Best Baselworld 2018 smartwatches: from stylish hybrids to World Cup wristwear

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The biggest show for watches and jewelry is currently taking place in Basel, Switzerland, where we’ve been constantly swapping wristwear to try out all the latest techy gadgets.

Traditionally Baselworld is for more legacy watches and jewelry, but tech brands (and forward-thinking fashion brands) have slowly been seeping in the idea of high-tech smartwatches and hybrids as well.

We’ve put together a list of our favorite watches we’ve seen at the show. It’s a mix of the more traditional looking watches that have some smart features and outright smartwatches you should be keeping an eye on.

Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Hublot's terribly named smartwatch has been the biggest talking point of Baselworld 2018, even though it may not be the best smart product on show.

The Big Bang Referee 2018 World Cup Russia is the first officially announced smartwatch to come running Google's Wear OS right out of the box, but it's more exciting than that, as a variant of this watch will be gracing the wrists of referees at this year's biggest football tournament.

During the games, referees will be wearing a version of the Hublot watch and will get notifications from goal-line technology that's making its World Cup debut this year.

You'll be able to buy one of these watches for around $5,200 / £4,300 / AU$6800 and you'll get live updates of goals, red cards, penalties and countdowns to games directly to your wrist during the tournament.

Plus it looks to be a solidly-built and interesting Wear OS watch too, but that's a lot of money to drop on a watch that won't be top-end tech in a couple of years or perhaps even months time.

Alpina AlpinerX 

Adventure watches don't have to be ugly. That's the thought process behind the Alpina AlpinerX that's designed like a high-end watch but also comes packed with a variety of outdoor sports features you'll probably love.

There's a rotating bezel around the outside, but it doesn't work like on smartwatches such as the Samsung Gear S3 - instead it's used as part of a compass feature to navigate when you're out adventuring.

It comes packed with a bunch of other features like a UV indicator, temperature gauge, altitude features and phone notifications too. If you plan to climb a mountain or go for a week of skiing you'll want one of these so you can keep an eye on what's important when you're out being an action superstar.

Skagen Holst

Unlike the two watches you've seen above, the Skagen Holst is a simple hybrid that has a limited feature set but is perfect for those that want to trim down the smartwatch features to the bare bones.

Skagen's design language is reflected here with a clean watch face (the only smart element is a little counter in the bottom left to track your daily steps) and it comes in two different versions.

There's a metal band variant with a black watch face, or you can get the leather band and navy watch face version that you can see above. Each is super light and thin, so if you want something you won't notice much on your wrist but still gives you basic step tracking and phone notifications, this may suit you.

Mondaine Helvetica Regular

Another hybrid watch here from Mondaine, which openly admits it's trying to make watches that look like watches, but this new Helvetica Regular comes with basic smart features baked in.

It's available in six different variants - different watch face and strap colors - so we have high hopes you'll be able to find one you like. This watch was initially unveiled at Baselworld 2017, but the company has just released it to buy in the last couple of days.

The smart features are limited to a few notifications as well as step and sleep tracking, but if you want a clean watch to tell the time with the secret knowledge you've got the benefits of smartwatch features, then take a deeper look at the new watch from Mondaine.

And the rest

Baselworld 2018 hasn't been incredible for new smartwatch announcements, with the main focus being on hybrid devices or new traditional watches, but we have seen some interesting other stuff at the show.

Previously announced at the brand's own event, we got the opportunity to try the Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture for the first time. It's a super expensive watch starting at $3,495 (about £2500, AU$4500). It's classically designed, but with embedded smart features like step tracking and notifications baked in.

Established fashion brand Larsson & Jennings shared the first glimpse of its hybrid watch at the show. It's called the Connect and comes with all of the normal features you'd expect as well as a UV monitor, but it won't be on sale until September this year so it'll be a long wait to try that one out properly.

Kronaby - a relatively recent Swedish brand - made its debut at Baselworld 2017, and instead of announcing a whole new watch it decided to bring 11 new designs to its existing hybrid and a taster of its new contactless payment tech.

A new version of the Kronaby watch should be coming later this year that will allow you to make payments at contactless terminals with a simple tap on your watch, like you can do with Samsung Pay or Apple Pay. We'll have more details on that later in the year.

Finally, there's a special edition version of the existing Casio WSD-F20 that comes with an even more durable design... but be warned, the Casio WSD-F20SC is set to be more expensive than the one you can buy right now and there will only be 700 to go around too.