Famed for the mechanical precision of their expensive timepieces, luxury Swiss watchmakers are now embracing smart technology to fight off the challenge from Silicon Valley.
The deeply conservative industry has long avoided new technology.
But the success of the internet-connected Apple Watch appears to have prompted a rethink.
At this year’s Baselworld gathering of Switzerland’s top timepiece-makers, smart watches were the stars of the show.
Frederique Constant claims its Hybrid Manufacture, which features a sleep tracker, is the world’s first smart watch powered by a spring mechanism instead of a battery.
Hublot’s Big Bang Referee, which will vibrate after each goal in this year’s World Cup, was launched by its ambassador, the sprinter Usain Bolt.
Mondaine unveiled the Helvetica Regular, which displays emails and has a step counter.
However, Apple sold 20m of its smart watches last year – about as many as Switzerland’s entire output.