Tag Heuer, Breitling, Swatch & others usher in Swiss smartwatch movement ahead of Apple Watch

The Swiss watch market is bracing for the smartwatch movement, with many fearing another downturn for traditional mechanical timepieces much the same as when low cost Quartz movements were first introduced.

Industry players don’t intend to sit around and see how Apple Watch sells against traditional watches, however, as many of the watch world’s biggest luxury watchmakers— Tag Heuer, Breitling, Swatch, Frederique Constant—are showing off their first smart watches at Baselworld 2015 this week, the premier tradeshow for the jewelry industry where most Swiss watchmakers choose to unveil their latest creations each year.

A few on the list below were announced in the weeks leading up to Baselworld which officially starts today, but this week will be the first time anyone actually gets their hands on these new Swiss smartwatches that hope to compete with the Apple Watch. We’ll be updating this list as more luxury smart watches get unveiled in Basel, Switzerland. Read more

Swatch planning cross-platform smartwatch & mobile payments to compete with Apple Watch, says CEO

Swatch CEO Hayek

Late Swatch co-founder Nicolas Hayek

While Swatch certainly won’t be partnering with Apple on the iPhone maker’s upcoming Watch despite an ill-fated rumor that surfaced last year, the watchmaker does plan to go toe-to-toe with Apple promising its own version of a smartwatch due out soon. Bloomberg reports that Swatch plans to bring its answer to the Apple Watch to market in the next 90 days.

The device will communicate via the Internet “without having to be charged,” Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said in an interview. The Swatch smartwatch will also let consumers make mobile payments and work with Windows and Android software, he said.

It’s unclear if Swatch intends for its own smartwatch to be compatible with iPhones like the Apple Watch or if the company is only targeting competing platforms, but Swatch CEO Nick Hayek’s claim that its Internet-connected watch won’t need to be charged will be interesting if the company does indeed deliver with functionality that competes with an Apple Watch. Read more

Report claims Swatch and Timex partnering up on iWatch, but don’t count on it (Update: Swatch denies)

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 4.20.34 PM

Swatch’s design style clearly reflects Apple’s clean, uncluttered aesthetic

Update: Swatch has denied the claim, in a statement to Reuters.

A new rumor that popped up today from VentureBeat claims that Apple is working with Swatch and Timex to create different styles of its upcoming iWatch. The rumor puts Apple’s wearable plans in-line with Google’s: the Mountain View company makes the Android Wear software that powers hardware from a variety of vendors.

While it’s true that Swatch teamed up with Microsoft to create an ill-fated smart watch in 2004, it doesn’t seem likely that Apple is poised to join forces with any third party to create its own entry to this market. Here’s why…

Read more

Swatch CEO on rumored iWatch sounds a lot like Palm CEO before iPhone destroyed it

Nick Hayek, CEO of Swiss watchmaker Swatch, said today during a press conference for the company’s annual results that he doesn’t see a smart watch product from Apple being the “next revolution.” We can’t help but be reminded of Palm CEO Ed Colligan’s comments before the iPhone hit:

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” Ed Colligan apparently laughed about with John Markoff last Thursday morning. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Hayek’s main reasoning is difficulty delivering compelling content on such a small display, something the company has explored with its Paparazzi line of watches in collaboration with Microsoft:

“Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution,” the chief of the largest Swiss watchmaker said at a press conference on annual results in Grenchen, Switzerland. “Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.”

Hayek also reasoned that consumers often buy watches as a piece of jewelry and like to change them on any given day. The CEO claimed that Swatch has had talks with Apple over the years regarding “materials for products and so-called energy harvesting technology that would generate energy from physical movement.” Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device and more recently said Apple would launch its watch product some time this year.

Read more