Fitness trackers might be de rigueur for the modern-day man about town, but some of us find them a bit lacking in the style department. That’s why Timex thinks the Metropolitan+ will win us over...

The Timex Metropolitan+ isn’t strictly a smartwatch - not only is there no LCD screen, but you also don’t get support for notifications or alerts. But that’s part of the point - not all of us enjoy going around looking like ex-cons fitted with beeping ’n buzzin’ GPS-tracking bracelets or extras from a Jetsons live action movie.

But what it does is, it counts your steps and distance while looking like a watch and not a prop from a science-fiction movie. So why has Timex gone all ‘retro’? There’s a simple reason - some people, *gasp*, like how traditional watches look. And, let’s face it, it’s bad enough that we have a laptop, tablet and phone to charge every couple of days, without making us plug in what’s always been a ‘wear it and forget about it’ accessory.

Looks smart even if it’s not a smartwatch

The Metropolitan+ is a good-looking watch, especially in the steel finish + leather strap variant. It’s chunky and has that classic-yet-sporty look which watch buyers usually interpret as ‘I’m a successful CEO who goes yachting in Monte Carlo when not firing people in the boardroom’. If you prefer your watch to look slightly more sporty, pick the black case instead (this variant comes with 2 straps - a plain black one and a bright orange one for when you’re in a ‘sporty’ mood). Either way, the Metropolitan+ is so unlike other fitness trackers that no one will think you’re one of the ‘OMG, I haven’t completed my step quota today’ brigade.

And then, with manual Bluetooth syncing to get your data onto the Timex app, along with the absence of a power-hungry LCD, you get an 18-month battery life. That’s right, a fitness tracker that doesn’t need to be plugged in every few days. Whatever will they think of next! The Metropolitan+ is also water-resistant upto 5ATM, which means you can go swimming with it.

Fitness tracking, analog style

You can track your daily activity progress via the app or via the watch dial - which uses a fourth hand to show how many steps/km you’ve done (upto a maximum of 15,000 steps/15km), and also displays your progress percentage using an analog counter. No, there’s no support for other activities or exercises - all it’ll do is count how much you’ve walked.

The Timex Connected app (available on iOS and Android) is a bit of a letdown, all ‘cos of an amateurish design and a layout that makes it difficult to see how you’ve been doing over a period of time. A lightweight bar chart view or a calendar view would go a long way, but as of now, tracking your progress over, say, a week or a month, isn’t intuitive at all.

Timex says it’ll soon be adding sleep tracking functionality to the app, but we kind of feel that going to bed wearing a chunky watch like this is an invitation to bash yourself on the nose if you’re a restless sleeper. The app also fails to get onto the social bandwagon - there are no leaderboards or other gamified features which some users find incredibly useful. It also doesn’t plug into third-party apps like Google Fit. All in all, a very basic app that, as of now, fails to impress.

Initial verdict

If you’re in the market for a watch that looks good enough to be worn to work everyday, offers a great battery life for a fitness tracker and does a perfectly good job counting how much you walk every day, the Timex Metropolitan+ is a perfectly sensible choice. But if you want more from your activity tracker than just step and distance counting and don’t want to be stuck wearing the same watch every single day (yeah, yeah, smirk all you want, but we’re proud of our fashion sense), you might be better off getting a dedicated fitness band.