Swiss watchmaker Mondaine has come out with a new contactless payment technology for its smartwatches.
The Helvetica No1 will be the first smartwatch in Mondaine's lineup to be equipped with what the company dubbed "PayChip". The Helvetica watch brand is unique in that it is a smartwatch that presents an analogue readout of sleep and activity-tracking data, and it has a chip embedded within the watchstrap that can be used to pass payments with a simple wrist flick.
This smartwatch is also the first Mondaine product to feature near-field communications. Mondaine partnered with security software-maker Oberthur Technologies as well as Cembra Money Bank AG on this initiative that uses the same tech as most credit cards. All a customer has to do, for instance, is hover over a contactless payment reader and do a wrist gesture.
According to Mondaine, the PayChip is the same size as a phone SIM-card and is "invisibly secured within a specially-designed part of the Mondaine watch strap on the 12 o’clock side, or inside a strap loop which can be fitted to most watches." This positioning of the PayChip ensures that a wrist flick results in "uncomplicated payments at NFC pay counters worldwide."
A live demo of the PayChip will be shown off at Baselword, and during it, you'll be able to see contactless transactions for Starbucks purchases and more. Mondaine said it plans to expand this technology to other smartwatches in its lineup, though it wasn't too specific: "A number of Mondaine watches will be imbued with a Mondaine PayChip," Mondaine revealed.
Mondaine is just the latest Swiss watchmaker to adopt contactless payments in its smartwatch lineup, as Tag Heuer and Swatch have already done so, in an attempt to rival high-tech watches coming from Apple and Samsung.
Swiss watchmakers are standing out from rivals however in that they seem keen to maintain the classic aesthetics of a traditional Swiss watch while incorporating fancy features such as contactless payments.