A new company has introduced Switzerland’s first line of smartwatches.
The Geneva-headquartered Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT) was founded specifically for the production of Swiss Horological Smartwatches. The business is a joint venture between Fullpower Technologies, a wearable-technology company based in Silicon Valley, and Union Horlogère Holding, which owns Swiss watch brands Alphina and Frederique Constant.
Smartwatches have been a hot topic of conversation since the Apple Watch was unveiled earlier this year, but their exact definition remains slippery. As Bloomberg Business notes, smartwatches “can include everything from a 1980s-style Casio wrist calculator to devices like the Samsung Gear S and the Apple Watch.” MMT’s product does not feature a digital display, but it links with a smartphone app and uses two concentric analog subdials to track information, including the wearer’s sleep and the date.
This year, MMT will unveil 10 different models of its Swiss Horological Smartwatches. Including both men’s and women’s watches, these models will be split between Alphina and Frederique Constant. MMT will debut the line at the Baselworld trade show in March, but details about two of the models are available. The gold-plated Frederique Constant Model will retail for $1,295. The watches will be available in June, and prices begin at $995.
In addition to selling its own products, MMT also “sees its platform as giving smaller and lower-priced brands a way to get into the smartwatch game with a sophisticated system.” Part of the venture’s strategies is to license its technology to these brands. Fullpower already has over 45 U.S. patents issued and over 75 more pending “for everything from sensors to software.” Mondaine, a company known for its Swiss Railways watches, has already capitalized on MMT’s offerings.
Though the Swiss Horological Smartwatches will surely make a bold premiere, several factors cast doubt on the brand’s long-term success. Fitness trackers perform the same function as the watches’ analog dials, and most people who buy them stop using them six months after purchase. Competition with “more feature-rich devices” is also an issue. The price tag is also quite high for a watch designed for consumers instead of collectors.
Their clumsy name aside, Swiss Horological Smartwatches have definite advantages. Since they run on Bluetooth low energy and battery-powered quartz watch movement, no recharging is required, and batteries need only be replaced every two years or so. Furthermore, as Bloomberg notes, “It looks handsome and it makes sense.”
image credit: frederique-constant