Following months of teasing from Swatch, and plenty of speculation from the watch industry, the Swiss watchmaker has finally launched its mobile payment watch.
The Swatch Bellamy, named after the 19th-century American writer who predicted credit cards, will launch this coming January. However, it won’t be offering much direct competition to the Apple Watch or the many Android Watch-based smartwatches on the market.
This is a decidedly ordinary fashion watch, with the only distinguishing feature being the presence of an NFC chip under the face for mobile payments.
Another limiting factor with the Swatch Bellamy is its release schedule. At present, it’s launching in China this coming January, with Switzerland and the US set to follow some time later.
The reason Swatch isn’t launching in its home country is because of the slow response of Swiss banks to mobile banking. China, by contrast, has embraced it fully. As Bloomberg reports, 22.6 trillion yuan (£2.3 trillion) was spent in China on mobile transactions last year – a rise of some 134% from the year before.
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Perhaps in its favour, the Swatch Bellamy looks set to be significantly more affordable than any smartwatch currently on the market. It’ll cost only 580 yuan, which works out to around £59.
Another feature Swatch hopes will appeal to customers is the Bellamy’s long battery life. As previously reported, the new mobile payment watch’s battery will last six months – a massive contrast to your average smartwatch, which will last only a day between charges.
Check out our first experience with Apple Pay in the UK: