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Fossil Q Tailor

Fitness Trackers

Fossil Q Tailor

The Fossil Q Tailor is simple yet elegant smartwatch that's good at giving you an overall picture of your daily activity, but it's light on features.

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  • Pros

    Stylish design and interchangeable straps. Call, text, and app notifications. Good sleep tracking. Can act as remote to activate ringer, music playback, and camera on phone. Supports multiple time zones. Long battery life.

  • Cons

    Expensive for the feature set. Imprecise step tracking in testing. May be loose on small wrists. Notification style won't likely appeal to everyone.

  • Bottom Line

    The Fossil Q Tailor is simple yet elegant smartwatch that's good at giving you an overall picture of your daily activity, but it's light on features.

By Victoria Song

From the prestige of a Rolex to the colorful kitsch of a Swatch, watches have long been a way to express yourself. Wearing a shows the world you've got technological savvy, but they're often lacking in the style department. The Fossil Q Tailor ($195) is an attractive but pricey hybrid smartwatch built to counter that perception. It's undeniably chic, but it has a limited feature set compared with the Apple Watch Series 2 or a dedicated fitness tracker like the Fitbit Charge 2. If you're willing to pay a premium for design, however, and all you need is some basic tracking data and notifications, the Q Tailor is one of the best-looking options you'll find.

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Analog Aesthetics

No one would know the Q Tailor is a smartwatch from looking at it. There are no touch screens here—just the familiar number hands, along with a small subdial near where the seven and eight o'clock hands would normally be. This style, which Fossil calls "hybrid smartwatch," isn't exactly new. We've seen it recently in the Timex IQ+ Move, the Misfit Phase, and the Withings Steel HR.

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The only visual clue that there's more than meets the eye is the aforementioned subdial. The top half indicates your progress toward reaching a daily step goal, while the lower half marks what mode your watch is in (Date or Time Zone 2), or the type of notification you've received (Alert or Alarm).


There are three buttons on the right side of the watch: one at two o'clock, one at three o'clock, and one at four o'clock. Press the top button and the watch hands will point to the day of the month, which you'll find in minuscule print bordering the watch rim. Unfortunately, the dates are hard to read for anyone with less than 20/20 vision. The middle button toggles between the various modes, while the bottom button controls the watch's remote function (more on that below).

The good news is that without a fancy touch screen, you don't really have to worry about battery life. The Q Tailor is powered by a CR2430 coin cell battery, which means you never have to charge it. Fossil claims the battery lasts up to six months, depending on how often you sync your watch or use the advanced notification and remote features. In one week, I ended up burning through about 18 percent of the battery, which you can check through the Fossil Q app. That seems like a lot, but it was with heavy push notification usage and multiple syncs per day for testing. In reality, you're probably only going to sync once or twice a day at most, so the Q Tailor should be able to last for three to four months before having to replace the battery.

You can get the Q Tailor in three color options: brown, light brown, and navy. The brown model comes with a gold case, while the other two feature a rose gold case. All three are stylish in their own way, but the light brown watch, which we reviewed, definitely has a more feminine appeal thanks to its color scheme and thin strap. The brown looks a bit more masculine, while the navy option is pretty unisex. The case measures 40mm and is 14mm thick, which is roughly on par with the Apple Watch. The leather strap features a buckle enclosure, and can be swapped for any compatible 18mm band. (Fossil has a bunch available on its website for $20-$45.) When you take into account the number of strap options, the Q Tailor is a versatile smartwatch that can be dressed up or down to fit both casual and professional wardrobes.

Fossil Q Tailor

One caveat is that Fossil still doesn't solve the problem that many smartwatches are too big for petite frames. My wrist isn't particularly tiny, but even I could wear the Q Tailor on the last hole and still easily slip my thumb underneath the strap. My roommate has a smaller wrist and the watch looked comically large and shifted around quite a bit whenever she moved her arm. And at 2.08 ounces, it's simply too heavy for some users to wear comfortably.

Notification Station


You might be wondering how the Q Tailor gets around its analog style to deliver smartphone notifications. The answer is: vibrations, the subdial, and the Fossil Q app. Once you've paired the watch with your Android or iOS phone via Bluetooth, you can set call, text, and app notifications via the Q Notifications tab in the app. You do so by assigning a specific number hand on the watch face for up to six contacts and six apps. So say mom is set to one o'clock, whenever she texts or calls, the watch vibrates, the subdial indicates you've received an alert, and the hands move to one o'clock.

