Daily Management Review

Swatch to introduce its 'smart' model to the European market


Swatch Company entered into a cooperation agreement with the payment system Visa Europe and Swiss Corner Bank. Within the new project, Swatch Bellamy smart watch will be equipped with the NFC-technology, which can be used for contactless purchases.

"Bank customers can create a register entry by linking the bank account to a new watch, and make purchases not only in Switzerland but also throughout the world - wherever contactless payments through the payment system Visa are possible », - informed representatives of Swatch. Swatch Bellamy is named after an American science fiction writer Edward Bellamy, who predicted the use of credit and debit cards instead of cash in the XIX century. 

Last fall, Swatch has signed a similar agreement with China UnionPay system and the local Bank of Communications. In January, the company launched sales in China. Now, Swatch Bellamy is ready to conquer the European market. Home sales scheduled for the middle of June, the price is 105 Swiss francs (about € 95).

As stated by Swatch, Bellamy model does not need additional charge, as NFC-chip hidden under the clock-face is not energy efficient in the performance of payment transactions. The service life of the smart watch is not different from the life of Swatch’s standard quartz watch.

Meanwhile, accessories with additional charge function for goods and services are gaining popularity. High-tech companies, for example Samsung, are already selling smart watches and bracelets with NFC. According to a survey conducted by Lloyds Bank in the UK at the end of last year, almost half of respondents (48%) believes that the "smart" accessory will replace credit cards in the next decade.  

In March 2015, Swatch Group introduced its answer to the leading technology companies, such as, for example, Apple. Unlike other manufacturers, Swatch, which controls about 18% of the global watch market, refused to create any particular model of "smart" watches. Instead, the company intends to integrate certain functions in the existing model. It’s not surprising: once, for example, Swatch was the only company-producer of watch with built-in pager.

"We are the world leader in regard to integration of "smart" functions in the watch. And we're not going to create a mini-smartphone, which can be worn on the arm. Let others deal with it. Samsung does it, Sony does it, everyone does it, "- said CEO Nick Hayek, speaking on a press conference devoted to publication of the company's operating results in 2014. 

Generally, experts and speculators were optimistic about Swatch’s plans. "I like that Swatch has chosen its own strategy", - said Pascal Koenig of consulting company Smartwatch Group. – There are too much similar products appeared on the market in the last year of... I think that Swatch has room for improvement with regard to software. They need to deal with applications. But they have enough money for acquisitions required for this. " 

According to the annual report of the company, net profit of The Swatch Group Ltd fell to 26.6% last year, to 1.4 billion Swiss francs, while net sales increased by 3% to 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Manufacturer watch brands such as Breguet, Omega, Rado, Longines, Blancpain and Narry Winston, said that, despite the adverse external circumstances (primarily in the currency market), the group is strong and looks to the future with optimism.

source: bbc.com