- Watchmaker's PayChip can be transferred to multiple timepieces
- Smart watchbands are another possibility, CEO Bernheim says
Swiss watchmaker Mondaine has a solution for consumers who don’t always wear the same wristwatch yet want a smartwatch: a removable payment chip that can fit into other Mondaine timepieces.
Mondaine will start offering its PayChip, which can make mobile payments with NFC technology, as an extra for some of its watches for no added cost by August, Chief Executive Officer Andre Bernheim said in an interview at the Baselworld fair Thursday. They will first go on sale in Switzerland and may enter three other markets in Europe this year. The watches start at 200 francs ($206).
The chip fits into a slot on the bottom of the strap and can be transferred to as many as 10 Mondaine watch models.
Mondaine is one of several Swiss watchmakers adding electronic functions to its watches as Apple Inc. encroaches into its territory. The watchmaker started selling its Helvetica Smart model for 850 francs last year, offering fitness and sleep-tracking features.
Some Swiss watchmakers have been approaching smartwatches with a different tack, with Richemont’s IWC and Montblanc brands deciding to put the intelligent functions into the wristbands rather than the watch. That way, when the technology becomes obsolete, the owner can change the strap and keep the luxury timepiece.
“We’re looking into adding more intelligent functions into the strap in the future,” Bernheim said.