Swatch Brings Contactless Payments to the Wrist with the Bellamy NFC Watch

Equipped with an NFC chip for wireless payments, the Swatch Bellamy will be rolled out in early 2016 first in China, followed by Switzerland and the United States.

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek (left) at the launch of the Bellamy

The Swatch Bellamy is the watchmaker’s first foray into the world of smartwatches. Named after American author Edward Bellamy, whose 1888 novel Looking Backward foretells the debit card, the Bellamy wristwatch is a typical colourful Swatch, but one fitted with a near field communication (NFC) chip. The NFC chip allows the wearer to make contactless payments at merchants with the appropriate terminals, much like how some newer credit cards (like MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave) can be waved over a reader for payment. The Bellamy will work in a similar fashion to the Apple Pay service bundled with the Apple Watch and iPhones, but its availability will be limited initially. Bellamy wireless payments will be available in China starting January 2016, with Swatch partnering with China UnionPay to roll out the service across the country.

China UnionPay is the Middle Kingdom’s only bank card organisation, and one of the largest in the world, having some five billion cards issued. The watches themselves, however, will be sold by Bank of Communications, one of the largest banks in China with over 2700 branches.

The Bellamy will subsequently be available in Switzerland and then the United States. Update December 4, 2015: Swatch has recruited Visa to be its contactless payment partner, starting in early 2016 in the United States, Switzerland and Brazil.

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Tudor Introduces the Heritage Black Bay Black (with Prices)

Tudor expands its line of retro-style Heritage dive watches with the Black Bay Black, featuring a black bezel and gilt dial, making it the truest to the original vintage Submariners.

The one of a kind Black Bay One created for a charity auction was a precursor to the Black Bay Black, the third in Tudor‘s Heritage series of dive watches inspired by vintage Tudor Submariners. Predictably, the new Black Bay Black shares the same specs and features as the original Black Bay as well as the more recent Black Bay Blue, with its key distinguishing feature being its black bezel. Black with a red triangular marker at 12 o’clock, the bezel of the Black Bay Black is arguably the most traditional amongst the Heritage dive trio. The dial is the same gilt dial as found on the original Black Bay, with a matte black finish featuring golden lettering and gold-plated indices and hands.

The case is exactly the same as the other Black Bay watches, 42mm in diameter with the ETA 2824 inside – using the new in-house movement as done with the second generation Pelagos would have been a huge upgrade. As is convention for Tudor, the Black Bay Black (reference 79220N) is sold either with a leather strap or steel bracelet, both of which are accompanied by a fabric strap woven on traditional Jacquard looms in France.

The look is attractive but lacking in imagination. That being said, it is modestly priced, as is typical for Tudor, so creativity isn’t essential. Its price is exactly the same as the other Blak Bay variants: in the United States it’s US$3100 on the leather strap and US$3425 on the steel bracelet, while in Singapore it’s S$4248 and S$4680.

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