A source said that Swatch Group head Nicolas Hayek Jr., son of the late SG CEO Nicolas Hayek, is adamant that the company would not be pursuing smartwatches inside Swatch itself or within any of the many Swatch brands. The source said that Hayek Jr. felt “burned” by a 2004-2005 MSN SPOT watch partnership that fizzled and is avoiding mention of smart watches in general.
“He commented that he saw no future in these smart watches and that Swatch Group would stay out of it,” the source said.
Swatch has attempted many interesting – if under-appreciated – smartwatches including LCD watches featuring something called Internet Time, a wonky system for unifying the timezones worldwide- and the aforementioned SPOT watches. SPOT was an FM-based transmission system that pushed data to a series of large LCD watches, offering up short messages, sports scores, and weather to the few customers who joined the service early on.
This decision also means that other Swatch group companies like Omega, Mido, Longines, and Tissot (which does make a trekking watch) would avoid talking about smartwatches for the time being, unlike, obviously, the CEO of Tag Heuer who is already hinting at a watch that experts say could take as long as a year to get to market. The group’s storied “historical” brands like Breguet and Jaquet Droz are also out of the smartwatch race.
As a reminder that watchmaking is still an art more than a science – at least in Switzerland – my source noted that “market dynamics and whims” often overtake Hayek which is a nice way of saying that things can still change with very little warning. The Swatch Group has not yet offered a comment.