Swatch (image 001)

Now that Apple CEO Tim Cook has at last confirmed that the Apple Watch goes on sale in April, traditional watch makers and companies like Pebble are starting to show their cards.

Pebble, for instance, recently confirmed plans for new wearable products in 2015. So did Tag Heuer, having confirmed building a smartwatch of its own.

And now Bloomberg is reporting that Swatch will start selling a smartwatch within two to three months. It’ll integrate with Windows and Android, but not with iOS, support mobile payments and communicate via the Internet “without having to be charged.”

Not much is known about the device’s support for mobile payments other than that Switzerland’s two largest retailers, Migros and Coop, will support the service at launch. Swatch is in talks with more retailers on its payment system.

“Swatch has decades of experience developing technology that might go into a smartwatch, such as long-lasting batteries so thin they’re bendable,” notes the article. “The company’s Tissot brand has made watches with touch-screens since 1999 that now offer an altimeter, a compass, and sensors to record a diver’s descent.”

Indeed, over the decades Swatch has amassed enough experience, patents and technologies like sensors, displays and batteries to pose a credible threat to anyone in the smartwatch space. They also have a highly recognizable brand in the watch market.

The company previously promised to update its Swatch Touch line with new features designed for athletes, seen below. “We will integrate fitness features in the Swatch Touch by 2015. The device will remain a watch, but it will include commonly used fitness features to monitor your body,” the company said in July of 2014.

Swatch Touch

But the Swiss maker of colorful plastic timepieces like the ones pictured top of post wasn’t too optimistic about smartwatches, or at least wanted to leave that impression, when the Apple Watch got announced.

Back then, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek told Bloomberg that he personally didn’t believe replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist would be the next revolution.

“A smartwatch needs software and this software must constantly be updated. Every year, you’re forced to buy a new smartphone because the new software requires new hardware. It will be the same problem with smartwatches,” he said in May 2014. “Besides, consumers don’t want to charge their watches, and no charging cable will be available for a while.”

apple watch home screen

Hayek revealed that Swatch has had contact with Apple over many years about materials for products and so-called energy harvesting technology that would generate power from physical movement, but denied collaborating with the Cupertino firm on the Apple Watch.

Apple’s wrist-worn gizmo starts shipping some time in April.

Starting at $349, it will require the free iOS 8.2 firmware update which supports the device through the WatchKit platform and bundle a Watch companion app for installing apps onto the Watch and managing various device settings via an iPhone.

Apple is allegedly planning a dedicated Watch event ahead of the launch to share more information about the device, including the full lineup and prices, pre-ordering schedule and other features that were not fully detailed at last September’s official unveiling.

Citigroup Inc. analysts forecast last year that the market for smart timepieces will reach about $10 billion in 2018.

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Source: Bloomberg

  • Guest

    I’ve never heard of Swatch before.

  • ‘ve never heard of Swatch before. Also the design of their Touch lineup is really ugly.

    • lemonhead

      So you haven’t “heard” of the biggest watch producer worldwide…

  • Franklin Richards

    If Swatch is serious about the smart watch business then it’s going to be an interesting battle. The question is what OS they will run and with which platform they will support. If they do something like what Pebble did but better then they could gain quite the following. I just feel sorry for Pebble, although I hear they have a Pebble 2 coming out soon. So this is it then, the true race for smartwatch supremacy begins.

  • Francisco farias

    “Energy harvesting technology that would generate energy from physical movement”. This got my attention, if Apple did put this in the Apple watch, then I want to get a Apple watch, by the way I like the design. I don’t know why some people don’t like it.

    • SMH

      The design of the Apple Watch? You gotta be kidding me…

      • Fanboy 

        Not saying the Apple Watch is the most gorgeous, ground-breaking design we’ve ever seen because that is not true. But in contrast to the entire current smartwatch market, yes it does actually have a very nice, sleek, high quality design.

      • Agru

        Entire market – {moto 360}

      • Fanboy 

        I don’t understand your comment lol. What about the M360?

      • Mohammed Sahib

        He meant “entire market minus moto three sixty”.

      • BoardDWorld

        The entire marker except the Kairos, including Apples fat nugget.

      • Kurt

        Best looking is Gear S, and is the most capable being able to do more than any other smartwatch. But its far too big for me. Plus, I’d rather use a tablet, than a phone, and I’d rather use a phone than a watch.

      • Francisco farias

        Well that’s what I mean, it’s not the best but it looks good to wear.

      • Fanboy 

        No I agree. I love the design I think its really attractive when you compare it to other smartwatches!

    • @dongiuj

      I think that’s called kinetic energy, similar to what they’ve been using in F1 cars for quite a few years now and used in watches since god knows when.

  • Ronan_the_Accuser

    Apple will sell more iWatches in an hour than swatch will sell in year! That watch probably has more lag than S-gear.

    • Kroffy

      Mouhahaha. All I can see in this comment is primitive fear ! Fear the Swiss, they’re coming right in time!

  • iPhoneWINS

    fail cause they will end up using the android watch os..lol

  • iPhoneWINS

    apple watch V1 is too damn fat looks like the fist iPhone which i also skipped

  • Buzz { Light:Year; }

    Pebble looks better than the swatch

    • makubot

      Pebble looks better then apple watch. Even if it’s plastic! lol Apple watch has got to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. Can’t wait for competition brands that run on os.

      • Buzz { Light:Year; }

        Too far apple watch definitely looking good

  • @dongiuj

    Sorry to all apple fans and please don’t get too offended but that apple smartwatch is an eyesore every time I see it.

    • Kurt

      Gear S is the most beautiful and can do the most. But too big and I don’t care for watches.

    • I know what you’re intending to say, but in American English, a sight for sore eyes actually means “beautiful” 😛 That’s how backwards American English is (http://bit. ly/1AH6Vmh)…