It’s always a special moment when wandering around the massive, sprawling halls of CES 2019, you come across something you hadn’t heard of, and didn’t expect to see. That’s how we stumbled on the Oskron smartwatch. Produced by the same company responsible for the Lunar solar smartwatch, it has a party trick to end them all — a screen you can’t see until it lights up.
At first glance the Oskron looks like a regular sporty chronograph-style watch. It has a crown flanked by two buttons, comes with a masculine metal bracelet, and is large and weighty on the wrist. Push the crown and the magic happens — a previously invisible screen springs into life on the bottom half of the face. This small display shows scrolling notifications, step count for the day, a timer, and international time zones.
We love the attention to detail here. When the screen activates the watch hands quickly move out of the way, making it easy to read the display. Leave the buttons alone for a moment, and the screen disappears, returning the look to that of a regular mechanical watch. The top button activates a find-my-phone feature, while the bottom button activates the built-in compass. This is an unusual feature addition, but is part of the company’s DNA, as it makes the same magnetic compass mechanisms for other smartwatch firms.
The compass is driven by the same gearbox mechanism that shifts the hands to show the display. They rotate smoothly and quickly, always updating with your direction. Obviously this feature can be used for navigation purposes, but we’re not entirely sure how many people will find it helpful. We were told it works in conjunction with navigation apps on your phone, and the watch will vibrate and point in the direction you need to travel, which sounds helpful. We couldn’t test this at the time.
At its heart the Oskron smartwatch is a hybrid, but as they usually don’t have displays, this sits somewhere alongside the stunning Alpina AlpinerX. The screen is bright and clear, and although it’s small, provided the information is concise and glanceable you’ll be fine. We can’t imagine reading long messages though. The buttons have a soft, quality feel to them, and the body feels heavy and well made.
The case is big at 45mm and the face is covered in mineral glass, while the charging port on the back clips into place rather than using unreliable magnets. It syncs with both Android and iOS phones, and the battery is expected to last at least a week before needing a recharge, which is decent for smartwatches with a screen.
If you like the look of the Oskron smartwatch, how do you go about buying one? That’s the difficult part at the moment. Oskron sells it through the firm’s own website, which isn’t the best we’ve ever seen, plus it’s listed only in euros. It’s also for sale though Amazon Germany, and both places charge 450 euros, which converts over to about $520. There’s no doubt that’s expensive — less than the aforementioned Alpina AlpinerX, but equal to a feature-packed Apple Watch Series 4.
It’s always refreshing to see smartwatches like the Oskron that do something a little different, especially when they edge towards traditional watch styles, rather than overly technical pieces.