The logo of Swiss knife manufacturer Victorinox is pictured at a shop in Zurich April 7, 2015.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The logo of Swiss knife manufacturer Victorinox is pictured at a shop in Zurich April 7, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (Reuters)

Swiss Army Knife Maker Plans Foray into Smartwatches: CEO

Features Reuters

Swiss army knife maker Victorinox plans to unveil its version of a smartwatch by the start of next year, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

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Swatch, the world's largest watchmaker, announced plans last month to put programmable chips in watches so wearers can make payments with a swipe of the wrist, while Tag Heuer, French luxury group LVMH's biggest watch maker, will launch a smartwatch later this year to compete with the Apple Watch.

"Our concept is something approaching a smartwatch," Victorinox Chief Executive Carl Elsener told Reuters by phone, confirming comments reported in a Swiss newspaper.

Elsener, whose great-grandfather Karl founded Victorinox in 1884, told the Aargauer Zeitung the firm would present the new watch at the end of the year or early 2016 at the latest.

"We're looking ... for the opportunity to expand the functions of our watches. But at the same time the watch must have a long lifespan compared to a mobile phone or a computer," Elsener was quoted as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

Elsener also said Victorinox had raised prices by up to 10 percent in the euro zone, responding to the Swiss franc's surge in January when the central bank abruptly abandoned its efforts to cap the currency.

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(Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)