Swatch Group CEO, Nick Hayek Jr, has poured scorn on the idea that the Apple Watch will revolutionise the watch market as we know it.
Before going on to unveil a few more details about Swatch’s own imminent smartwatch release, Hayek Jr described the Apple Watch as an “interesting toy, not a revolution,” in an interview with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger
One of the core reasons for his scepticism is the much-maligned short battery life of the Apple Watch, which lasts for just 18 hours. “These devices, which all eat so much power that they last no longer than 24 hours without needing to be plugged in,” argued Hayek Jr.
To combat this limitation, he explained that Swatch’s version of a smartwatch will have a battery that lasts for nine months, will be water resistant and would start at 150 Swiss francs (£101).
Hayek Jr also said that he will not go down the route of producing a smartwatch that is used for fitness and health purposes, as he believes that as a “watch producer, I cannot accept the responsibility of whether my device warns a customer in time before a heart attack”.
He explained that he also takes issue to the collection and storing of data in smartwatches like the Apple Watch. “The user immediately loses control of their data. I personally don’t want my blood pressure and blood sugar values stored in the cloud, or on servers in Silicon Valley.”
Instead, the Swatch smartwatch will focus on using near field communication technology to act as a payment tool. “We will bring a watch to market this year that acts as an alternative to the credit card,” he declared. "The technology works, we’re just finalising details with our partners from the credit card industry. The watch can be used for access control.”
Hayek Jr didn’t aim all his cynicism in Apple’s direction as he spared some of his ire for TAG Heuer’s partnership with Google and Intel. He said that the venture between TAG and the two tech giants was “a mystery to me.” He went on to say, “that for a company with a long Swiss tradition, TAG-Heuer-owned LVMH is apparently not willing to invest in Switzerland in the work place.”
Hayek Jr said that TAG Heuer’s partnership with Google and Intel for a smartwatch was a “a mystery to me” and that he regrets “that for a company with a long Swiss tradition, TAG-Heuer owner LVMH is apparently not willing to invest in Switzerland in the work place.”
In this round of verbal sparring at least, it’s game, set and match to Hayek Jr.