Wearable tech might not be the death-knell for traditional timepieces that some are predicting, with news this week that Swatch is planning to release its own line of smartwatches, debuting next summer.
As with a lot of similar devices, the focus is being placed predominantly on fitness with a pedometer and calorie counter being touted, and other functions available through Bluetooth technology, according to Reuters. The Swiss timekeeping giant is the world’s biggest watchmaker, but has seen their shares drop almost 15 percent this year, which many commentators have blamed on the anticipation of Apple’s expected iWatch.
However, while general consensus is that Apple would use the watch as a platform for its technology, Swatch have made clear its intention to take the opposite route. Chief Executive Nick Hayek explained that ‘our first message to customers is the watch… It is a problem if you only define a product by its technology’.
This traditionalist approach to wearable gadgets could see Swatch gain an edge in the luxury markets by adding the functionality of a smartwatch to the status-symbol appeal of a well-crafted Swiss watch.
It also may have an edge on some of their competitors technologically-speaking, as Swatch subsidiary EM Marin, amongst others, already supplies component parts to other manufacturers of wearable tech.
The firm also has considerable experience in the field of batteries, with EM Marin boss Michel Willemin boasting that the Swatch Touch has ‘a touch screen that is always active because power consumption is so low’, the only one of its kind. Overall, the company is confident, stating that ‘fitness bands are a trend’.