Swatch CEO Nick Hayek says the company plans to launch its own line of smart watches within the next three months, in the same timeframe as the April launch of the Apple Watch.
Swatch smart watch due in months
In the past Hayek was fairly dismissive about smart watches, especially the idea of an Apple one, saying he didn’t think it would be the “next revolution”. He also said that Swatch would not get into the smart watch market, saying that the company’s high end products should already be called smart watches because “they make you look smart”.
At one point there were rumours that Apple and Swatch would join forces for a smart watch, but Swatch denied those claims last year. Now, Hayek says he is determined to go head to head with Apple in the smart watch market.
“Entrepreneurs are practical people, and they care more about being successful than being consistent,” said Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. “Hayek has always said they have relevant technology for a smartwatch — sensors, display, battery — and seems to be set to make the most of it. Better to have an option and a hand in this category than not to. Nobody can yet say how relevant smartwatches will be in the end.”
No need to charge
Swatch has also claimed that the forthcoming watch will be able to connect to the Internet “without having to be charged”, which obviously is a swipe at the claimed daily charging for the Apple Watch. The Swatch watch will also include mobile payments, but will only work in a select number of Swiss-based grocery stores – though the company is in talks to get more retail partners onboard.
The upcoming release of the Apple Watch has prompted other high end watch makers to jump into the smart watch and wearables market, such as TAG Heuer and Montblanc’s “e-Strap” accessory band, which attaches onto a regular watch meaning you don’t need to buy an entirely new devices.
It remains to be seen what the Swatch watch will look like, and what features it will have, but with claims that you don’t need to charge the battery, it seems unlikely to have a hi-res OLED screen like the Apple Watch.