Swarovski shelves plans for Basel smartwatch launch

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Swarovski has shelved plans to launch its much-anticipated smartwatch at Baselworld, citing “execution” issues for the delay.

As revealed by WatchPro in January, the company had promised to take the wrapping up off its first independent smartwatch at Baselworld but it has now decided to “postpone” the unveiling indefinitely.

A spokesperson for Swarovski directed WatchPro to a statement made by Robert Buchbauer, member of the Swarovski Executive Board. He told tech website Wareable that the watch isn’t at a stage where it is ready to be marketed yet.

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“Swarovski has decided to postpone its smart device initiative and will not present new smart device products at Baselworld 2017. Swarovski is simply not ready yet. We cannot yet make any statement regarding the timing of the launch,” he explained.

Details of the Android device, aimed at the women’s market, first emerged at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year when tech partner Qualcomm told journalists it was providing the chipset for the watches.

Mr Buchbauer said no blame could be laid at the feet of Qualcomm and Google for the delay.

“The cooperation with and technology provided by all partner companies have been outstanding. The postponement was purely driven by Swarovski’s strive for excellence in execution,” he commented.

Swarovski has already been involved in the smartwatch market through collaborations with Samsung, Polar and Huawei. But the watch it was due to unveil in Basel would have been the first produced by its own team.

Earlier this year, Swarovski CEO Robert Buchbauer told WatchPro that it was aiming to increase its wholesale business for watches by 30% this year.

He said the company would continue to focus on distributing to its directly owned and franchised Swarovski boutiques, with its watch collections tailored for different channels.

As recently as 2011, watches made up only 2.2% of Swarovski revenue in the UK, but last year the contribution was up to 8.3% of turnover, Mr Robert Buchbauer revealed.

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