What would you like to change about Google’s Pixel Watch faces?

Google has done a good job of providing a set of default watch faces on the Pixel Watch. Having lived with the first generation of wearables for quite a while, we have some design ideas and improvements.

Hands not intertwined

There are 10 analog watch faces with four of them doing a rather clever thing with the design of the hands. The Classic, Dial, Ink, and Pilot feature clock hands that have a hollow bean in the center. As such, you can easily view the intricacies in the background. Likewise, the Dial’s minute hand doesn’t extend all the way from center to edge, so there isn’t much of a snag.

These design choices greatly help with clarity and reflect Google’s understanding that its faces don’t have to perfectly reflect mechanical designs. Similar to how most watch faces allow you to disable the seconds hand, a nice tweak will allow you to enable the blank watch design on Analog, Pacific, Pilot Bold, and Shapes.

digital splash

Not surprisingly, Concentric has the most unique digital watch face design out of the nine available today. The Dial I and II layouts help showcase the Pixel Watch’s circular nature, but the Half Dial is what makes Concentric unique.

Most other digital watch faces are pinned because they sometimes feel like numbers, text, and shapes on a black background. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I use Utility daily, but it pales in comparison to the Concentric, where the time is displayed in a unique way that respects analog/circuitry but is something that mostly wouldn’t be possible mechanically. Putting complications to the side is nice and Google should update the Radial so its analog clock supports digital time as well.

One thing Google has deftly avoided is what I call the crowded G-Shock look some digital faces are so quick to adopt. They pack so much information that clarity is greatly affected. It’s good that the Pixel Watch left that option to the world of third-party faces.

Google should take inspiration from its past to make concentric watch faces that are more unique. ustwo’s Portions watch face had to be updated from Android Wear 2.0 because that was a good and unique digital method.

complications

The complexity slots are why the utility is my daily driver with four being the minimum for me. The index leans too much into the “text on background” effect for me. However, the most commonly used multipliers technique is the rectangular hole pattern circuit which is only properly utilized by the media and next event controls.

As Wear OS 3’s third-party support grows, Google should direct developers to better support rectangle intricacies while also adding more faces.


Summary

  • analog
  • Patterns: none or numbers
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complexity: single circular
  • Unique design elements:
    • Hands: A thick, elongated bead for hours and a small, floating bead for minutes. Seconds, if enabled, are a circle.

This watch face is interesting for its floating minute hand that doesn’t obstruct the background/complication.

analog

  • analog
  • Patterns: None, Numbers I (dashes), Numbers II (1-12), Dashes, or Dots I (on 12/3/6/9)
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complications: one circular

The simplest face ever found on the Pixel Watch.

Great moment

  • Digital
  • Complications: none

Two-line clock like Android 12+ lock screen and it’s very thin.

classic

  • analog
  • Styles: Arabic I (dashes), Arabic II (dots), Roman I (dashes), Roman II (dots), dashes, or periods
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complications: four circular

Outline-shaped pills do not hinder complications.

Concentric

  • Digital
  • Planning (multiples):
    • Dial the first: dashes
    • Dial II: Just Numbers
    • Half dial: I-dial with three circular complications

communicate

  • analog
  • Patterns: None, Numbers I (every 5 minutes), Numbers II (00/10/20/30/40/50), Numbers III (1-12)
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complications: four circular
  • Unique design elements:
    • Hands: thick bead for the hour and small float for the minutes. Seconds, if enabled, are a circle.

Outline-shaped pills do not hinder complications.

every day

  • Digital
  • Bold time: on or off
  • layout (multiples)
    • Tip: Two circular complications + line style complications
    • large: double line clock; Less wide than Big Time

Good balance of complications with easy to read time. Make sure to use the Bold option. Big Design is a better choice than Big Time for those who want the simplest face possible.

index

  • Digital
  • Bold time: on or off
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complications: Five stripes pattern

Most of the options are information-intensive with a two-line watch that isn’t packed, but feels very minimally designed.

ink

  • analog
  • Patterns: Cardinal I (only 12/3/6/9), Cardinal II (dots for 12/3/6/9), Cardinal III (dashes 12/3/6/9), Hours One (only 1-12) , second hours (dashes 1-12)
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complications: four circular

Rare Pixel Watch face with a background that isn’t pure black.

Pacific

  • analog
  • Layout: Tags (Chevrons, Circles, and Pills), Date (Marks with the date at 3 o’clock), Numbers I (Makers with 12/6), Numbers II (Chevrons and pills with 1/2/4/5/7/8/ 10/11) info (circles and 12/6 in circular multiples)
  • Seconds: on or off
  • Complications: two circles with information

Diving inspired watch face. As a reminder, the Pixel Watch is rated at 5 ATM.

Pictures

  • Digital
  • Layout: linear (one-line clock) or stacked (two lines)
  • Complexity: single line style

Insert essential supports up to 30 photos.

pilot

  • analog
  • Patterns: dots or dashes
  • Layout: date (3 o’clock), digits (1-12), information (digits with a 4-round multiple), information-second (digits with a 4-round multiple)
  • Complications: two or four circular
  • Seconds: on or off

Inspired by pilot’s watches with an emphasis on clarity.

Pilot Bold

  • analog
  • Patterns: dashes or none
  • Layout: date (3 o’clock), digits (12/3/6/9), info 1 (numbers with a circular complication), info 2 (digits with a complication)
  • Complications: one or two rounds
  • Seconds: on or off

president

  • Digital
  • Complexity: single line style

Font is Google Sans for those who love reading the time. It would be nice to have another complexity slot along the lines of the line.

radial

  • Patterns: None, Numbers (1-12), Dashes I (12), Dashes II (60)
  • Seconds: one or not
  • Complications: three circular

Many similarities with Concentric. Google should add a digital clock option.

Shapes

  • analog
  • Layout: hours or cardinal
  • Complications: one circular

Somewhat annoying because the sides of each shape don’t correspond to the clock. It’s clearly trying to be a “Google” watch face, but the more Google-y it will be a different way of expressing the time.

a path

  • Digital
  • Bold time: on or off
  • Layout: stacked or linear
  • Complexity: single line style

Best use of a Fitbit-esque watch face with health stats.

service

  • Digital
  • Bold time: on or off
  • Layout: Modular I, Modular II, Modular III, or Minimal
  • Multiples: up to four

Best choice for easy preparation of time and big complications. The Modular II and II have a unique rectangle-shaped complication aperture, which thankfully isn’t made good use of by Wear OS. Meanwhile, the Minimalist is for those who want a large single-line watch.

vista

  • Digital
  • Landscape: ocean, prairie, desert

Vaguely reminiscent of the live wallpapers on Pixel phones and ready for seasonal additions.

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