Swatch is coming up with its own smartwatch that would enable mobile payments within the next two to three months . The new smartwatch would be part of Swatch’s line of “New Gent” watches and would cost around $80 or more. The new smartwatch would be equipped with NFC technology. With the starting price of the Apple Watch being $349, Swatch could indeed provide a cost-effective alternative. Earlier this year, Swatch also launched a new line of NFC watches under the tag “Swatch Touch.”
We had already talked about Swatch partnering with China UnionPay, a Swiss bank and a major credit card processor. Swiss watchmakers 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.
Then, there are the smart bands which are also posing a threat to Swiss watch companies. Disney’s MagicBand, which enables NFC-based payments at its amusement parks, is a classic example here. Another noteworthy example is the Pebble Smartwatch. PayPal, the payments giant, has built a dedicated app for Pebble. The Pebble smartwatch is now witnessing growing usage in the payments domain.
These 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. TAG Heuer, another popular Swiss watchmaker, has partnered with Intel and Google to launch an Android Wear smartwatch later this year.
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 even be used by Swiss watchmakers to make 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.