Swatch signals move into smart watches next year

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Swatch will add smart features more commonly associated with the tech world to its youth-oriented watches next year, the company’s chief executive has revealed in an interview with Reuters.

The Swatch Touch range of fashion watches already come with large LCD touch screens, but Swatch is planning to add features like a pedometer and other health trackers in next year’s line up.

They are also likely to access other functionality via a Bluetooth connection to people’s mobile phones.

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Swatch Touch watches currently retail for around £100. The company gave no indication of prices for next year’s upgraded models.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear retails for over £250, but can be bought as a bundle with its mobile phones. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 costs around £100. LG’s G Watch is priced at around £150.

Apple is expected to make a significant announcement next week about its iWatch. In July, the company hired the sales director of TAG Heuer to oversee the launch.

The wearable technology market is expected to be worth $30 billion by 2018, with smart watches expected to capture a significant slice of the action.

The move by Swatch will be keenly followed by other watch manufacturers who fear losing their grip on the wrists of their customers to the giants of the tech world.

In the interview with Reuters, Hayek said he was happy to be a watch company first and foremost. "All the big technology firms want to work with us and I don’t rule out that we are or could be collaborating in some areas. But we can also do many things on our own," said Hayek.

"It is a problem if you only define a product by its technology. Technology alone doesn’t sell, not in watches," he stated.

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