Oct 23, 2014

    Swatch open to tie-ups on smartwatches


    SWATCH Group, the biggest Swiss watchmaker, said it won't rule out forming agreements with consumer-electronics companies to help produce smartwatches, amid increasing competition in timepieces with more functions.

    "We already work with a lot of them as a supplier of various strategically important components," Beatrice Howald, a spokesman for Swatch, said in an e-mail message, adding that the company has all the necessary technologies for a smartwatch. "We don't exclude that it could come to deeper collaboration, but it's not on our priority list."

    Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is in talks with unidentified Swiss watchmakers to develop smartwatches, Intel spokesman Julien Laval said on Monday, confirming a SonntagsZeitung report. Ms Howald didn't comment specifically on Intel.

    Swatch produces components for fitness bands made by Garmin.

    The smartwatch market will probably expand to about US$10 billion (S$12.7 billion) in 2018 from as much as US$1.8 billion this year, Citigroup analysts have forecast, with half of the market in the future coming from traditional watch wearers switching to the tech devices.

    The Swiss watch industry is struggling this year amid political protests in Hong Kong, which imports about a fifth of the timepieces that Switzerland produces.