Swatch emphatically denied previous reports from earlier this summer saying that the watchmaker is collaborating with Apple on a line of smartwatches. A new Reuters interview of Swatch CEO Nick Hayek does nothing to reverse that, but it does it strongly suggest that conversations about partnerships with Apple and others have taken place, and that collaboration with some tech companies may be happening already. “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 . . .” Hayek told Reuters.
Swatch Group is happy to go it alone with a launch next year of watches with “smart” features to compete with so-called wearable gadgets from the big tech companies, a market potentially worth $93 billion. The world’s biggest watchmaker, which sees the advent of smartwatches as an opportunity rather than a threat, will unveil its new Swatch Touch next summer. Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek said these new watches might allow the wearer to count the number of steps they take and calories they burn. And there will be a few other cool ‘Swatchy’ things on offer via latest Bluetooth technology, he said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Biel. “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. But we can also do many things on our own.” Wearable gadgets, such as smartwatches that allow users to connect to their phone to check emails, make calls or monitor their health, are expected to be the next big thing in the tech world and a potential threat to traditional wristwatch sales. Apple Inc has just invited media to a “special event” next month, fuelling speculation it might present a much-anticipated “iWatch.”