Swatch has reportedly forged deals with several banking firms to add NFC-based payments to its upcoming smartwatch offering – a move which is deemed necessary to mitigate the threat of devices such as the Apple Watch. Of the banking firms on bard are China’s UnionPay and according to The Wall Street Journal, a Swiss bank and major credit card provider. Swatch CEO, Nick Hayek, refused to identify the latter two parties at the company’s annual media day which took place recently.

Despite not sharing the identity of the parties involved in their payments deal, Hayek did reveal more about the upcoming watch lineup. Instead of building a true smart watch the company is reportedly looking to weave “smart” functions into its products. This means that NFC will be featured in everything from low-cost plastic models all the way through to the higher-end Omega line. Furthermore, the functionality won’t just be limited to mobile payments, instead it will extend to things such as unlocking hotel rooms.

A recently announced lineup, the Swatch Touch, already incorporate functions such as a step counter as well. Hayek had the following to say regarding the matter:

We are not a consumer technology company. We don't want to produce a reduced, minimized mobile phone on your wrist.
For those of you who didn’t know Hayek was previously very dismissive when it came to devices like the Apple Watch but magically seemed to take a 180 degree turn with his opinion more recently. At the recent event, it was noted that the CEO called the Apple Watch as the nicest smartwatch he’s seen thus far. He alluded to their being room for both Swatch and Apple products in the market as well.

Analysts’ speculations are all over the place with some stating that the Apple Watch could be beneficial for Swiss watchmakers and others stating that it could be the doom of the conventional watch. We’ll have to wait and see though.

Source: The Wall Street Journal