Swatch Prepares to Go Head-to-Head With Apple Watch
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek today revealed that the company has plans to manufacture and ship its own line of smartwatch devices with a launch target within the next three months, easily setting itself up against Apple's recent confirmation of an April launch date for the Apple Watch (via Bloomberg).
Hayek previously displayed skepticism about smartwatches, in particular the idea of one from Apple, saying he didn't believe it would be "the next revolution." Hayek also previously dismissed the concept of a Swatch smartwatch initiative, arguing the company's highest-end devices should already be called smartwatches because "they make you look smart."
Apple and Swatch were rumored at one point to be joining together for a smartwatch, but Swatch quickly denied those claims last summer. Now, building on the decades of experience Swatch has accumulated over the years, Hayek voices determination in the face of going practically head-to-head with Apple on the smart wearables front.
“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.”
Some of the biggest claims Swatch makes about its upcoming smartwatch include the ability to connect to the Internet "without having to be charged," undoubtedly a direct shot at Apple's yet-to-be-confirmed battery life for the Apple Watch. The Swatch device will also include a form of mobile payments baked into the watch, but as of now will function only in a select few Switzerland-based grocery stores, with the company in talks to acquire more mobile payment retailer partners.
Under the looming launch of the Apple Watch, several other high-end watchmakers have shifted gears and decided to delve into the smartwatch market, including TAG Heuer and Montblanc's "e-Strap" accessory band that attaches to traditional watches in lieu of buying an entirely new device.