Swatch looks to take on Apple with homegrown watch operating system

“Swatch Group AG said it’s developing an alternative to the iOS and Android operating systems for smartwatches as Switzerland’s largest maker of timepieces vies with Silicon Valley for control of consumers’ wrists,” Corinne Gretler reports for Bloomberg. “The company’s Tissot brand will introduce a model around the end of 2018 that uses the Swiss-made system, which will also be able to connect small objects and wearables. Switzerland’s four-century-old watch industry has been adjusting to new competition since Apple Inc. entered its territory with the Apple Watch in 2015.”

Swatch Chief Executive Officer Nick “Hayek’s strategy contrasts with that of LVMH watch chief Jean-Claude Biver, who earlier this week unveiled an upgraded TAG Heuer smartwatch the brand developed with Google and Intel Corp,” Gretler reports. “Separately, Tissot has yet to start selling its Smart Touch smartwatch, according to Francois Thiebaud, head of that brand. He said last year the solar-powered watch would be available during 2016…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Three years from now, in the dictionary definition of “too little, too late,” the “Swiss OS” logo will be right next to the photo of Microsoft’s Zune.

Some random, ghettoized wearable OS — incompatible with the apps on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac (or phone, tablet, or PC) — is extremely undesirable.

Swatch is delusional, desperate, or, most likely, both. That’s what being the next Palm will do to you.

SEE ALSO:
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: Pebble is dead – December 7, 2016
Swatch issues dire profit warning, stock plummets to lowest point in over 6 years – July 15, 2016
Thanks to Apple Watch, smartwatches are now more popular than Swiss watches – February 19, 2016
As Apple Watch sales ramp, Swiss watch makers suffer biggest slump in six years – November 19, 2015
Swiss watch makers in deep shit, as Apple Watch designer Jony Ive predicted – October 23, 2015
Swiss watch exports post biggest quarterly export drop since 2009 – October 20, 2015
Apple Watch: Swatch CEO whistles past the graveyard – March 18, 2015
Old school watch makers don’t get Apple Watch – September 12, 2014

21 Comments

  1. It’s hard to know exactly what Swatch are planning, but if they’re going down the route of producing a smart watch with only minimal connectivity to a phone, in contrast to how comprehensively Apple Watch integrates, then they may be on to something.

    Obviously they won’t be competing against Apple, but if their intention is to come up with a stripped-down operating system for low cost smart watches, then there might be a space for them in the market. Whether it might be a profitable space in the market is an entirely different question.

    Obviously comparisons will be made with Apple, but I doubt that they are seriously looking to create an ecosystem which is a match for Apple’s.

  2. And all they had to do was make small rubber bands that fit over the screen of my Apple Watch.

    Oh wait, that won’t work with a touch screen.

    Well I guess they are doing all the can do to stay alive.

  3. Swatch is, I believe, the worlds biggest Watch company, by sales. If any Watch company can do this, they can. Whether they will pull it off is another question. But most of their watches are bought by younger people, so possibly they have the right audience.

    1. Digging around the net, it’s apparent that there’s a lot of competition for who’s the biggest watchmaker in the world. But there is also a problem of defining was sort of ‘watchmaker’ is included in statistics:
      • Mechanical/Electronic (battery) watches
      • Smartwatches
      • Wearables

      In my digging, I never found any results that included all of the above. I have to wonder if that’s deliberate, for whatever manipulative reasons.

      Forgive me for not posting links as this is from a pile of articles:

      As of September, 2016, Tim Cook claimed, using a presentation graphic, that Rolex was #1 and Apple was #2 in worldwide watch sales. Fossil was #3, Omega (Swatch) was #4, followed in order by Cartier, Citizen, Seiko, Patek Filippe, Longines, Tissot and Casio.

      For 2015, CNBC, apparently ignoring ‘smartwatch’ makers, said:
      LVMH Bulgari was #5,
      Fossil was #4,
      Rolex was #3,
      Richemont was #2,
      Swatch was #1.

      In August 2016, StatisticBrain.com, again apparently ignoring ‘smartwatch’ makers, verified the CNBC findings. I suspect these results are from one-in-the-same sources

      I found one bizarre article claiming that for 2015, Huami/Xiaomi were the #2 ‘wearables’ maker after Fitbit, with wearables including smartwatches. However, the Huami/Xiaomi sales figures were no where near any of the above mentioned companies. IE marketing manure.

      1. That’s not what Cook said. Apple ranked watchmakers, not by number of watches sold, but by dollar amounts, in sales. By that metric, Rolex is #1, because their watches are very expensive, and for very expensive watches, they sell a relative lot of them. Rolex also make parts for other high end makers.

        The Swatch Group not only makes inexpensive watches, averaging about $80, but also owns a number of high end brands, and also makes parts, as well as entire movements for other makers. It sells more watches than any other Watch company, other than, possibly some Chinese companies making $1 digital throw away devices.

        1. That’s not what Cook said

          Apparently, a lot of articles got it wrong. Quote secondhand news and one is quoting hearsay. Thanks for providing further detail. I had to dig a lot to get as much detail as I was able to provide. 😛

    1. I think I remember a LCD watch that layered the panel behind a transparent LCD to make the best use of space. Others just had a small rectangular area on the face like those solar powered calculators.

      If I were to design a solar powered watch today with a solar panel and was not limited to a rectangle shape, I think I would place it as a 1-2 mm ring around the face that could also double as a touch interface.

  4. When Apple Watch announced Swatch co-creator Elmar Mock warned that the industry wasn’t taking the smart watch threat seriously just like they didn’t take the electronic watch threat seriously years ago (which devastated the Swiss watch industry) :
    “Anything in the price range of 500 francs to 1,000 francs is really in danger … I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us”

  5. If Swatch is able to develop a capable smartwatch with a light enough OS that augments its power via solar panels and lasts at least a week between charges, I think it will be a hit even at a comparable price. The major complaint I hear from my friends who already have the Apple Watch or Android smartwatches is the frequency of having to charge them. Hoping for their success and a future where all smartwatches have significantly longer intervals between charges.

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