Swatch CEO Nick Hayek says Apple Watch is a toy and that smartwatches in general are a bad idea. He went on to say that Swatch is working on its own smartwatch design, which presumably isn't a toy like Apple Watch.
Swatch: We're betting on the smart-ish watch
When asked about Apple's presence in the smartwatch market, Mr. Hayek said, "The Apple Watch is an interesting toy, but not a revolution." He added that the need to charge some smartwatches daily, including Apple Watch, is a big problem.
Mr. Hayek followed up by talking about the new smartwatch Swatch is working on called Touch Zero Two. Instead of connecting users to the online world Swatch is working on intelligent watches that offer up data that doesn't require going online—like the Touch Zero One that tracks activity for volleyball players.
The Touch Zero Two will include NFC support for mobile-based payment systems, too. Exactly how that will work is a bit of a mystery since Swatch isn't interested in giving its smartwatches an online connection. Instead of working like Apple Watch or Google Wallet, Swatch will most likely use a mobile payment system like Barclaycard bPay, according to Pocket Lint.
bPay uses a contactless payment chip to store your credit card info and doesn't require a smartphone to work. It was designed to fit in wristbands, which means it should fit nicely in a watch, too.
For Mr. Hayek, Apple Watch and any number of Android-based smartwatches are little more than a passing phase. Instead, he sees the future of wrist top computing devices as smart-ish watches. In essence, what he's describing are many of the fitness trackers already on the market—but with more style.
There are advantages to the smart-ish watch he's envisioning: battery life will be substantially longer, they can offer better waterproof protection, and they'll cost less than products like Apple Watch. They'll also be far behind Apple and other smartwatches already on the market because the Touch Zero Two isn't scheduled to launch until next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The trick for Swatch will be to convince it's feature limited watches are a better choice than Internet connected multi-function devices like Apple Watch. For that, Swatch may have to rely on its name because the watch market is already filled with products that sound a lot like the devices Mr. Hayek wants to make.
Withings, Fitbit, and Basis, for example, already have focused feature watches on the market that consumers think look good enough.
Mr. Hayek's comments follow the news that Swatch trademarked Apple's popular "one more thing" line in Switzerland. Apple won't be able to drop that line at events in Europe, but maybe it'll come in handy at Swatch's next smart-ish watch launch event.