That charging animation is lying to you
Charging the best Android smartwatches and the best fitness trackers on the market today is a mess. Aside from their bundled charger, there is no guarantee that you will get a consistent charging experience. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5 series are equipped with WPC-based wireless charging. That means you can use your Galaxy phone to charge your watch, but not most other Android phones, even if they support Qi reverse wireless charging. If you were hoping the Google Pixel Watch would do better in this department, prepare to be disappointed.
The official spec page of the Pixel Watch makes it clear that it does not support Qi wireless charging. Google has also made this clear to editors in its review guide for the product. This means you have to use the included USB-C charging puck to charge it.
However, our team noticed that the charging animation appears on their Pixel Watches when placed on a Qi-supported surface. However, the battery never receives power and continues to discharge. There are reports from other Pixel Watch users on Reddit and Twitter with a similar experience. Some were able to make the charging animation appear with reverse wireless charging on their Pixel 7, but ten seconds after that, the wearable stopped charging.
Google confirmed this strange behavior of the Pixel Watch, doubling down on the lack of Qi charging in a statement to 9to5Google:
Qi charging is not supported on the Google Pixel Watch. There may be some charging configurations where reverse wireless or Qi charging seems to work. This is very device and charger specific and does not guarantee a consistent, stable or strong charge. Please note that in some cases this may cause the device to discharge while on the charger. Pixel Watch only supports charging with the included inbox (sic) charger.
This means taking the Pixel Watch’s magnetic charger with you on vacation and business trips. It will especially be a bummer if you are already full to the brim.
The Pixel Watch isn’t the only watch with this charging issue. Unlike smartphones, there is no universal charging standard for smartwatches, as companies have come up with their own solutions and they are all ultimately incompatible with each other.