You’re looking at Swatch’s new Bellamy watch. It’s a simple-looking analogue timepiece, without an LED screen, mobile OS or computational brain. What it does contain is an NFC chip that will allow you to make contactless payments using the otherwise non-smart device.
Swatch has announced that it’s partnering with Visa for the watch, with initial launch in the US, Switzerland and Brazil. The Bellamy watch will allow users to make payments at contactless POS terminals. However, Swatch doesn’t explain exactly how it will work, nor whether it links directly with a bank account, merely referring to it as “like a prepaid bankcard”.
Indeed, without some of the other sensors found aboard a smartwatch, the security of the device could be called into question — and Swatch doesn’t offer any details just yet about authentication. Much like contactless bank cards, then, someone else would be able to make contactless payments if they had the watch on their wrist unlike, say, with an iPhone where Apple Pay requires Touch ID confirmation to authorise a payment.
Still, that concern aside it’s a neat idea. Adding a little everyday smarts to an otherwise normal-looking watch seems like a nice idea for those people that don’t necessarily want a full-on smartwatch strapped to their wrist.
In terms of the device itself, Swatch points out that the NFC uses “no energy at all from the watch itself,” so it should cause too much of an impact on battery life. The watch officially launched in China back in October, where it is sold in a typical variety of simple, colourful designs for the equivalent of around £60. [Swatch via Reuters via Verge]