Apple Watch may find its tough competition with the Swatch Group AG as the latter plans to release a smartwatch in April. Swatch Group plans to begin rollout around the same month of the Apple smartwatch release as confirmed by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Swatch Group AG Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said the Swatch smartwatch will allow users to make mobile payments and will be working with Windows and Android software – something similar with the Apple Pay of the Apple Watch. Hayek added that the Swatch smartwatch will have the NFC technology and the device need not be charged.
Some two years ago, Hayek did not believe that smartwatches would revolutionize the watch industry, saying watches are too small for the services it promised and that charging will bring too much hassle for its users. He believed then that Swatch group’s luxury watches will make users look smart enough; hence they already make for smartwatches, Bloomberg reported.
But Hayek had sung a different tune this year as he saw the billion-worth market that smartwatches could bring. Citigroup Inc. analysts had predicted for smartwatches to reach $10 billion in 2018.
“Hayek has always said they have relevant technology for smartwatch – sensors, display, battery – and seems to be set to make the most of it. Better to have an option and a hand in this category than not to. Nobody can yet say how relevant smartwatches will be in the end,” Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca told Bloomberg.
Swatch Group AG had just reported a strong December 2014 with gross sales of more than CHF 9 billion, increasing by 4.6 percent from 2013. The company’s Watch & Jewelry segment gross sales increased by 5.6 percent and net sales by 3.9 percent.
The company is also experiencing a strong opening of 2015 amidst unfavorable currency situation, the company said in its announcement. It is continuing to welcome foreign currency investments from companies such as Harry Winston in the USA or Rivoli in the Middle East.
“The number of Swatch Group patent applications reached a new record again in 2014; this will be reflected in the numerous innovative product launches in all segments in 2015,” Swatch Group said in its announcement.