Smartwatches usually tend to not have as much room for design creativity as traditional mechanical watches, but a few watchmakers have found a way to combine both. Notable among these is Fossil, which has wholeheartedly embraced the smart way, bringing the distinctive styling of its various brands to smartwatch forms. Among these is Diesel (Fossil manufactures smartwatches with Diesel branding), known for its deliberately aggressive look which finds appeal the world over particularly for its clothing and shoes, but also for its mechanical wristwatches.
The latest product from the stable is the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch, which, like many of Fossil's smartwatch offerings, runs on Google's Wear OS platform. Priced at Rs. 25,995 in India, the Diesel Gen 6 is a proper smartwatch in every way, but one that also has its own distinctly butch style. Is this new smartwatch worth the price? Find out in this review.
The Diesel Griffed Gen 6 has three buttons, apart from touch screen controls
Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch: price and variants
The Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch has been launched in a single 45mm variant in terms of size and specifications, although there are four different colour options available. The one I received for this review is the gunmetal variant with a metal link-based locking strap, but you can also pick a two-tone (with a silicone strap), brown (with a leather strap), or silver (with a metal strap) one. The metal options are expectedly a bit better from a durability perspective. All variants are priced the same (Rs. 25,995).
Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch: design
While many smartwatches use a rectangular screen shape for better emphasis of what they are, and are easier use, the round screen is equally popular particularly among brands which use Wear OS or try to offer a different aesthetic appeal. In the case of the Diesel Griffed Gen 6, it's far from the generally compact, lightweight, and screen-focused smartwatch experience that you get from competing products such as the Apple Watch series.
Instead, the Diesel Gen 6 is big, bulky, and unapologetically aggressive in its appearance — just as you'd expect from a Diesel-branded product. This includes a prominent scrolling dial-button with the Diesel logo, two more with plastic guards surrounding them, and a considerable overall thickness which also adds to the weight of the smartwatch.
Naturally, the look needs to be backed up by a matching watch face to ensure the desired effect, and there are plenty to choose from — but more on that later. The actual hardware itself capably pulls off the Diesel aesthetic, and is admittedly a good look for most people in their 30s and 40s, assuming you're a fan of Diesel's unapologetic styling.
The Diesel Griffed Gen 6 runs on Wear OS, but uses the Diesel On companion app on Android and iOS
Although the overall dial size of the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is 45mm, the screen is considerably smaller at approximately 1.3 inches in diameter. The watch straps are replaceable, but you'll probably want to stick with the matching one you get with the smartwatch; the gunmetal variant's strap looks and feels great. Underneath the watch are the optical sensors for heart rate and other functions, and a zone for the magnetic charger to latch on.
The Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is rated at 3ATM for water resistance, and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chipset. For connectivity, the device supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC, and runs on Wear OS 3.
Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch: software, interface, and app
The Fossil Group (which has developed the Diesel Griffed Gen 6) has stuck with Google's Wear OS for years now, and you get version 3 on this device. Notably, there are some tweaks to the operating system to give it some Diesel customisations, including the use of a specific companion app called DieselOn (instead of the Wear OS app), various custom watch faces designed to go with the aesthetic of the smartwatch, and support for Amazon's Alexa digital assistant.
Wear OS usefully works on both Android and iOS, with the Diesel On companion app similarly present on both platforms. In my case, I had the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch paired with a OnePlus 9 Pro (Review) for this review, with Wear OS linking with my Google account for synchronising with most of my Google apps and services.
Apps such as Google Keep and Google Maps are particularly useful on a smartwatch, as is Google Fit for health tracking based on the hardware capabilities of the smartwatch itself. For most apps on your smartphone, notifications are synced based on your notification settings on your paired smartphone. This means that you won't see notifications on your smartwatch if they've been muted on your smartphone, although the specifics can be tweaked.
There is heart rate and SpO2 tracking on the Diesel Griffed Gen 6, but the accuracy and usefulness of these aren't exceptional
The core functionality and maintaining the connection with the smartphone is handled by the Diesel On app. This includes synchronising notifications, being able to respond from the smartwatch, and placing or receiving calls on the watch. However, certain other features and functionality can be done directly on the smartwatch itself, either through a Bluetooth link to the paired smartphone or through a direct Wi-Fi connection.
A rather significant point in the case of the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch is the implementation of Amazon Alexa as the voice assistant, instead of Wear OS' typical default Google Assistant. Once set up, you can set one of the buttons to invoke Alexa, which links to your Amazon account and works with the entire ecosystem either through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The speaker on the device provides voice responses as well, and the functionality worked as expected most of the time.
