Sony-owned Fashion Entertainment presented a crowd-funded e-paper watch called the FES Watch in 2015. It then succeeded this device the year after with the FES Watch U, which was made available to buy in Japan in 2017.

Two years on from its initial debut and the FES Watch U is finally coming to UK shores. Something we never thought we would be writing.

Sony FES Watch U design

  • Black option with sapphire glass
  • White option with mineral glass
  • E-paper display

The FES Watch U isn't a smartwatch, just like the original FES wasn't. It won't show you who is calling, send you calendar alerts or allow you to read incoming messages. It won't even count your steps. Instead, the FES Watch U connects to your Android or iOS smartphone via an app and allows you customise the strap and watch face, like the original did.

Pocket-lintSony FES Watch U The e-paper watch that costs more than an Apple Watch image 2

The functionality of the FES Watch U therefore remains the same as the original, but the design changed quite significantly - it doesn't look like a toy for starters. There are two models, the premium black steel body option with sapphire glass and black detailing, and the cheaper option featuring white detailing, mineral glass and a silver case.

The second generation FES Watch looks much more like a watch thanks to its raised bezel around the e-paper display and the overall chunkier design. It's also more comfortable to wear, adopting a curvier strap compared to the slightly square and awkward shape of the original FES Watch. In terms of the casing, the FES Watch U is thicker, which is a good thing and the button on the edge of the casing is much more substantial.

Sony FES Watch U features

  • 100 designs
  • IPX5 and IPX7 waterproof
  • 3-weeks battery life

There are 100 deigns to choose from when it comes to the customisation of the watch face and straps, all of which are of course monochrome to take advantage of that e-paper display. The designs range from a plain black strap and simplistic white face, to patterns, animals and even full calendar month. The FES Watch U is able to store 24 designs, any of which can then be selected by pushing the button on the device itself rather than having open the Closet app to change.

Pocket-lintSony Fes Watch U The E-paper Watch That Costs More Than An Apple Watch image 7

The FES Watch U is IPX5 and IPX7 waterproof and it has a battery life of up to three weeks before it will need recharging.

First Impressions

Overall the FES Watch U is an interesting idea and one that is now in a much more exciting and appealing design.

We'd like to have seen it become a little smarter, rather than just offering the time and date, and the monochrome customisation but it's now a pretty cool alternative to a standard watch, even if it is on the pricey side.

The FES Watch U premium black model will cost £699 (ouch), while the cheaper version will cost £529.

Price when reviewed: