It's not too late Swatch, you can still make a great smartwatch

Late to the party, yes. But I have faith Swatch can pull it off
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So Swatch has finally decided that the time (ahem) is finally right to give this smartwatch business a proper go. The iconic Swiss watchmaker confirmed it's making its own Swiss OS, so look out Apple etc etc.

CEO Nick Hayek has certainly changed his tune after he once called the Apple Watch an "interesting toy". Hayek, along with the rest of the Swiss watchmaking fraternity, are being made to eat their words. While the smartwatch explosion hasn't happened just yet, sales are certainly on the rise whether you're talking the full fat kind or hybrid smartwatches.

Read this: Trying out Tag's first modular Android Wear smartwatch

Some might be thinking it's all too little too late. The first Swatch OS-packing smartwatch is expected to land in 2018. By that time there's likely to be a new Apple Watch, Samsung Gear watch and judging by the rate in which Android Wear watches are flying out the traps, more Google-powered smartwatches to compete with as well.

Swatch is already playing catch up and the question is whether it can make up the lost ground or whether it should even be bothering at all. I'm firmly in the camp that it's the right move to give it a go. It's not too late. The company has already reported that profits and sales were down in 2016 with Swiss watchmakers on the whole enduring one of their worst years last year. But Hayek is confident that things will improve in 2017.

Next week I'm going to be making a return to Baselworld, the most glamorous of all the shows and definitely not your typical tech show. Seriously, you need to get properly dressed up for this one. Away from the ludicrously expensive watches and a crowd that would look better suited at a glitzy dinner ball, one of my fondest Baselworld memories from a few years ago was walking over to the Swatch booth and taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It was a huge collection that spanned decades of loud, colourful designs from Olympic tie-ins to countless limited editions.

It's not too late Swatch, you can still make a great smartwatch

Swatch and Visa launched an NFC payment watch in 2016

It felt like everyone had a Swatch when I was younger or at least, it was just one of those watches you always saw out and about. History and tradition will play its part in Swatch's future smartwatch ambitions, but it won't guarantee success. There's a new generation to chase now. A generation that actually want to be connected all the time and smartwatches are helping to make that possible away from smartphones as they become more standalone.

I have no doubt that Swatch has been paying close attention to the smartwatch scene. It's had ample opportunity to see the features that people actually want from a smartwatch such as from-the-wrist payments. Hopefully it'll avoid making the same mistakes that has caused the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google to quickly adapt and evolve their own smartwatch operating systems.

Swatch only needs to look at the likes of Fossil and its umbrella of designer watch brands for inspiration with its continued push to launch hundreds of different designs and collections. Granted, the full fat kind rely on Google's Android Wear software, but Fossil is getting these out quick and the Swatch Group has plenty of big watch brands, such as Omega and Longines, to smarten up after it kicks things off with Tissot.

It's a shame that Swatch probably won't have anything Swiss OS-related to show off just yet at Baselworld next week, because it definitely has piqued my interest. Hopefully it'll use this time up until the first launch next year to deliver something that helps to solve some of our biggest smartwatch gripes. We're also waiting to see that this watch company is going to treat this interesting toy with a bit more respect and give us all something we'll really want to wear.

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Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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