Any smartwatch that launched without the ability to swap your strap would be laughed out of existence. That’s how big a deal the idea of customizing and personalizing your wearable is. Meanwhile, Huawei has taken it a step further with the Huawei Watch GT Cyber — which is on show at MWC 2023.
The Huawei Watch GT Cyber takes a novel, but not wholly original, approach to personal customization. Not content with simply letting users swap their straps, it’s given them the opportunity to swap the case as well.
In other words, the watch’s moment (or watch face if you prefer), pops straight out of the case ready to be transferred into a brand new chassis. The Apple Watch 8, as advanced as it is, doesn't let you do this. Neither does the Apple Watch Ultra.
It’s really easy to do as well, though you do need a little bit of force to push the watch out. Enough that I was a little worried about breaking it.
If that sounds familiar it might be because other devices have attempted this in the past. The Fitbit Blaze (opens in new tab), from the pre-Google buyout days, immediately comes to mind. Of course, it wasn’t just about personal style, since the Blaze couldn’t be recharged until you popped out the face.
Huawei’s watch doesn’t appear to have that same limitation. In fact, the idea here is that users are given the choice to change their style instantly. It's even possible to set the watch to change its watch face, depending on which case it’s in. Plus, like other Huawei smartwatches, you can scan your clothing and let the software generate a watch face that matches the day’s fashion.
Sadly, Huawei confirmed that there are only six case designs available — squashing our hopes to have a different one for every day of the week.
You could pop the Huawei Watch Cyber GT out and carry it around like a chain-less pocket watch if you so wished, but then you’d miss out all the usual smartwatch features you’d enjoy if you wore it on your wrist.
The Huawei Watch Cyber GT comes with all the same features and durability as other watches in the GT range. It’s water resistance is rated to 5 atmospheres; the watch moment itself comes in a stainless steel frame; and there’s both sleep and fitness tracking tech inside.
The obvious downside is that this is one chunky watch, even for someone with hands and wrists as large as mine. Thankfully not uncomfortably so, and it seems Huawei is aware of this. In fact, it seemed rather keen to emphasise the GT Cyber’s similarities to the G-Shock watches that were all the rage back in the ‘90s.
Here’s the downside: You probably won’t be able to buy one of these watches anytime soon. Currently the Huawei Watch GT Cyber is only available in select regions, including China, South East Asia and parts of Central and South America. The watch, a single case and two extra straps apparently costs ¥1,600 in China — which works out at roughly $230.
The fact there are no plans to bring the Huawei Watch Cyber GT to North America and Europe in the immediate future is a shame. But it’s an unfortunate fact of life when it comes to tech from big Chinese brands — Huawei in particular. Here’s hoping that the GT Cyber, or some future iteration, does eventually make it to the western market.
Though maybe in a slightly reduced form factor. There’s a reason G-Shocks died out, and there’s only so much ironic nostalgia can do.