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This notification style is easy to understand, but it does take a day or two to remember which app or person corresponds to which number, and even then, it's possible to forget if you don't get the notification frequently enough. There's also a few other quirks. For instance, you won't be notified if someone texts you gifs and pictures. And while testing, the Apple Watch Nike+routinely notified me quicker, regardless if someone sent me a picture, a text, or a Slack message. The duration of the notification also seems variable. Sometimes, if I didn't check my watch right away, it would have already disappeared. Also, if you use the middle button to check your alerts, it will only show you the most recent one. Thankfully, you don't get notifications if you're already on your phone.

In addition to notifications, the app also lets you control the Q Link remote function. Using the bottom watch button, you can either ring your phone, control your music, take a photo, or track your progress toward a preset goal. You can only set your watch to do one of these at a time, however. If you want to switch things up, you have to manually reprogram through the app. The ring function only works while your phone is in Bluetooth range, but it's handy if you're frequently misplacing it (or if you need to stealthily escape a bad date). The photo option is helpful when you're taking a group selfie, but you probably won't use it otherwise. I mostly used the music control function, which was surprisingly convenient when listening to music on a crowded train.

Finally, the app has a section for Goal Tracking. The preset options are frivolous, like "Try A New Recipe," "Wear A Bright Color," "Listen to a New Band," and "Say Hello To A Stranger." You can make your own custom goal—like "Exercise"—as well as set a duration and frequency. Anytime you make progress toward your goal, you can track it by pressing the bottom button. But this feature feels tacked on, and the weakest part of a well-designed app.

Minimalist Tracking

The Q Tailor is similarly minimal in its fitness tracking. Unlike the Withings Steel HR, you can't measure your heart rate, and with only 3 ATM of water resistance, the Q Tailor isn't built to count laps in the pool.


It can, however, track steps and sleep. When it comes to step counting, the Q Tailor is capable of monitoring broad progress, but isn't the most precise device we've tested. Overall, my daily numbers roughly matched what I expected them to be based on my activity level. If I walked an extra two or three miles, that was reflected in a higher step count. Likewise, if I loafed around on the couch, it didn't record me as walking thousands of extra steps I didn't take.

That being said, I wore the Apple Watch Nike+ and the Q Tailor on the same arm for a one-week period and found the daily step counts to be off by anywhere between 100 and 1,200 steps. On a couple of days, I woke up having 250-400 steps already logged, despite never having left my bed. This suggests that while small arm movements, like typing or decluttering your desk, may not be logged as steps, larger gestures (like however I was flailing while sleeping) may be falsely recorded as activity.

This minimal level of tracking is reflected in the app itself. The information is presented in a graphically appealing way, but you can't measure active minutes, time or log workouts, or keep track of personal achievements over a long period of time.

Sleep tracking is much more consistent. Each morning, I found that my recorded and actual sleep time was within ten to fifteen minutes of each other. Another bonus is that reading in bed or lounging on the couch doesn't result in false positives. Again, this isn't super precise, but it also isn't a problem if you're looking for a general picture of your sleep quality. You can't edit your sleep data in the Fossil app, but I didn't find it necessary with the Q Tailor.

Style Over Substance

Sometimes all you really want is a watch that goes with anything in your closet. The Q Tailor does that better than most smartwatches, especially for women. It looks, feels, and is priced like a premium fashion watch, but adds simple notifications and activity tracking. That said, at $195, you're essentially paying for better aesthetics with less functionality than competing smartwatches. If you want better bang for your buck, the Misfit Phase, Timex IQ+ Move, and Withings Steel HR all feature a similar analog style, are less expensive, and offer the same (or better) tracking and notification capabilities. Likewise, a dedicated fitness tracker like the Fitbit Charge 2, the Samsung Gear Fit2, and the Misfit Raywill cost you less while offering more advanced activity tracking.

85 By Victoria Song Analyst, Hardware

Victoria Song is an analyst on the Hardware team at PCMag. Since graduating from Temple University’s Japan Campus in 2010, she's been found reporting and editing in every corner of the newsroom at The ACCJ Journal, The Japan News, and New York bureau of The Yomiuri Shimbun. In her spare time, she bankrupts herself going to theater, buying expansions to board games, and cleaning out the stacks at The Strand. Someday, she hopes Liverpool FC will win the league, but she isn’t holding her breath…. More »

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