Merchant Innovation

Swatch Smartwatch Takes On Apple Watch This Summer

Swiss watchmaker Swatch is set to announce the launch of its first smartwatch this summer in the U.S., China and Switzerland, the company’s CEO announced yesterday (July 16) – and 20,000 units of the company’s new Internet-enabled wristwatch have already been made.

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek told The Wall Street Journal the company has been hard at work perfecting its smartwatch but declined to comment on the impact the Apple Watch has had on Swatch’s business.

Swatch’s smartwatch will feature remote payment options as well as the company’s well-known plastic watch design. Swatch will also integrate smart functions into its existing product lineup though the addition of NFC wireless technology, WSJ reported.

“We will announce the launch of the Swatch NFC watch later this summer,” Hayek said in an interview with WSJ. “We will launch it in the U.S. China, and Switzerland and announce big partners,” he added, in reference to potential payment service providers.

With a focus on security and a great optimism about the new watch, Hayek confirmed it will most likely go on sale sometime during the second half of the year.

Swatch first hinted at the release of its smartwatch back in May, putting an emphasis on remote payment abilities during a shareholder meeting.

While the company is no stranger to bringing innovate technology to watches, offering touchscreen-enabled watches as early as 1999 with the Tissot model, the leap into the smartwatch market came after Hayek previously showed a somewhat ambivalent attitude toward the smartwatch movement.

The latest reports indicate that Swatch may already have an existing payments deal in China, its largest market, with China UnionPay. Reports also suggest Swatch may actually launch two types of wearables, one specifically with NFC ability that would be compatible with both Android and Windows phones.

While the market awaits the launch of Swatch’s latest offering, Apple Watch seems to be holding its own since it launched in April.

Apple Watch has logged sales of nearly 3 million units as of June, according to data from Slice Intelligence. Slice said its data stems from email receipts for 2 million U.S. shoppers. And of that tally, 20,000 users bought an Apple Watch, and their receipts were in turn analyzed by Slice.

To check out what else is HOT in the world of payments, click here.

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