Swatch officially announced that it teamed up with Visa to bring NFC payments to its Bellamy smartwatch come next year in the U.S.
The Swiss watchmaker is renowned worldwide for its quality timepieces, leading the charge in its category as the world's largest watchmaker in terms of revenue. With the wearable device market increasingly gaining momentum, however, Swatch decided to join the race with its own piece of smart wearable tech.
The Swatch Bellamy analog smartwatch made its debut in China back in October. The gadget doesn't support Internet connectivity, but it does come with a near-field-communication chip that allows users to make payments from their wrist at contactless terminals.
Swatch already has UnionPay on board to deliver the functionality in China, and it has now entered a new partnership. This time, the new deal is with Visa and will bring the "pay-by-the-wrist" function of the Bellamy analog smartwatch to the U.S., Switzerland and Brazil.
"Fully consistent with the DNA of the pioneering Swiss watchmaker, Swatch Bellamy combines exciting yet functional Swatch design with state-of-the- art payment technology from Visa," the watchmaker announced. "Swatch Bellamy will open a new era of connected commerce, as mobile payment acceptance continues to increase around the world."
Swatch signed deals with both Visa Inc. and Visa Europe to enable the tap and pay functionality for the Bellamy in the aforementioned markets.
"Slated to launch in early 2016, Swatch Bellamy can be used globally, anywhere contactless, NFC-based (near-field communications) Visa payments are accepted," the company further explained.
Swatch has yet to offer more specific launch and availability dates, but it is expected to do so shortly. When it comes to the device, the Bellamy should also become available for purchase sometime in early 2016, again with no specific dates.
The price of the Bellamy in the U.S. also remains unclear at this point, but the device will sport a 580 yuan price tag in China, which translates to roughly $91. At a sub-$100 price point, the Swatch Bellamy could become a powerful competitor to other wearable offers from the likes of Samsung, LG, Motorola, or Apple.
In addition to NFC, another strong feature of the Swatch Bellamy is the long battery life. According to the watchmaker, it should deliver the "usual battery life of a Swatch."