Swatch partnered up with Visa to give cardholders the ability to make payments with the watchmaker’s new ‘pay-by-the-wrist’ watch called the Bellamy.
The watch is scheduled to be initially available in early 2016 in the U.S., Switzerland, and Brazil.
The Bellamy watch can be used to make contactless payments where NFC-based (near-field communications) Visa payments are accepted. NFC technology uses high-frequency radio waves to enable electronic devices to communicate over short distances – usually less than 10 cm.
Swatch said: “The new SWATCH BELLAMY watches have all the fun, color and great design that Swatch is famous for – along with a built-in NFC chip hidden under the dial.”
The Swatch Bellamy looks like an ordinary wrist watch, but underneath the dial is an NFC chip.
The NFC technology allows users with the Bellamy to pay for items using merchants’ contactless point-of-sale (POS) terminals.
The new watch doesn’t have anything to differentiate it from other Swatch watches other than the NFC chip. The company focused solely on integrating the contactless payment feature and there are no other tech-related bells and whistles.
But that may be a good thing, given that other wearables – with more features – tend to run out of battery fairly quickly – the Apple Watch battery lasts less than a day before it needs to be recharged.
The Bellamy does not access the Internet and does not use the watch’s battery to make payments, meaning that its battery life will be similar to other watches that the company has produced.
Swatch decided to name its latest timepiece after American writer Edward Bellamy. Bellamy envisioned a utopian world in which cash had been replaced by credit/debit cards in his 1888 novel titled “Looking Backward 2000-1887”.
Swatch, the largest watchmaker by revenue in the world, is one of several traditional watchmakers beginning to integrate technology into its timepieces. Earlier this month Tag Heuer launched a smart watch using Google’s Android Wear software.