Swatch Group AG (OTCMKTS:SWGAY) is expected to add a variety of smart features, including fitness information, to its 2015 lineup of watches in an attempt to stave off competition from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other smartwatch producers.
The world's biggest watchmaker has long dismissed speculation that it would dip into the smartwatch area, with Chief Executive Nick Hayek asserting that smartwatches simply don’t earn as many style points as Swatch watches do. But lately such boasts have been harder to defend, since the Swiss company's stock has plummeted amid rising demand for smartwatches. And now the Wall Street Journal reports that Swatch will roll out a line of digital watches by 2015.
Without specifying what technology will be included, a Swatch spokeswoman said the “usual features” will make up the fitness features, with speculation pointing to training calculators, pulse recorders and speed monitors.
“Nick Hayek is very concerned, for sure,” Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Bernstein, told the Journal. “But he can’t say that publicly.”
Forecasters have predicted that Apple’s iWatch, which is expected to be unveiled in September, will sell for $300 apiece, with an estimated 30 million to 60 million individual units sold over the product’s first year on the market. The highly anticipated smartwatch is expected to have more than 10 sensors and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate users with different needs.
Swatch has been reluctant to offer the same options, instead relying on the style and status appeal of its high-end Omega and Breguet brands. Swatch’s midrange brands and its least expensive quartz watches generally sell for between $150 and $300, the anticipated price of an Apple iWatch.