Swatch CEO won’t play ball with Apple, disapproves smart watch concept

Madeleine Swain
31 March, 2014
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Those Swiss – ever the last defenders of neutrality. The Financial Times (subscription needed) has been looking at reports of Apple reaching out to Swiss watchmakers – presumably with the thinking that if you want to make the best smart watch, it may not be a bad idea to get some tips from the people who have been making the best precision watches for centuries.

But the Swiss are not biting by all accounts. The chief executive officer of Swatch, Nick Hayek is still telling anyone who will listen that while his company has spoken to various bodies about the future of wearable products, he has no interest in actually forming any partnerships.

“We have been in discussions – not ever initiated by us – with practically all players in smart wearables up until today,” Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek told The Financial Times (and relayed by MacRumors). “However, we see no reason why we should enter into any partnership agreement.”

Hayek explained to the FT that his reluctance to play with Apple stems from a fervent wish to protect his company’s IP in the areas of ergonomic design, longevity and battery life.

MacRumors notes however, that Hayek has been publicly dismissive of Apple’s rumoured plans in the smartphone area previously.

At a press conference just over a year ago, in Grenchen, Switzerland, Hayek noted the small display size, and suggested this would be a downside to any Apple moves in this direction.

“Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution,” the chief of the largest Swiss watchmaker said at the time. “Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.”

Hayek wasn’t always so contemptuous of smartphone concepts. In 2004, his company formed an alliance with Microsoft and released the Swatch Paparazzi watch, which “allowed consumers to receive personalised information, including news, sports, weather, horoscopes and stock quotes”, according to Bloomberg.

The Paparazzi was later discontinued after a tepid reception from consumers.


The late and not terribly lamented Paparazzi from Swatch.

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