Android Wear is tracing a fairly typical timeline through technology. That might sound like a strange thing to say, but it's true. We first saw it on some fairly basic devices from some companies very close to Android. We've seen it develop, evolve, appear in a wide range of watches, until there was a bigger change: the Tag Heuer Connected launched.

That might also seem like a strange thing to say, but Tag Heuer is distinctly different to a company like LG or Huawei. This was followed by Fossil, then Casio, and now we can add Nixon to the list.

While Tag Heuer, Casio, Fossil and Nixon use the same technologies we've seen elsewhere, these companies are something else: they are fashionable watch brands. They are also excited about what Android Wear can do for them. We're beyond that stage of Android Wear being an obscure geeky technology and we're starting to see it hit the mainstream. We're now at the stage where companies can design watches knowing that the technology is all there and ready.


But where the LG G Watch (for example) was essentially a vessel for the conveyance of Android Wear, the Nixon Mission - like the Casio WSD-F10 - has been designed with a purpose. It's being pitched as a connected action watch for surf and snow. In doing so, it avoids the vagary of being just another smartwatch, letting Nixon go to town on the design, but also following a line of devices it has worked on before.

This is a big watch, we don't have the exact size of that display, but the first thing that will strike you is how big it is sitting in a 48mm case. We didn't get the chance to put it on, but at least you can use the excuse that if you're using this strapped over a wetsuit, then size is good.

The orange finish is the most distinctive, but Nixon is going to be offering the Mission in a range of options. This isn't one design fits all, it's a choice of 20 bands and a choice of 15 bezels. Remember, this is as much about fashion as it is function. You'll also be able to choose your own case to keep the thing in.

That's because this isn't being pitched as a watch you'll wear day-in-day-out. As we said, this is a watch designed with a purpose. In that vein you'll find Mission has added to Android Wear with real-time conditions for surf (powered by Surfline) and snow (from Snocountry), as well as a Trace app to track your routes and monitor your sessions.


With sporting ambitions the rugged design fits. The display is topped with Gorilla Glass and the case is polycarbonate, with a 316L stainless steel raised bezel. It's proofed to 100m, or 10 atmospheres. There's even a Gore-Tex lining. 

Sitting at the heart is Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 2100. This is the first chipset designed specifically for smartwatches and the Nixon Mission is one of the first commercial devices announced that uses it. How it will perform and how long the battery will last remains to be seen.

There's still plenty we don't know about the Nixon Mission - like the price - but it's expected to be hitting shelves in autumn 2016. Importantly, however, the Nixon Mission goes beyond just being another Android Wear device: it's a smartwatch with a purpose.