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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Wearable Tech

Swatch watch with contactless payment coming in May

The world's biggest watchmaker is going high-tech but says, "We don't want to produce a mini mobile phone on your wrist."

Swatch the throne: Swatch is the world's biggest watch manufacturer. Swatch

You'll soon be able to pay for stuff with your Swatch watch, but the company is talking down the possibility of an Apple Watch-style all-singing, all-dancing smartwatch.

Swatch is the world's best-selling watchmaker with 18 per cent of the market, which includes the Omega, Longines and Calvin Klein brands. Having already taken a hit as many people choose to check the time on their phone rather than buy a watch, the watch industry is now facing technology companies muscling their way into the market with high-tech smartwatches. Many traditional watch companies are adding tech to their timepieces, but Swatch says it won't rush into anything.

"We don't want to produce a mini mobile phone on your wrist," Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek said while discussing the company's financial results, Reuters reports. "Others can do that. Samsung did it, Sony did it. Everybody does it.

"We are not a consumer electronics company," said Hayek.

That said, Swatch watches with Bluetooth and NFC will go on sale in May. They'll be able to make contactless payments and potentially show notifications from your phone -- which sounds very much like a smartwatch.

In China, the watches will make contactless payments thanks to a deal with China UnionPay. A deal with Visa is also reported to be in the works.

Interest in smartwatches is at a peak this week after Apple revealed details of its Apple Watch. Coming in various designs, the Watch will cost between $349, AU$499 or £299 and a whopping $17,000, AU$24,000 or £13,500.