March 18, 2015
Swatch, the popular Swiss watchmaker, is coming up with a new line of smart watches that will incorporate NFC to enable mobile payments, as reported by AppleInsider. Swatch has already established partnerships with the bank card association China UnionPay, a Swiss bank, and a major credit card provider, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Swatch also recently announced a new line of watches under the tag Swatch Touch, that will incorporate NFC.
Swiss watch makers are facing heat from technology companies that are poised to change the customers’ mindset of what a watch is all about. Apple Watch was recently launched with huge fanfare and analysts are already predicting massive pre-orders of Apple’s smartwatch. Apple Watch will play a key role in adding customers to Apple Pay’s user base. Then there are the smart bands which are now posing a threat to watch companies. Disney’s Magic Band is a classic example here, which enables NFC based payments at its amusement parks. Another noteworthy example is the Pebble smartwatch. PayPal, the payments giant, has built a dedicated app for Pebble. The Pebble smartwatch is witnessing growing usage in the payments domain.
Such examples clearly highlight that Swiss watchmakers can no longer stick to making traditional timepieces if they wish to maintain a substantial share of the market. Besides Swatch, other Swiss watchmakers are also looking to enter the smartwatch space. A Reuters report says that TAG Heuer might also come up with its own line of smartwatches. With this fresh focus, TAG Heuer has already established some partnerships and is looking at some acquisitions to enter the arena.
Stakeholders in the Swiss watch market are also looking to leverage this recent focus on smartwatches. Winwatch Trade Ltd. has unveiled its patented technology around the development of the NFC enabled ‘watch glass’. Winwatch’s patented NFC sapphire crystal can be used by Swiss watchmakers to make even their their traditional timepieces NFC ready. On its official company page, Winwatch highlights that it is further developing this technology to enable contactless NFC payments as well.