Swatch to Start Selling Mobile Payment Watch in U.S. in 2016

  • Device to be sold in Switzerland, Brazil after Visa alliance
  • Bellamy timepiece works similar to contactless bank cards

Swatch Group AG plans to start selling a timepiece that can make contactless payments in the U.S., Switzerland and Brazil early next year through an agreement with Visa Inc.

Switzerland’s largest watchmaker will start selling the device, called Swatch Bellamy, in those countries and gradually introduce it in other markets through the global partnership, which also includes Visa Europe Ltd., Swatch said in a statement Monday.

The timepiece functions similar to contactless bank cards, having a communication chip beneath the dial. Swatch said Oct. 14 it hadn’t yet reached an accord to allow it to start selling the watch in Switzerland after it signed such agreements with China UnionPay Co. and Bank of Communications Co. for it to work in China.

Apple Inc.’s entry into the timepiece industry has spurred the Swiss watch industry to respond. While some high-end brands such as TAG Heuer have decided to make a luxury smartwatch, Swatch offers electronic features in its less-expensive brands. The company sells Swatch timepieces that can serve as ski passes and Tissot watches that can tell altitude and operate as compasses.

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