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This Samsung Smartwatch render has been making rounds since 2009. Now that smartwatches are a reality, questions arise about whether they threaten the traditional watch industry
This Samsung Smartwatch render has been making rounds since 2009. Now that smartwatches are a reality, questions arise about whether they threaten the traditional watch industry
 









Swatch confident against smartwatch wave

Smartwatches and wearable technology is an opportunity for traditional watchmakers, not a threat, according to Swatch.

While the worldwide buzz continues to grow about smartwatches, chief executive officer of Swiss giant Swatch, Nick Hayek, said he had no concerns regarding the possible impact on traditional watchmakers and is instead treating it as an opportunity.

In an interview with Reuters, Hayek expressed optimism towards the wearable technology trend.

“The smartwatch is an opportunity for us, whatever happens. If people who never used to wear anything on their wrist start wearing a so-called smartwatch, then we certainly can convince them quickly to try wearing a beautiful watch instead,” he said.

Swatch CEO, Nick Hayek
Swatch CEO, Nick Hayek
Hayek explained that Swatch already possessed the ability to make its own smartwatch, but that there were no plans to be a major force in the sector.

“We have all the know-how but we do not want to build up stock of technology bombs people won't want to buy,” Hayek added.

Of course, it is not widely known – or perhaps just easily forgotten – that Swatch was one of the first to enter the technology sector, when it teamed up with Microsoft 10 years ago to launch a smartwatch called Paparazzi.

The device was launched with great fanfare and a host of celebrities, offering users direct access to news, horoscopes, stock quotes and other real-time information via radio waves, but it did not meet with the hoped-for success and was killed-off in 2008.

More reading:  Lord of The Watch

Industry analysts have largely supported Hayek's thoughts – for the moment anyway. At the recent CES 2014 (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas in January, many people suggested that the current sizes, technological limitations and high prices of wearable technology in its current format would be significant barriers to mass uptake in the immediate future.

However, the sheer volume of smartwatches being developed at the moment suggests it might only be a matter of time before they enter the traditional wristwatch market, Australia and New Zealand included, in a significant way.

Opportunities for local jewellers
While the world waits for the much-anticipated Apple iWatch to become a reality, and grapples with the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony SmartWatch – most of which will never be available for independent retailers to stock – one other smartwatch has already made headway in the local jewellery market.

The Burg smartwatch phone was introduced to the Australian industry late last year, following the announcement that West End Collection (WEC) had secured the distribution rights to the device.

According to WEC managing director John Rose, the Burg smartwatch was launched through Big W stores for Christmas and exceeded expectations.

“We completely sold out our first order of supplies and so have been working hard to move on to stage two and three where we can get enough stock to service independent jewellers as well,” Rose said.

“The demand is there and the technology is moving so quickly that momentum is clearly building.” 




Smartwatches on the market

Sonostar Smartwatch
Sonostar Smartwatch
Cogito Smartwatch
Cogito Smartwatch
Pebble
Pebble's Smartwatch is said to have kickstarted the trend
Sony releases more conservative colours for its SmartWatch range
Sony releases more conservative colours for its SmartWatch range















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Thursday, 25 April, 2019 06:05pm
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