Swatch smartwatch range detailed by company's CEO

Apple Watch 'just a toy' according to Swiss watchmaker boss
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Back in July, we were told that Swatch's first smartwatch, reportedly based on the Swatch Touch, is on course for a summer arrival – launching in the US, China and Switzerland.

That was according to CEO Nick Hayek, who was speaking to the WSJ. "We have 20,000 already in stock and we are very optimistic about the watch," he said.

The news now is that a range of smartwatches will be launched - which aren't traditional smartwatches at all - starting with the Swatch Zero Touch Two launching for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

"Our product is called Touch Zero One and that gives enough room for Zero Five, Zero Nine," Hayek told Switzerland's Tages-Anzeiger newspaper. "The Touch Zero One is not the end of the progression."

The Zero Touch One, revealed in February, is a volleyball-based fitness tracker that counts steps, distance and calories during beach matches as well as tracking "power hits" and "power claps".

The outspoken CEO told the Swiss paper: "The clock, as we know it today will continue to exist, and we are able to win additional customers interested in technological watches," and stated, "The Apple Watch is an interesting toy, but not a revolution."

Back in March, the CEO spilled details on Swatch's plans and it looked like there will be two models - a watch with NFC capabilities to handle payments, open hotel doors and compatible locks, and a watch with Bluetooth for displaying alerts and news from a smartphone.

"We are not going to transform and put the mobile phone on the wrist," he said in a press conference. "Let the others do it. Samsung did it, Sony did it. Everybody does it."

The smartwatches will purportedly work with Android and Windows smartphones, handle mobile payments via China UnionPay and Visa, according to Reuters, and "won't need to be charged". Hayek also told Bloomberg that Swatch had been working on innovation in battery tech.

Read more: Apple Watch release date, price, specs and features

Hayek told Reuters that the tech world is clambering to work alongside the famous watch brand. Back in August 2014, Swatch announced that it will add fitness-tracking features to its line of touchscreen watches, less than a week after denying rumours it was working on a wearable with Apple.

"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," said Hayek. "But we can also do many things on our own."

Swatch smarts make sense

The existing Smart Touch is a touchscreen LCD watch with no physical buttons, and a handful of basic settings such as stopwatches and alarms that are more at home on an 1980s Casio than a cutting edge wearable.

The irony is that Swatch was founded in 1980 to counter the huge disruption to Swiss-made pieces from Japanese brands, and the cult of the digital watch – and the announcement of new smart features is certainly a response to the new cult of wearables from technology's biggest names.

Swatch smartwatch range detailed by company's CEO

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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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