Swatch’s journey to a smartwatch has been pretty torturous, but now the company is once again jumping on the bandwagon with the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar.
The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is a hybrid watch, which connects to a paired smartphone for fitness tracking, notifications and, of course, the time. As the name suggests it utilises solar power to enable a six month battery life.
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It runs the proprietary, Swatch designed SwALPS operating system – which stands for Swiss Autonomous Low Power System.
We’re assuming this is essentially SwatchOS that CEO Nick Hayek touted in 2018 – with the promise of a Tissot smartwatch, which never arrived.
We’d never be as cynical to say this is a rehashing of a project on the back-burner, to keep investors happy ahead of what’s certain to be a lean year for the Swiss watch industry. But the last time Hayek promised a Tissot smartwatch was in March 2017 after it announced 2016 profits dropped by 47% and revenue down by 11%. Some coincidence.
Anyway, back to what's on offer here. The watch comes in a 47mm case, making it decidedly oversized. And it will come in high end materials, with a choice of titanium or ceramic.
It will be compatible with iOS and Android, and in a smart move, Huawei Harmony OS, which will aid adoption in China.
However, it seems that heart rate tracking won’t make the cut, making this feel very much like an announcement in 2018 clothing. Albeit, lightweight and extremely expensive clothing.
Details are scant – and it seems Swatch rushed the announcement into its annual news conference that was streamed online.
Swatch also promises features to be revealed after launch including GPS navigation. However, there’s zero chance of GPS built-in, so we’re assuming this is reported from a smartphone – but we’re not clear whether that’s from Google Maps or some kind of bespoke offering.
The company has spoken a lot about smartwatches since the launch of the first Apple Watch back in 2014, but hasn’t come up with any concrete tech. And while the smartwatch revolution hasn’t had the catastrophic effect many predicted on the Swiss watch world, Swatch’s own numbers have been sobering.
As Journal Haute Horologerie puts it: "Since the Cupertino tech giant [Apple] launched its Apple Watch in 2015, sales of Swiss watches retailing at under CHF 500 have fallen by 37% in number of units. It’s a similar story in the CHF 500-1,200 bracket, where sales declined by 21% over the twelve months in question."
The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is expected to launch in June or July and is expected to cost 1,000CHF, which is around $1,000.
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