Watch company Fossil Group Inc. struck a deal to acquire wearable tech maker Misfit Inc. for $260 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Misfit, which sits on the fashion end of the fitness-tracking trend, will dole its technology out to new Fossil products that look more like traditional watches, like its Skagen and Fossil brands. The end result should will skew more timepiece than rubber gizmo, and could come as soon as 2016.
“We believe it isn’t about function. It is about function and design and branding,” Greg McKelvey, chief strategy officer and digital officer at Fossil Group, told The Journal. “We see tremendous growth opportunity and that a lot of our jewelry and watches could be connected devices.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Misfit devices. On the contrary, the watch maker pledged to continue producing the wearable gadgets.
Fossilized Fitness Tracking
It’s a marked contrast from companies like Tag Heuer, the high-end luxury watchmaker which announced its Tag Heuer Connected earlier this month. The company didn’t acquire the technology, but made the Android Wear unit in partnership with Google and Intel. That is, of course, a full-fledged smartwatch. It’s not clear exactly what Fossil’s plans are, but its new product may be a simple analog watch with an embedded fitness tracker.
Another major difference: The Fossil version likely won’t cost $1,500 like the Tag Heuer Connected.
According to McKelvey, Misfit’s major appeal for Fossil had to do with battery life. Its Shine, for instance, offers a battery life of up to 6 months—a far cry from the week-long battery of many fitness trackers and the measly 2 days smartwatches offer. The device eschews power-hungry features (like a display), which helps allow it to be powered by a coin cell battery instead of a rechargeable lithium ion.
Kickstarted company Misfit was founded in 2011 and debuted the Shine in 2013. Now worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the business will shed its startup status to join one of the leading watchmakers in the world.
Photo courtesy of Misfit