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Swiss watchmakers show off a new line of smartwatches

Swiss watchmakers show off a new line of smartwatches

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Switzerland throws its hat into the smartwatch race

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Swiss watchmakers have laughed at the notion that the industry is in trouble due to the rise of smartwatches, and now we're getting a glimpse as to why they are so confident. Last night in San Francisco, a few Swiss watchmakers showed off what they've been working on to combat the influx of smartwatches from tech companies. Watchmakers Mondaine, Frederique Constant, and Alpine have partnered with Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT) to introduce three new smartwatches that straddle the line between traditional horology and technology.

MMT is a partnership between Silicon Valley-based Fullpower Technologies — the company's MotionX technology powers the Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband — and Union Horlogère Holding, which owns Frederique Constant and Alpine. The two smartwatches shown by Frederique Constant and Alpine will be marketed as Horological Smartwatches, but they are distinctly different. The Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch has a gold-plated case and is fitted with a brown leather band. The Alpine Horological Smartwatch is an all-steel design, with diamonds in place of hour markers. Mondaine has eschewed the Swiss Horological Smartwatch branding, and instead chose to release a new version of its Mondaine Helvetica Bold watch called the Mondaine Helvetica No.1 Horological smartwatch, with a brush matte steel case white watch face and a black leather band.

Frederique Constant's Smartwatch will retail for $1,295

While all three smartwatches are designed differently, they all have the same capabilities, thanks to MMT. Each watch can track your movement, steps, calories burned, and your sleep patterns, which is displayed on the companion app. And with batteries that will last over two years, this isn't something that you will need to charge every night. The downside is these smartwatches won't call you an Uber or let you know when you get an email, but Fullpower Technologies CEO Phillippe Kahn doesn't seem to worried about that. "There’s a group of people who will buy anything," Kahn told The Daily Dot. "But there are 6 billion people on the planet and they aren’t going to spend money on watches that need to be upgraded all the time."

These three watches are only a glimpse of the collection that will fall under MMT's Horological Smartwatch branding this year. The company will release 10 watches for men and women, according to Bloomberg. The gold-plated Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch will retail for $1,295, but prices for the other two watches haven't officially been set. According to Bloomberg, Frederique Constant and Alpine's smartwatches will start at $995, and watches from Mondaine's collection could retail for as low as $250, according to The Daily Dot. The rest of the collection will be unveiled in March as Baselworld.