Swatch Strategy

Winding the i-Watch

Nick Hayek thinks he has Apple's number.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Smart watches, such as the Apple Watch, present a serious threat to traditional Swiss watchmakers.

  • Facts


    • Swatch, owner of luxury brand Omega, is one of Switzerland’s biggest watchmakers.
    • Smart watches enable wearers to link devices to smartphones and run apps, but require lots of power.
    • Swatch’s new watches will include functions such as heart-rate monitors but use less power.
  • Audio


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Nick Hayek, the chief executive of Swiss watchmaker Swatch, doesn’t beat around the bush. He claims computer watches such those by Apple have limited chances of success. At a news conference, he did a spontaneous spot check:

“Hands up, who of you in this hall is wearing a Smart watch or a fitness band?” Not a single hand was raised. “So you see,” said a visibly pleased Mr. Hayek, “there is much talk about them, but they are never to be seen.”

Last week, Apple presented details concerning its long-awaited smart watch, which is named the Apple Watch. Days later, Mr. Hayek was explaining how the world’s largest watch company intends to respond.

“The Apple Watch is nothing more than the miniaturization of a smart phone for the wrist,” he said. “That’s not what we’re going to do. Instead we will provide our watches with useful additional functions, without overly reducing the lifetime of their batteries.”

Swatch is introducing a new series of touch-screen watches. The Swatch Touch Zero One, which is slated to arrive this summer, has 18 functions. For example, it measures calories burned and steps taken.

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