Swatch has finally revealed details about its rumoured mobile payment watch. The Swatch Bellamy is not a smartwatch by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, it is a regular watch with an NFC chip embedded inside to facilitate mobile payments.
The strategy at play here appears to be being the first to reach the Chinese market. Swatch has entered into an agreement with China’s UnionPay and Bank of Communications to gain access to the country’s mobile payment infrastructure. Significantly, it has done this before any of the smartphone manufacturers have been able to do so.
Whether the Chinese will bother with a regular watch capable of NFC payments is questionable. There is really nothing that makes the Swatch Bellamy stand out, and it looks like a very generic watch. Swatch says that this is the start of a plan to introduce more ‘smart’ features into its prodcuts; although the company has ruled out the possibility of creating an actual smartwatch.
The Swatch Bellamy will be priced at 600 yuan (about RM392), and will be launched in China in January 2016. It will then be introduced to the US and European markets at a later date. The Bellamy is by no means a direct competitor to a smartwatch, but it will provide valuable insight into how receptive the Chinese are to mobile payments.