InnovationWearable Tech

Swatch Unveils Its Plan To Take On The Apple Watch

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Iconic watchmaker looks to keep personalisation aspect along with mobile payments

The Apple Watch is about to gain significant competition in the smartwatch market following the news that Swatch is planning to launch a wrist-worn device.

However, the world’s largest watchmaker will not be looking to take on the likes of Apple or Android, but instead will focus on using NFC (near-field communication) technology, which can be used to make payments and sync up with a companion smartphone.

The first devices will go on sale in May, costing around 135 Swiss francs.

mark hayek swatch ©getty imagesCreative

“We are not a consumer electronics company,” Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek (pictured left) told reporters at its annual media event in Switzerland.

“We are not going to transform and put the mobile phone on the wrist. Let the others do it. Samsung did it, Sony did it. Everybody does it.”

Instead, Hayek stated that he believed Swatch’s expertise in manufacturing “ultra-low power” watches gave it an advantage over other firms, whose products typically need to be recharged daily.

Mr Hayek indicated that Swatch would leave it up to others to unlock the full potential of its moves.

“Whatever usage you want, you ask some creative people to create some apps and then our chip has different layers that you can program yourself – we give it to you. You buy your Swatch, the one you like, and then you configure it.”

To facilitate easy payments using the device, Hayek revealed that Swatch would be teaming up with China UnionPay, the Chinese credit card association, as well as a Swiss bank and a major credit card company, thought to be Visa.

Swatch is also launching a range of sports-themed “Swatch Touch” smartwatches, which will be able to pair up with smartphones using a Bluetooth connection, and come with a watch that last for ‘months’ without needing to be changed.

apple watchCompetition

First announced last September, more details surrounding the Apple Watch were revealed earlier this week, including the ability to make and receive calls, send notifications, and make payments.

Available in three versions (or ‘collections’) the Apple Watch will go on sale in the UK and eight other countries on April 24, with pre-orders opening on April 10, with prices starting from $349 but rising to over $10,000 for the most premium model.

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