Swatch Outlines Plan for Smartwatches

swatch touch zero

Just a few weeks ago the Swatch Group announced the Touch Zero One, its first Swatch smartwatch. We recently reported on the new smartwatch and the near field communication aspect in a short article (NFC Makes Swatch Watches Smarter). In a recent interview with Swatch CEO Nick Hayek, Bloomberg Business reports that Swatch has its own plans to stay alive in the watch market by offering smartwatches for sport niches with a total of four devices planned.

The Touch Zero One is being released now and is aimed at beach volleyball players, by providing performance tracking and calories used based on sensor data. This is a very narrow market niche indeed. The second watch will appear later this year and will be aimed at skiing, an almost logical move for a Swiss company. Number three will target surfers and the fourth model will appear at the Olympic games in Brazil.

The Touch Zero One will retail for about $134, much less then the Apple Watch sports edition and other smartwatches that it could compete against.

There are significant difference between existing smartwatches including the Apple Watch and the Swatch approach. As the CEO pointed out, Swatch is focusing on market niches and not on strapping a computer to the hand of the user. In other words, Swatch wants to focus on the use case rather than a broad performance to attract consumers.There is also the issue of battery life. While today’s smartwatches mostly rely on rechargeable batteries and offer one to two days of usage, Swatch will use normal watch batteries and the firm expects a battery life of nine months.

When asked about the Apple Watch, Hayek stated that Apple had done a great design job compared to other smartwatches in the market, however when it comes to wristwatches, the design was not an industry milestone. He stressed that he did not see Swatch in direct competition with Apple in this field.

However, in another article by Bloomberg Business, Elmar Mock, co-founder of Swatch was quoted as seeing the Apple Watch as a direct threat to the Swiss watch industry. He continued that he expects Apple to sell between 20 and 30 million units annually in the first few years. This compares to watch exports of 28.6 million units in 2014 by all Swiss watchmakers. This would indeed be a potentially strong influence on the future of the watch industry. – NH