Swatch CEO Doesn’t Think the iWatch Would be Revolutionary

iWatchNick Hayek, CEO of the world’s largest watch company Swatch, doesn’t think the iWatch would be the “next revolution” in the watch industry. Speaking at a press conference in Grenchen, Switzerland, Hayek dismissed Apple’s rumored smartwatch, saying that it won’t take off due to the small display.

Bloomberg has the details:

“Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution. Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.”

In addition to size limiting the amount of information that can be shown, consumers often buy watches as a jewelry item and like to change them, Hayek said.

Although the iWatch is rumored to run iOS, we don’t think its purpose would be to straight out replace the iPhone. Moreover, the display would be just one mode of interaction with the iWatch. Apple has some pretty advanced voice related technologies like VoiceOver and Siri, which could double up as an alternative way of interfacing with the device.

Hayek added that Swatch has had contact with Apple on a number of occasions regarding product materials and alternative energy sources that power devices using physical movement. Swatch also has a license to use Liquidmetal in its products, just like Apple.

swatch smartwatch

The company had nearly a decade ago partnered with Microsoft to develop its own smartwatch that let users view personalised information like stocks, news, weather etc. The smartwatch category didn’t really take off back then, either because Swatch and Microsoft’s implementation was too lousy or that the device was too early for the market.

Hayek’s comments sound very similar to those made by Palm CEO Ed Colligan in 2006, when iPhone rumors were at its peak, and there are a lot of parallels that could be drawn:

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

What impact do you think Apple’s iWatch would have on traditional watchmakers? Would they be able to compete with Apple despite having next to zero technology expertise? Or they have nothing to be worried about as Apple will be entering a niche segment?