Versace, Ferragamo, and Valentino are making watches that work as credit and transport cards – and you can use them worldwide from 2020

The tech-enabled watches will look exactly the same as regular versions.
Mastercard

Want the convenience of a smart watch but hate their rigid designs?

Good news – starting next year, upmarket fashion brands like Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino will offer analogue watches that double up as credit and public transport cards.

Business Insider got to see the watches at a preview during the Singapore Fintech Festival on Monday (Nov 11).

Here’s how they work:


Starting 2020, Timex Group will sell branded analogue watches that have tech capabilities.

The watchmaker supplies to luxury brands like Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Valentino. It also works with fashion brands Ted Baker, Nautica and Guess.

caption
At the showcase, there were also other tech-enabled accessories like sunglasses, bracelets and key rings.
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Timex will offer wearable tech versions of some of the brands’ top-selling designs on its site for about US$20 more (S$27, RM83).

At the preview, there were tech-enabled watches from Guess, Versace, and Saga.

caption
Customers can also opt to buy just the strap, instead of the entire watch.
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

The special watches contain a super-thin, bendable chip embedded in the strap, which wearers can link to a Mastercard or bus/train card.

caption
Just like with a regular credit card, if a user loses the watch, they must report it to their bank.
source
Mastercard

The chips, developed by wearable tech firm Tappy Technologies, were invisible from the outside.

caption
This means the tech-enabled watch looks exactly the same as the regular version.
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

However, they did have a Mastercard or WiFi logo etched on the inside of the strap.

caption
Once the strap wears out – which can be as often as every year for leather straps – buyers have to replace it.
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Tappy is looking to partner other payment providers in the future, including Visa, Amex, and UnionPay, CEO Wayne Leung told Business Insider.

caption
A look at Tappy’s chip, embedded in the temple of a pair of sunglasses.
source
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

By 2021, the chip will be able to store 8 cards, including loyalty cards from various brands. Users can toggle between them via a tiny button, Leung revealed.

caption
An app will manage the cards associated with the chip.
source
Mastercard

Tappy is also expanding to tech-enabled rings, bracelets, sunglasses and keychains.

caption
For bracelets, the chip will be hidden in a chunky bead, a rep said.
source
Mastercard

Read also: