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Swatch Bellamy mobile payment watch
Swatch's newest Bellamy watch has an embedded chip for mobile payments. Courtesy of Swatch Group

Swatch Group Plays It Cautious On Smartwatch Technology

Mar 11, 2016

Switzerland's Swatch Group has recently been dipping its toes into the waters of smartwatch technology, but it wants to see the functionality catch on before it fully dives in.

The group owns many well-known watch brands, from Swatch itself at the low end, through the likes of Tissot and Longines, to luxury timepieces under the Omega, Breguet and Harry Winston banners.

So far, Swatch has only introduced a couple of watches with "smart" functionality — the Bellamy, which can be used for contactless payments, and the Touch Zero One, which pairs up with the user's smartphone and rather specifically targets beach volleyball players.

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Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said Thursday that this technology would stay in the plastic Swatch range for now, rather than finding its way into those more luxurious ranges.

"Let’s keep it at Swatch. When it is really biting there, there will be others waiting in line at Swatch Group. For the moment, we focus on Swatch," he said at a press conference, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It emerged last December that Swatch has been hoarding patents that would allow it to more bullishly enter the smartwatch market. Examples included a filing for a data-transmitting battery.

Swiss watchmakers are working overtime to see off the threat posed by new entrants to the market, particularly Apple(aapl) with its Watch range, which runs from the low end to more luxurious variants. Many (Swatch included) started off by dismissing these tech-centric rivals, but now even the likes of Bulgari are getting into the smartwatch game.

For more on smartwatches, watch (pardon the pun) this:

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