While Swatch has so far been pretty cautious in its approach to smartwatch technology and related gear, another high-profile watchmaker, Fossil, has shown a far greater willingness to embrace it, recently unveiling a bunch of high-tech wearable devices.
And if there happened to be any lingering doubts about the company’s commitment to the platform, they can now be put to one side with the news that it’s just acquired fitness tracker company Misfit, best known for its sleek and rather striking Shine devices.
The deal, announced Thursday, is worth $260 million and gives the Texas-based watchmaker access to Misfit’s tracking technology via its experienced engineering team, as well as its growing pool of fitness-focused customers.
For four-year-old Misfit, Fossil’s backing offers it security in a fiercely competitive market filling fast with similar gadgets all fighting for attention, while at the same time taking its technology to Fossil’s global customer base.
It’s going to be interesting to see precisely how Fossil incorporates Misfit’s technologies, though with both companies keen on stylish design, attractive-looking devices are virtually guaranteed. The watchmaker, which has only recently started to take a serious interest in the tracker and smartwatch market, said Thursday it plans to bring Misfit’s skill and know-how to a number of its brands as early as next year.
And don’t worry, Misfit fans, the California-based company isn’t about to be dismantled as a result of the deal – it’s promising to continue working as usual on its own line of activity trackers, so expect to see more fitness-oriented wearables down the road.
Fossil CEO Kosta Kartsotis described the deal as “a significant opportunity” to bring Misfit’s technology and connectivity to its platform of watches and accessories, adding that his company is now “uniquely positioned to lead the convergence of style and technology and to become the fashion gateway to the high-growth wearable technology and connected device markets.”
Fossil last month unveiled its first smartwatch and fitness trackers, a move that was followed soon after by a similar announcement by another big player in the traditional-watch market, TAG Heuer, which unveiled the Carrera Connected, the product of a collaboration with Google and Intel.