The Asian Age

Swatch prefers go- it- alone way for smart­watch


Biel, Switzer­land: Swatch Group is happy to go it alone with a launch next year of watches with “smart” fea­tures to com­pete with so- called wear­able gad­gets from the big tech com­pa­nies, a mar­ket po­ten­tially worth $ 93 bil­lion. The world’s big­gest watch­maker, which sees the ad­vent of smart­watches as an op­por­tu­nity rather than a threat, will un­veil its new Swatch Touch next sum­mer. Swatch chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick Hayek said th­ese new watches might al­low the wearer to count the num­ber of steps they take and calo­ries they burn. And there will be a few other cool ‘ Swatchy’ things on of­fer via lat­est Blue­tooth tech­nol­ogy, he said in an in­ter­view at the company’s head­quar­ters in Biel. “All the big tech­nol­ogy firms want to work with us and I don’t rule out that we are or could be col­lab­o­rat­ing in some ar­eas. But we can also do many things on our own.” Wear­able gad­gets, such as smart­watches that al­low users to con­nect to their phone to check emails, make calls or mon­i­tor their health, are ex­pected to be the next big thing in the tech world and a po­ten­tial threat to tra­di­tional wrist­watch sales. Ap­ple Inc has just in­vited me­dia to a “spe­cial event” next month, fu­elling spec­u­la­tion it might present a muchan­tic­i­pated “iWatch.” The pos­si­bil­ity of an iWatch launch is partly re­spon­si­ble for Swatch shares los­ing almost 15 per­cent so far this year, lag­ging a 3 per cent rise in the Euro­pean sec­tor. “For Swatch, this could mean a 2 per­cent hit to rev­enue and earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est and tax for each 10 per­cent share that the iWatch was able to gain in its ad­dress­able mar­ket,” Bern­stein an­a­lyst Mario Ortelli said in a study in July. Ortelli has a “mar­ket per­form” rat­ing on Swatch’s shares. Other tech com­pa­nies are work­ing on smart­watches. — Reuters

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