Step aside, Apple, Google, Motorola, and the rest: Switzerland is in the house, and they’re ready to play. Swiss watchmakers have felt the heat of innovation as the smart wearable market has caught fire with consumers in recent years and tech heavyweights have worked furiously to conceive the ideal tracker to go around your wrist. In an industry whose value has been long defined by meticulously designed mechanical parts that can last a lifetime (literally), the notion of a future of watches without moving parts is clearly a threat to the survival of the legacy watchmakers. But those Swiss innovators aren’t conceding to such fierce competition just yet.
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The latest entrant into battle is the American-founded, Swiss-based IWC, a company that boasts 150 years of history and great success during the trying times of the 1970s, when quartz technology forced the most recent revolution within the watchmaking industry. Whilst one of its competitors, TAG Heuer, believes that a partnership with Google’s Android and Intel’s chipmaking prowess to build a fully-loaded “connected watch” is the key to success, IWC is taking a different approach. They’re opting instead for a supplementary piece of tech they’re calling Connect. Though they aren’t yet forthcoming with many details, they do say the Connect will attach to a traditional watch wristband and provide the connected experience, fitness tracking and all, of fully-electronic devices like the Apple Watch and the Moto 360, for instance, while you still sport the watch you already own and love. They’re bullish about Connect’s prospects: “With IWC Connect… there is no need any more to have additional devices on your wrist.”
With the smartwatch market size predicted to reach 30+ million units by the end of this year, the signal to Switzerland is clear: consumers want smart wearables. It remains to be seen how well the Swiss respond to the global demand, whether they can emerge victorious again over the existential threat of advancing technology.
No word on a price or delivery date for this beauty, but we’re told we can expect more details in coming months. Check out the concept photo below: