Now that wearables are on the rise, it’s been mostly smartphone manufacturers that have jumped on the bandwagon to attack the fledgling market. Apple’s rumored to be on the move to announce their own wearable product (oft-rumored the iWatch) on September 9, and now it looks like the Swatch Group is readying itself for their own effort.
According to a report that was published by Reuters on September 2, the Swatch Group doesn’t see the smartwatch market as a threat, but as an opportunity to expand its own profile and make their own dent in the new market. As noted by the original report, this market is believed to have a worth of about $93 billion, so it’s no surprise that so many companies are trying to make it big.
Swatch has actually been in many reports when the Apple iWatch is brought up, from trademark filing disputes, to even reports that Apple was looking to poach some employees from well-respected Swiss watchmakers. While Swatch has never shied away from these reports, even mildly suggesting that collaborations could be possible between Swatch and other companies looking to build smartwatches, they’ve never outright said that something like that is happening. In fact, this same sentiment was echoed in the Reuters report:
“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.“
Indeed, many believe that a collaboration between Apple and Swatch could, conceivably, create one of the most beautiful smart timepieces to date, but while it’s never been ruled out explicitly, it doesn’t look like it’s happening. The original report cites that while Apple (and others) have requested meetings regarding a smartwatch, nothing has come of it, and instead Swatch will be moving forward with their own device in 2015.
That smartwatch is reportedly called the Swatch Touch, but other details on the device are pretty thin at this point. The report says that the device could count a user’s steps, as well as the number of calories they may burn during a day. These are pretty standard features for most smart wearables these days, but it would be interesting to see how a company built around watches implements these ideas.
Swatch immediately has a different tack for building a smartwatch, though:
“Our first message for customers is the watch. If they like it, they might also be interested in the extra functions,” Hayek said. “It is a problem if you only define a product by its technology. Technology alone doesn’t sell, not in watches.“
One of the grumbling points for smartwatches up to this point, for many, has been that the smaller smart devices are essentially just a smartphone display on their wrist, lacking the detail or aesthetically pleasing designs of a traditional watch. This is one of the driving reasons many have wanted Apple to pair up with a group like Swatch, so that their own wearable does not suffer these “smartphone” drawbacks.
The report goes on to point out that Swatch is no stranger to technology, or working with other companies. As pointed out, the Swatch Group handles plenty of different areas, including displays, microchips and more that they build for other companies.
“We work with many companies, but there’s no reason to shout it from the rooftops,” Hayek said. “EM Marin supplies tiny parts to many, maybe also Apple. We also make batteries for others. But that’s not our core business.“
Do you think the Swatch Touch could be the smartwatch you’ve been waiting for? Or is Apple still the one to keep an eye on?