Swatch unveils in China a watch enabled for mobile payments
today Oct 15, 2015
Swiss watch-maker Swatch unveiled a watch equipped with a mobile payment function in Shanghai, thus joining the race for smartwatches kicked off by the competition of California giant Apple.
The watch is called 'Bellamy' and features 4 models incorporating Near Field Communications technology for contactless payments.
It works as a prepaid payment card accepted by retailers' contactless payment devices. For Bellamy's Chinese launch, Swatch worked in cooperation with UnionPay, the Chinese financial institutions association.
The payment option will be operational throughout China in January, and Swatch next plans to launch it in Switzerland and the USA.
Last March Swatch revealed its projects for smartwatches, while Apple, which launched its connected watch in April, was making Swiss watchmakers, especially in the entry-level and mid-range segments, uncomfortable with its ambitious plans.
In 2004, Swatch made a fruitless foray in the smartwatch segment, associating with Microsoft.
Since then, Swatch boss Nick Hayek appeared very sceptical about connected watches, though he recently had a change of heart.
Several other Swiss watchmakers, also sceptical about smart watches at first, have now embraced this tech advance.
Tag Heuer teamed up with Google and Intel to design a smartwatch; Montblanc too launched a counter-offensive, featuring a connected strap that attaches to a mechanical watch.
A host of other connected watches were presented at the Baselworld watchmaking trade show, including models by Frédérique Constant (featuring a sleep-cycle monitoring function) and Breitling (with an aviation chronograph).
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