Swatch, the maker of high-end watches like Tissot, Longines, Omega and Breguet, is all set to make a grand entry into the wearable segment and guess what, its debutante entry won’t need charging ever! The world’s biggest watch maker, Swatch has been too late for its debut in the category and does not deny the fact that it could cost the company a lot.
According to the CEO Nick Hayek, the delay was due to the indecision of the company’s think tank to whether to enter into the market or not. Now, when the result is affirmative, Swatch smartwatch will be pitted against the likes of Samsung, Apple and ASUS to gain a foothold in the already cluttered wearable segment. Upon asked about the USP of the smartwatch and what would make Swatch smartwatch different from others, Hayek replies, “experience.”
It is to be noted that just a few years ago, Hayek refused the idea of a smartwatch because he thought that the devices needed to be charged way too much and the screens were too small for a comfortable experience. Much like Steve Jobs who was not up for big screen iPhones! But now as it seems, we have both bigger iPhones and a smartwatch from Swatch. It is also quite an interesting fact that many wanted to Apple and Swatch pitch in together for developing iWatch but as we have it, both companies have decided to go separate ways.
This business decision was not impulse but a thoughtful and much-needed one to stay relevant to an entire generation. Due to the increasing inclination towards smartwatches, the traditional watchmakers are trailing out on the over-all market share and Swatch, as per a research, is losing about 15% this year.
And Swatch is not alone in this. Watchmakers like Timex are also revising their strategy and reinventing the art of timekeeping. Timex has just announced its Ironman One GPS smartwatch aimed at fitness enthusiasts. Similarly, Fossil has collaborated with reputed fashion houses to blend in tech and fashion for watches.
Wearables especially smartwatches are not exactly a hit with masses. The early adopters and tech-savvy people are sure gung-ho about it. But for the fence-sitters and other people, wearables are still luxury and accountable for several problems such as battery problems, user-experience, “wear-ability” and size.
If we analyse the wearable segment as of now, Swatch has decades of experience in the watch industry to boast of. It has been creating sleek and eye-candy watches already with compact as well as long-lasting battery, a feature that smartwatches could really use. The separate line of Tissot watches is touch-based and is equipped with sensors, compass and altimeter.
Swatch’s tech expertise is unrivalled. It has been offering touch-based watches under Tissot since 1999. Apart from watches, it manufactures microchips and thin batteries that are low-on energy consumption. The electronic components are made by EM Marin, the division which also supplies tiny components and Renata batteries for Garmin Vivofit. Its existing product line, Swatch Touch which is also undergoing an expansion, will always stay-on due to the low-energy touch screen.
Hayek also told that new Swatch smartwatch will track the steps taken and calories burnt but it will essentially be a watch. According to him, he should be selling the watch to the customers first and then the functions attributed to it emphasizing on the fact that they are watchmakers first and not some technology company. For the Swiss company, what matters is the watch.
Though, competing with tech players, who know the wearable users and their whims like the back of hand, it has long way to go.
Apart from the no-charging trinket, Hayek has also confirmed that the Swatch smartwatch can be used to make mobile payments at Migros and Coop. It will be compatible with Android as well as Windows O.S. Apple is left out or was not spoken for but one thing is for sure that Swatch smartwatch will be out by April, exactly when Apple Watch will be available for users.
The no-charging clause can give Swatch an upper hand in the wearable segment though, it can also imply that it will be relying on Bluetooth LE to connect and sync, which also indicate towards the limited functionality. Since it does not have NFC compatibility to enable mobile payment, it might have an in-built app for mobile payment.
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Price and Availability of Swatch Smartwatch:
As of now, no concrete details are available but since Migros and Coop, where mobile payments with smartwatch will be available, are Swiss stores. So, we expect it to be available within Switzerland for the time being and then go for a global release. Price is yet to be confirmed by the company.