Swatch Group is happy to go it alone with a launch next year of watches with "smart" features to compete with so-called wearable gadgets from the big tech companies, a market potentially worth US$93 billion.
Swatch Touch Set To Hit Market in 2015
The watch company is ready to join the league of tech companies with smart watches on their list of inventions.
The world’s biggest watchmaker, which sees the advent of smartwatches as an opportunity rather than a threat, will unveil its new Swatch Touch next summer.
Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek said these new watches might allow the wearer to count the number of steps they take and calories they burn. And there will be a few other cool 'Swatchy' things on offer via latest Bluetooth technology, he said in an interview at the company's headquarters in Biel.
"All the big technology firms want to work with us and I don’t rule out that we are or could be collaborating in some areas. But we can also do many things on our own."
Wearable gadgets, such as smartwatches that allow users to connect to their phone to check emails, make calls or monitor their health, are expected to be the next big thing in the tech world and a potential threat to traditional wristwatch sales.
Apple Inc has just invited media to a "special event" next month, fuelling speculation it might present a much-anticipated "iWatch."
Other tech companies are working on smartwatches. Google's Motorola is set to launch a Moto360 smartwatch next week in the United States.
For many analysts, Swatch and Apple would be the dream team for a smartwatch project, but Swatch has always played down its interest in such a relationship. The argument is that Swatch’s business is selling watches not technology.
His comments highlight the importance of fashion and branding for the development of the smartwatch business.
Swatch has a well-established list of brands, including its colourful Swatch watches, sporty Tissot and Longines, elegant Omega and hand-decorated Breguet timepieces.
There are already smartwatches on the market from companies like Samsung, Sony Corp and LG Electronics, but these have had mixed reviews.
Swatch itself is already in the tech business, making microchips, displays and batteries, mainly for third parties, including mobile phone and smartwatch makers.
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