Baselworld 2015, the annual showcase of Swiss smartwatches has welcomed more Swiss smartwatches along with the traditional watches. Tag Huer, Omega and Swatch are some of the luxury watchmakers to create connected timepieces along with luxury, design and functionality.
Swiss executives remain cautious about the life and the need to charge the wearables everyday. Swatch’s Francios Thiebaud, president of the Baselworld Swiss association stated that they have the name of smartwatches and added that all Swiss watches were smart. He mentioned his experience of having bought a Sony smartwatch and learnt that he needs an Android smartphone.
“We want to build long-lasting products, but with the advantage of connected features as well,” said Ronnie Bernheim, Mondaine Watch.
Mondiane’s Helvicta 1 smartwatch features a simple round design with a white face based on the company analog Swiss railway clock design. The smartwatch includes sleep and activity trackers and is set to be released by fall. Swiss makers Frederique Constant and Alpina are offering Horological smartwatches that combine analog and smart features that can sync with iOS and Android.
The entry of Apple Watch led to a change in the mind-set of Swiss makers. The smartwatch, priced from $350 to $17,000 for the gold-plated edition. Pascal Koenig, an analyst at Zurich-based smartwatch group stated that the company was taken seriously in terms of marketing/branding perspective and its potential to revolutionize markets.
Non-Swiss watchmakers like Italy’s Bulgari showcased Diagono Magnesium watch equipped with NFC for starting car engines, unlocking doors and for payments. Other smartwatches like Luna ($349) and Meridian ($199) from London-based Bector were on display. The smartwatches feature analog-type design and can receive social media notifications. The smartwatch packs an impressive 30-day battery life.
The future of traditional watches incorporating smart features depends on the success or failure of Apple Watch though Swiss makers are slowly getting into the idea of developing smartwatches.