I’m a little late to the party but recently I replaced my basic fitness tracker with a smart watch. One of the first things I did after setting it up was to head straight to the app store to download some new watch faces. There is such a wide range available and it didn’t take long to realize that there is a huge market for creatives to make and sell these.
To sell watch faces for Apple Watches you will need to be accepted as a seller on one of the third-party watch face album apps on the App Store. These offer free faces and paid faces as in-app purchases but selling is by invite-only. Other brands such as Garmin, offer their own marketplaces via their apps.
If you find this post interesting then check out my article 35+ Ways To Make Money as A Digital Creative which will run through a number of other ways to use your creative skills as a side-hustle.
Where To Sell Smart Watch Faces
Different watch brands offer free and purchasable faces by different methods but they are typically accessible by customers through an app downloaded from one of the app stores.
Check out the useful links section at the bottom of this post for more info on how to create and sell on each of the different platforms.
|Listing Method||Watch OS Supported|
|Facer||UI Design Tool (Desktop)||Album app||Apple WatchOS,|
|WatchMaker||UI Design Tool (App)||Album app||Apple WatchOS,|
|Galaxy Store||UI Design Tool (Desktop) or SDK||Direct on store||Samsung Tizen|
|Fitbit||SDK||Direct on store||Fitbit|
|Google Play||SDK||Direct on store||Google WearOS,|
|Garmin||SDK||Direct on store||Garmin|
Facer is a community-based platform which offers a three-tiered program for users to share or sell their watch faces.
The basic tier offers basic features to create and share designs for free.
The pro tier requires a subscription ($5.99 per month) and offers tools such as versioning but still not the ability to sell designs.
For designers to sell their product requires an invitation from Facer directly to be a Partner. This will be based on the designer having already offered good quality free designs on the platform and actively participating in the community forums.
See the table below for a summary of the different Facer tiers:
Publish free designs only.
Additional watch face features unlocked.
|Publish paid designs.|
Publish to Google Play and Galaxy App Store.
Exclusive marketing opportunities.
Additional support from Facer and other Creator Partners.
|FREE||$5.99 per month||INVITE ONLY|
Additional entry requirements based on existing Facer listings/participation (high quality, number of recent downloads, active in Facer community, no copyright strikes)
Facer supports watches running three operating systems:
- Apple’s WatchOS
- Google’s WearOS
- Samsung’s Tizen
From WatchOS 7 Apple allowed third parties to offer downloadable faces for their watches through album apps but it has not fully unlocked the ability for third-party developers to directly list them in the App Store.
Apps offering albums of both free and paid faces are downloadable from the App Store, of which Facer is one. Designers / sellers have to register and upload to the publisher’s platforms who will then allow customers to access their designs through the app.
The only platform I could find that allows designers to actually sell their watch faces for Apple Watch is Facer.
There are several apps offering free faces submitted by the community (such as Watchfacely) but Facer seems to be the only one that allows designers to receive payment.
The Facer app is also available from the Play Store and Samsung Galaxy Store.
WatchMaker is the self-confessed world’s largest watch face community. Like Facer, users need to install an app from either the Google Play, Samsung Galaxy or Apple App stores. They can then access both free and paid watch faces.
Publishing for free on WatchMaker is straight forward enough but selling requires an established portfolio and approval.
As with other platforms, such as Facer, there are some minimum entry requirements before WatchMaker will even take a look at your application. These include exclusivity to WatchMaker, making bundles of watch faces, adherence to copyright and conditions and finally, you must have ownership of the assets used.
WatchMaker is unique in offering their UI creation tool as an app, whereas most of their competition require a desktop-based tool be used.
As with the other stores, approval is required to sell watch faces on the Samsung Galaxy Store. They state that they are particularly selective and pick only the best designers. As a result, the application window is only open at certain times of the year. Currently, the registration window is open four times per year, for 2-3 weeks at a time.
Watch faces are developed using Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Studio or their Tizen Studio.
The Galaxy Watch Studio has an interface aimed at designers. It is a fully-featured tool with an interface similar to market leading image-editing software and usage of the tool does not require any coding.
The alternative to the Galaxy Watch Studio is to use Samsung’s Tizen Studio. This is an SDK so a knowledge of coding will be required and it comes with a UI builder that can be used to design watch faces.
Using either of the two development tools will enable you to create watch faces capable of being listed on the Galaxy Store, once you have been approved as a seller.
The Galaxy Store takes care of monetization for you but that comes with them taking a 30% cut for their trouble.
Selling watch faces for Fitbit watches is less straight forward than with some other brands. The reason for this is that Fitbit require you to do the software development using their SDK rather than purely the UI design. These watch faces can then be listed on the Fitbit store.
Fitbit do not offer a payment mechanism, so you will have to take care of this yourself and then mark your design as paid. You will then have to include payment information with the product description.
Google Play Store
As an alternative to using album apps such as Facer or WatchMaker for WearOS watches, it is also possible to sell directly on Google Play. This is done by “wrapping” a watch face inside an app. These must be developed using Google’s Android Studio SDK which means that a knowledge of coding is required.
Google Play will run the monetization aspect of selling your apps and will take 15% commission.
Garmin have their own store which is accessed via their Connect IQ app for iOS or Android.
As with Fitbit, Garmin do not offer a payment mechanism either. The most common method is to include a Paypal link and ask for a donation although it is also possible to include a free version with branding and a paid version with this removed.
Garmin require usage of its Connect IQ SDK for developers to customize watch faces, widgets, data fields, apps and audio content.
If you want to make and sell watch faces then the platforms open to you will depend on your skillset or willingness to learn new ones.
You can either stick to marketplaces that only require using a UI design tool such as Facer and Samsung’s Galaxy Store or use those that require coding skills via the use of an SDK such as Google Play, Fitbit and Garmin.
For selling Apple Watch faces, Facer is the only real option until Apple fully opens up their watches for third-party developers. Who knows when or if this will happen though.
The benefit of Facer is that you can also sell watch faces for other platforms as well, all in one place.
The other major consideration is whether you can be bothered to take care of your own monetization or whether you would prefer to relinquish a commission to the operators of the store.
Now that the big app stores are starting to reduce their commission rates, it makes more sense in my opinion to consider these platforms rather than wasting your time administering your own payment methods. This can be tiresome and a better use of your time would be to actually produce more watch faces.
So if you’ve stuck around to the end of this post, you should now know which platform is right for you based on the skills you have and your appetite to administer your own monetization methods.
If you found this post interesting then check out my article 35+ Ways To Make Money as A Digital Creative which will run through a number of other ways to use your creative skills as a side-hustle.
- Facer Creator Partner info: https://help.facer.io/hc/en-us/articles/360015958074-Become-a-Facer-Creator-Partner
- WatchMaker publisher info: https://watchmaker.haz.wiki/publish
- Samsung Galaxy developers info: https://developer.samsung.com/galaxy-watch-design/studio/overview.html
- Fitbit developers info: https://dev.fitbit.com/
- Google WearOS developers info : https://developer.android.com/wear
- Garmin Connect IQ developers info: https://developer.garmin.com/connect-iq/overview/
Featured image: Rawpixel.com / stock.adobe.com