a day calendar while the other is an accelerometer.
Where Are Kronaby Watches Made?
Kronaby is a Swedish brand currently owned by a Spanish group so it’s easy to be confused on the subject of the watches’ origin.
Although the designing process takes place at Kronaby HQs, the manufacturing and assembling of Kronaby hybrid timepieces are conducted in China.
This is hardly unusual as many watchmakers do exactly the same trick to keep the manufacturing costs as low as possible.
As long as a watch doesn’t have a Chinese movement, it’s not worth worrying about.
How Much Are Kronaby Watches?
There are cheaper hybrid smartwatches out there but it’s widely agreed that Kronaby watches price is warranted.
Looking at the pricing of Kronaby timepieces, we can easily classify the brand as mid-budget.
A lion’s share of models oscillates in the $300-$450 price basket. However, individual models can be snatched for as low as $250. On the other hand, some more pricey timepieces will set you back close to $500.
Where to Buy Kronaby Watches?
Kronaby is a brand that sells exclusively online.
The number of online destinations offering these timepieces is still quite low.
Naturally, the first place you can check for the latest releases is the brand’s official website. By doing so, you get a 100% guarantee of getting a brand new product with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
A slight drawback of shopping at Kronaby.com is that all the watches are listed at the MRSP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) so the chances of grabbing a massive discount are slim.
The number of Kronaby watches for sale is constantly growing on popular marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. Both often offer more competitive prices. Additionally, the latter has some pre-owned models that can be bought even for 1/3 of the original price.
You can also check whether the brand is listed at any of the recommended online watch stores.
Kronaby Watches Review: Conclusion
If you’ve been wondering whether the Kronaby hybrid watch is worth the investment, we hope that today’s article has shed enough light on the Swedish watchmaker to help you make the decision.
To sum up the Kronaby watches review, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the company is one of the leaders in the rapidly developing hybrid smartwatch industry.
While most hybrid manufacturers strive to produce watches that are impossible to distinguish from regular wristwatches, Kronaby offers, in our opinion, the best design experience by some distance.
All timepieces, whatever the price, look just like you’d expect a standard watch to look like albeit they come with a long list of smartwatch-like features.
Looking at other hybrid watchmakers, we can safely say that also in terms of the number and complexity of functions, Kronaby is very hard to beat.
Finally, there’s nothing to point a finger at as far as the construction of these watches is concerned. All utilize sapphire crystal glass and are made from a quality, lasting materials such as stainless steel. For those who prefer a more elegant look, there’s also a large selection of leather strap models.
We also can’t help but mention the impressive protection against water damage which is far from a given when it comes to hybrid watches. At the very least, these watches are water-resistant up to 100m while individual models can withstand pressure even up to 200m.
Are there cheaper hybrid watches out there? Absolutely.
Do any of those offer better value in terms of design, features, and longevity? Highly doubtful.