May 6, 2015 / 4:05 PM / 4 years ago

Swatch CEO says will release new battery for watches, cars: paper

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek poses with the new 'Swatch Touch Zero One' during the Swiss watchmaker's annual news conference in Corgemont March 12, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland’s Swatch Group plans to release a new long-life battery for smartwatches in 2016, the watchmaker’s chief executive told a Swiss newspaper.

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek also told Swiss weekly Handelszeitung the new battery would be applicable to cars.

“Whoever brings a battery for a smartwatch to the market that you don’t need to charge for six months has a competitive advantage,” Hayek said in an interview, extracts of which were published on Wednesday.

“We’re working intensively on this problem with our research group Belenos and battery producer Renata. Next year we will come to the market with a revolutionary battery, not only for watches but also for automobiles.”

A spokesman for Swatch confirmed Hayek’s comments.

In March, Swatch, world’s largest watchmaker, unveiled its riposte to Apple Inc’s smartwatch. The group outlined plans to put cheap programmable chips in watches that will let wearers make payments with a swipe of the wrist.

Reviewers of the Apple Watch were critical of the device’s relatively poor battery life, which is up to 18 hours according to Apple.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin, editing by David Evans

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