May 7, 2015 / 11:53 AM / 4 years ago

Swatch CEO says hopes for NFC chips in watches by August

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek poses with the new 'Swatch Touch Zero One' during the Swiss watchmaker's annual news conference in Corgemont March 12, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ST. GALLEN, Switzerland (Reuters) - Swatch Group plans to bring out watches with its planned near field communication (NFC) chips by August, the Swiss watchmaker’s chief executive said on Thursday.

Asked on the sidelines of a conference in St. Gallen, Switzerland, when the new Swatch with NFC chips would be released, Chief Executive Nick Hayek said, “Around July, August.”

Swatch had previously said the new capabilities would be launched in the summer.

The cheap programmable chips, Swatch’s riposte to Apple Inc’s smartwatch, will let wearers make payments with a swipe of the wrist.

Hayek said watches with the new chips would cost around 5 Swiss francs (£3.6) more.

Swatch announced plans for the chips in March and Hayek said the company had received many proposals from major companies since then on how it could build a “social community” with the technology.

Hayek also said Swatch will soon announce a new partnership with a global credit card company, adding that credit card companies liked fact that the chips were independent of the watch’s battery.

“You are totally independent and that’s what they love,” Hayek said. “It’s a much easier way for payment and more secure than if you have a display and you have to recharge this whole operation.”

Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Writing by Joshua Franklin, editing by David Evans

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