Apple has marched loudly into Swiss watchmaker territory by coming up with a smartwatch that might claim some of the watch market. But even though Swiss watchmakers like Swatch haven’t made any loud claims about smartwatches over the past year or so, that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been working on similar devices.
The New Swatch Watch
Watchmakers have been waiting to see how the world responds to the new Apple watch before introducing watches of their own, but companies like Swatch have also been working on smartwatch designs for over a year now. The long-standing Swiss watchmaker has just introduced a new plan to enter the smartwatch scene. The company recently unveiled the ‘Smart Touch Zero One,’ and has also announced plans to place inexpensive programmable chips into watches.
These chips will let anyone around the world use a Swatch watch as a form of payment device with a swipe of the wrist. Swatch representatives have stated that the company has no desire to turn watches into computers. Instead, Swatch just wants to create chips that will allow regular watches to act like payment systems thanks to the integration of some handy chips.
Letting Apple do the Work
It could be assumed that Swatch isn’t taking too kindly to Apple stepping into watch territory, but the opposite is actually true. Swatch is simply allowing Apple to do all the smartwatch work by letting Apple introduce smartwatches. By seeing how people respond to Apple’s newest watch devices, Swatch can take notes and introduce a watch that’s a lot less expensive but also tech-savvy.
It can also be said that Swatch might actually be glad that Apple has taken the first step. For a while now, sales of luxury watches (including the Swatch brand) have started to decline slightly due to younger consumers that are used to relying on phones for nearly everything. Now that Apple has broken the barrier between watches and younger consumers, companies like Swatch can swoop in and offer something just as appealing.
A Cheaper Option
Swatch will be using Near Field Communication Chips in order to offer consumers a simple chip that can be placed in a watch and used to pay for various items. These chips will cost approximately $2 per chip, which is a far cry from Apple’s $349 (base price) watch. While it’s true that the Swatch chips won’t allow you to do things like track your heartbeat and make calls, the chips might single in on the one important feature of a smartwatch - the ability to pay for items with a wrist swipe.
But Swatch isn’t leaving the connected watch arena just yet. The company will soon introduce a sports watch called the ‘Swatch Touch’ watch that will pair with a smartphone through a Bluetooth connection. Rumour also has it that Swatch has paired up with Visa in the U.S. to make paying with the new Swatch chips simpler. If you’re looking for a watch that has some of the Apple watch’s tricks, hang tight and see what Swiss watchmakers like Swatch come out with.