Swiss watchmaker Swatch announced an NFC-based wrist watch in China which enables the wearer to make payments at point-of-sale in locations such as shops and restaurants.
Users can make payments using the Swatch Bellamy through a partnership with China Unionpay, the country’s dominant card-payment processor, and state-owned Bank of Communications.
Initially, the watchmaker is offering four designs in the Bellamy range, all with a built-in NFC chip. The watches, which cost CNY530 ($90), will go on sale next January.
The Bellamy has been billed in some quarters as Swatch’s response to the Apple Watch but lacks any wide-area connectivity such as Wi-Fi. It does not appear to offer Bluetooth connectivity either.
Buyers can activate the watches at the Bank of Communications, which has nearly 3,000 branches around China. It will be possible to make payments using the watch internationally.
The name is an ironic hat tip to American writer Edward Bellamy who, in 1888, envisaged a utopian world where cash was replaced by credit and debit cards. Bellamy was the first to write about such cards.
Next, Swatch aims to launch the Bellamy watch in Switzerland and the US with unnamed local banks and transaction partners.