A collaboration between a smart payments company and Swiss watch manufacturer has yielded a new technology that could be headed to your next wearable – NFC infused glass.
It’s been worked up by a UK-based smart payments app company called Muchbetter and Winwatch, a manufacturer based in Switzerland.
The Muchbetter Watch, as it’s been dubbed, is Winwatch’s first device.
It’s just an analogue device, not a hybrid smartwatch like the Fossil Hybrid HR, but uses STISS payments glass, which is a super-strong sapphire crystal glass panel infused with payment technology. Sapphire crystal is the preferred choice of the Swiss watch world, due to its near-diamond resistance to scratches.
The watch itself has a 41mm case and is water resistant to 50m. It looks pretty slick too, costs 295CHF and as you’d expect, is guaranteed to be assembled in Solothurn, Switzerland.
The payment chip and antenna are concealed within the glass watch face, and it works with Mastercard, which means that the MuchBetter watch can be tapped to pay – once it’s been paired with the company’s app. You’ll need to deposit money into the Muchbetter wallet via the smartphone app, rather than just pair your card like Apple Pay.
We can’t see the watch pushing too many numbers or challenging the Apple Watch quite yet – but the technology might interest companies looking for a way to get NFC into wearables without adding extra bulk.
The Swiss industry has toyed with NFC straps – as we’ve seen with Swatch and Mondaine – and many have experimented with ways of assuming some of the features of smartwatches. And mobile payments is one of them.
Getting the payment tech into the glass would be an interesting way to do it.