The CEO of Swiss watch maker Swatch has claimed that the company is close to making a new "super battery" for smartwatches and cars that, if successful, would turn the current market for batteries upside down.
According Stefan Barmettler and Marcel Speiser of Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek announced that his company plans to release a new life-long battery for smartwatches in 2016. Joshua Franklin of Reuters translated some of his comments from German into English.
"Whoever brings a battery for a smartwatch to the market that you don't need to charge for six months has a competitive advantage," Hayek said.
Hayek added that Swatch will work with research group Belenos and battery producer Renata to make the new battery.
"Next year we will come to the market with a revolutionary battery, not only for watches but also for automobiles," Hayek said.
Chris Mills of Gizmodo reported that the ideal battery life for a smartwatch is "for six months on a single charge." In drawing comparisons with the Pebble and Apple Watch, he added that Swatch's new battery could have "twice the energy storage capacity of anything on the market."
"[If] Swatch can crack the battery life problem, the company would provide an overnight fix for smartwatches' biggest Achilles Heel," Mills wrote. "The longest-lasting 'real' smartwatch you can buy is the Pebble, which can go without sucking from an outlet for a whole three days. The Apple Watch lasts a day, maybe."
Hayek elaborated on the threat the Apple Watch posed to the entire Swiss watch industry. He argued that there was an opportunity to continue selling watches despite the fact one can now get accurate time from a mobile phone and other devices.
"The people are more mobile, are more in the inner cities, more in stores," Hayek said in German. "We [sold] since then even more mechanical watches, although they are much less precise than the clocks on the phone display. Do you know what Swatch is?"
Hayek thought that the Apple Watch was similar to "a remote control for your mobile phone."
"The Swatch brand is mentioned in one breath with Apple," Hayek said in German. "That has aroused an enormous interest in the brand, particularly in the USA."
The Swatch CEO argued that in addition to functionality, watches had to be beautiful and practical. He noted that this is where "the power reserve of the battery comes into play."
"A consumer who travels a lot now wants not to lug a charger for the clock," Hayek said in German. "[People] placing a battery on the market, with one half a year, does not have to charge a smart clock, which has a competitive advantage."