Swatch Group to Make Car Batteries Despite Dismal Results and Investor Doubt

Investor scepticism is no deterrent to the watch conglomerate's venture into electrical vehicle batteries.

First revealed by chief executive Nick Hayek in 2015, the Swatch Group’s investment in batteries is going full steam ahead, despite considerable scepticism from investors, reports Reuters. The owner of brands like Omega and Longines has long dabbled in other technologies, including solar powered plans and the Smart microcar it codeveloped with Mercedes-Benz, but watches are still its dominant source of earnings.

With an ambitious goal of selling US$10-15 billion of batteries by 2020, the watchmaker’s venture will focus on batteries for electric vehicles, a market that analysts agree will be vast but one that’s exceptionally competitive. While the technical details of Swatch’s batteries are skimpy, the group did reveal prototypes of the vanadium pentoxide batteries are being made at Renata, the watch battery subsidiary of Swatch.

According to Hayek, whose family is secure in their control of Swatch, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Chinese car maker Geely earlier in 2016, though the carmaker’s spokesperson commenting in the Reuters article was noncommittal.

The investment in batteries is going ahead despite the group’s lacklustre financials: Swatch posted a 50% fall in first half profit in July 2016, reflecting the woes of the larger industry. Hayek has further irked investors by refusing to cut jobs, which its rival Richemont has been swift to do (leading to protests). Consequently Swatch shares have underperformed Richemont, and now trade at a 15% discount to its rival.

Source: Reuters

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Introducing the Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light “Deep Grey”, a Featherweight in High-Tech Ceramic

Rado's compact, affordable and very lightweight wristwatch gets a new dial.

First introduced at Baselworld 2016, the Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light is a shockingly light timepiece, weighing just 56g or 2oz – the equivalent of 10 sheets of printer paper. While the first version had a somewhat faint dial design, the new HyperChrome Ultra Light is more resolutely styled.

The HyperChrome Ultra Light “Deep Grey” features a symmetrical, two level dial, with horizontal steps visible through apertures on each half of the dial. That’s matched with contrast minute track, baton numbers and larger hands than before, giving  the dial a functional feel. Both the hands and hour markers have Super-Luminova filling, giving them nighttime legibility.

Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light deep grey 2A

But the case, which is the highlight of the watch, remains exactly the same as before. It’s 43mm in diameter and made of silicon nitride, a dark grey ceramic that’s extremely hard but light. Both the bezel and case middle are a single piece of ceramic, with titanium inserts on each flank of the case band, while the ceramic case back is secured by four screws.

Visible through the display back is the ETA A31.L01, a self-winding movement that’s an reworked ETA 2892 with a lengthened power reserve of 65 hours (versus the usual 45 or so). More notable are the aluminium bridges, which have been finished in a matte black. They replace the usual brass bridges and help trim the weight of the watch.

Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light deep grey 1

Price and availability 

A limited edition of 300 pieces, the HyperChrome Ultra Light “Deep Grey” (ref. 766.0069.3.115) is priced at US$2850 or S$4420. It’s available at Rado boutiques and retailers.


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