The world's most important watchmaker, the Swatch Group, announced this week that it will be wading into the smartwatch game after all. If Swatch expects to have a competitive product, it's already off on the right foot. First, the CEO, Nick Hayek, initially dismissed the threat and it now seems like the company is jumping into the game only after having its hand's forced by the market reaction to the new Apple product. Launching at the same time as the Apple Watch guarantees it will be drowned out by the media fixation on Apple. We also don't understand why the new watch will support Android and Windows but not iOS. Finally, can Swatch really introduce a technologically sophisticated timepiece that could rival the best that Silicon Valley has to offer?
Details are sketchy but they suggest similar features to the Apple Watch, such as a Near Field Communication chip for potential e-commerce transactions. One cool reported function: Swatch claims the watch won't have to be charged. That might be the killer feature they need to be competitive.
As previously reported, Citigroup analysts say the smartwatch market will reach $10 billion by 2018, with up to half those sales coming from people switching over from traditional watches. Staying on the sidelines isn't an option.
We think the only chance that Swatch has to be competitive is if it's price point is far more aggressive than the planned $349 starting point for the Apple Watch. Swatch has shown themselves capable of launching industry disruptive and innovative products, like the Sistem51 (pictured above), so they can't be ruled out as a serious player. But they've never had to go up against the Apple juggernaut.
Do you think they can launch a competitive product? Comment below.