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(Pocket-lint) - New York fashion brand Kate Spade is entering the smartwatch world, with a little help from the Fossil Group. The two companies have teamed up to launch the Kate Spade Hybrid Smartwatch, following in the footsteps of Michael Kors and Skagen, both of which launched smartwatches recently.

Michael Kors went down the Android Wear path with its Access smartwatch, while Kate Spade has opted for the hybrid route, like Skagen did with the Skagen Connected. Here are our first impressions.

Kate Spade hybrid smartwatch: Design

Kate Spade's smartwatch is based on the company's Grand Metro watch with the main differences being a slightly thicker casing and a couple of extra function buttons on the right-hand side of the casing. The extra thickness isn't overly noticeable when on the wrist and the underside is still finished in stainless steel rather than plastic like some smartwatches, helping the watch continue to feel like a premium product as the original Grand Metro.

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The watch face looks just like a traditional Kate Spade watch, which is the beauty of a hybrid smartwatch over Android Wear. You'd never know it was a smartwatch on first glance, which is great for the Kate Spade fans out there who want a little extra functionality from their wrist but don't want to lose their style. The finish is lovely and feminine and considerably smaller and daintier than many smartwatch and hybrid smartwatches currently out there.

Small, unnumbered lines are positioned around the face representing each hour, while 12 o'clock is represented with a Kate Spade logo and six o'clock with two champagne glasses. A cluster of crystals above the glasses are combined with a moon-like symbol that does more than meets the eye - more on that in a second. The hands are plain simple, taking nothing away from the design, while the word "cheers!" is positioned just below the spade symbol at the top of the face in true Kate Spade style.

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There are three designs available, all of which offer the same face design and a traditional buckle fastening. The rose gold casing has a black soft leather strap and a black face, while the gold and silver case options have white faces. The gold model has a pale pink soft leather strap and the silver model has a grey one. Kate Spade is etched into the buckle and the spade symbol is also present on the middle button.

Kate Spade hybrid smartwatch: Features

The Kate Spade smartwatch might look just like the Grand Metro watch but it does a lot more than look pretty and tell you the time. A dedicated app, compatible with Android and iOS devices, will allow you to track activity and sleep, as well as set the watch to vibrate or move the hands to a certain position for particular smartphone notifications.

A press of the top button on the right-hand side of the watch will show your step progress, spinning the hands round briefly to display a percentage of the goal you set within the app. The middle button can be used to quickly display another time zone and the bottom button will enable you to control music on your smartphone, or remotely control the camera.

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Features are more basic than the likes of Android Wear or Apple Watch in that you won't be able to see who is calling, or read a text or a Tweet directly from your wrist, but you'll be able to fine tune notifications on the app to ensure your watch vibrates when you really need to look at your phone. As it's a haptic vibration it's unobtrusive too, meaning the person next to you shouldn't hear it. 

Enter a new time zone and your watch will update automatically so you don't need to mess around trying to pull out the crown to change the time, while the moon-like symbol on the face acts as a countdown to your next celebration, whether it's a birthday or a night out.

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First Impressions

The Kate Spade Hybrid Smartwatch is a beautiful device. It has quite a thick casing and there is currently only one watch face design available, which may not be to everyone's taste, but overall it's small, stylish and smart.

The Hybrid Smartwatch offers that little bit extra functionality over just being a time teller, while staying true to Kate Spade's style and there is a lot to be said for that.

At £199, it isn't too much more than a traditional Kate Spade watch so for those that love Kate Spade and want a smartwatch that doesn't look like a piece of tech on their arm, this device appears to be a real winner. We will bring you our full review soon so keep an eye out in the next couple of months.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 13 December 2016.