In most other ways, this is a Wear OS device similar to much of what you'll see on other devices from the Fossil Group and other smartwatch makers. This includes the classic Google fonts, icons, and general styling of Google's smartwatch platform. That said, the platform does allow for a fair amount of customisation by manufacturers, and the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 expectedly looks and feels a fair bit different to the Wear OS 3.5 powered Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series.
A key element of customisation is in the watch faces, and Diesel has offered a decent set of 14 watch faces that are designed to go well with the look and feel of the smartwatch. You can also customise each watch face individually, changing colours, hand movement animations, and complications as per your liking. Of course, you can access the Google Play Store for Wear OS to download other watch faces or apps, but the preinstalled options are pretty good in my opinion.
The custom Diesel watch faces go well with the aesthetic of the smartwatch
The Diesel On app looks and feels a bit barebones and unpolished, but it gets the job done in terms of maintaining the connection, handling notifications, and providing basic health tracking data such as steps and heart rate. Fortunately, the Griffed Gen 6 is a full-function smartwatch, and when connected with Wi-Fi, is fairly capable on its own even without your smartphone around.
There is a similar Diesel On app on the smartwatch as well, but this doesn't do much apart from offering some strange quotes, weather, events, and basic info. On the whole, the software experience isn't quite as polished as that of the similarly-priced Galaxy Watch 5, but it isn't too shabby either.
Diesel Griffed Gen 6 smartwatch: performance and battery life
Fossil's range of smartwatches aren't positioned as technological marvels or even pitched towards the fitness-focused user as would be the case for a device such as the Fitbit Versa 4. Along these lines, the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is pitched as a branded, fashion-focused smart wrist accessory above all else, but the Rs. 25,995 price tag is largely justified by its actual smartwatch functionality as well.
A smartwatch is, after all, meant to be not only a mirror of your smartphone's screen, but also a reasonably capable device on its own. Wi-Fi connectivity and the reasonably well-equipped Google Play Store for Wear OS ensures that you can do a fair amount on the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 even if it's briefly not connected to your smartphone (such as at home, when your phone is in another room).
The decent processor and OS version means that the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 performs reliably in most cases, but there were occasions where the smartwatch became a bit slow and laggy, when multiple apps were being downloaded or the device had just re-synced and was receiving many notifications at once. It's definitely not as fluid and hassle-free an experience as on the Galaxy Watch 5.
Apart from reliably pushing notifications and also letting you view or respond to most directly from the smartwatch, the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 works well to take calls directly on your wrist. The microphone and speaker work well enough, ensuring that you'll be able to take short calls on your wrist as needed, even in somewhat noisy environments.
Fitness tracking on the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is largely present only to check boxes, and the metal strap doesn't even offer the secure, skin-hugging fit that is usually needed for the optical sensors to work optimally. This isn't the kind of smartwatch you'd want to wear on workouts, and you're unlikely to truly benefit from fitness tracking in the appropriate scenarios for this device, such as at an office, or at the pub after work.
An always-on mode lets you view the time and basic details even on standby, but this affects battery life
When sitting still with my arm at rest, heart rate and SpO2 tracking were reasonably accurate when compared with readings from an Apple Watch Series 7 and a pulse oximeter. When moving, the understandably loose fit of the metal strap meant that readings were hard to get, and were generally off the mark even if something did appear.
Step tracking and distance tracking on workouts were usually a bit off as well, with the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 measuring 1,055 steps for 1,000 steps that I manually counted — an error margin of 5.5 percent. Sleep tracking is accurate enough, but the Griffed Gen 6 is quite heavy, and therefore quite uncomfortable to wear while sleeping. Similarly priced smartwatches from Samsung and Fitbit are much more accurate and comfortable for fitness tracking, so you should consider those if tracking features are important to you.
Battery life on the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is a significant drawback of the smartwatch, and is what largely holds it back from being truly practical as an all-day device. With ordinary use including having an always-on watch face, regular health tracking, and occasionally answering calls on the smartwatch, the device ran for around 12-13 hours on a full charge.
Even with the watch placed on a desk for the entire time, the battery would last for less than 24 hours on a charge. Charging itself is quick, but this does mean that you'll need to have your charger on hand at all times.
The Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is a rather well-equipped smartwatch on paper, and indeed gets most of the bits that make it a smartwatch right. However, the design and aesthetic mean that the device doesn't quite work the way typical smartwatches from brands such as Apple and Samsung do. You'll want to consider this for the way it looks and how it matches with your wardrobe, rather than as a serious smartwatch.
Sure, you can just as easily buy a regular mechanical wrist watch for that, but then it will only tell you the time; the Diesel Griffed Gen 6 is obviously more capable, with the ability to handle calls, notifications, and some fairly useful apps, apart from having a fully functional voice assistant on hand as well. It's the ideal smartwatch to wear in most formal and informal settings because of how on-brand it looks — as long as you don't have big expectations of the health and fitness tracking functionality.
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