Complications are any additional features on a watch face that show more than just the current time. They allow a watch to do more than just tell time. Complications show key information from an app in an economical way. Users can tap complications to open the corresponding app and see more detailed information. When using complications:

  • Show data that is relevant to the watch face.

    Design effective complications to match the concept of a watch face. For example, you can include complications that show a step count or heart rate if your watch face has a sporty concept.

  • Keep visual balance between complications.

    If you are providing multiple complications, make sure they are visually balanced on the small circular screen.


There are five types of complications.

  • Text

    Text complications only show information with numbers and letters.

  • Text and icon

    Text and icon complications indicate information with an icon and show the current data value with text.

  • Icon

    Icon complications provide a shortcut link through an icon with no accompanying text.

  • Gauge

    Gauge complications show data values as a percentage using a circular progress bar or an icon that changes according to the status of a given value.

  • Hands

    Hands complications show the relative level of a data value compared to a whole by using hands.


Consider the time display format of a watch face when arranging your complications. In analog watch faces, the hour and minute hands keep moving, allowing complications to be placed anywhere on the screen except for the center. Layouts for digital watch faces vary, depending where on the watch face the time appears.

Another factor to consider is the number of complications you want to include. Design a layout where complications are balanced with all other elements of your watch face.