Swatch, the worlds’s largest watchmaker by revenue, has teamed up with Visa for its new “pay-by-the-wrist” watch, a device that allows customers in the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland to make contract-free payments with their wrists, the watchmaker announced on its website.
Called the Bellamy, after Edward Bellamy — an American writer who predicted credit cards well before their time — the watch uses a near-field communication (NFC) chip that allows the wearer to make payments at certain card merchant readers. This is different than Apple and other smartwatches that use the Internet to utilize their features.
The Bellamy is expected to hit stateside retailers early next year. This move comes after Swatch unveiled the watch in China in October. Although the price hasn’t been set for American customers, Chinese consumers will pay 580 yuan — the equivalent of approximately $91 —The Wall Street Journal reports. This is significantly less than the $349 price tag for Apple’s smartwatch and is also cheaper than models from LG, Samsung and Motorola. But comparing the Bellamy to these other smartwatches isn’t exactly an apple-to-apple comparison. Swatch’s gadget only offers the payment option, while other models track health, provide a mode of communication and allow music streaming, among other features.
Mobile payment technology continues to evolve, and this simple analog is both a throwback and a piece of impressive tech.