Updated: Sep 3
The Swatch Group SA is a multinational company headquartered in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.It is the largest watch company in the world.It produces a wide variety of watches (Swatch, Flik Flak, Omega) and manufacturing elements for them.
Internet time was introduced and marketed by the Swiss group in 1998.One of the main objectives of this concept was to have a universal time by abolishing any notion of time zone.In this system, the hours, minutes and seconds are replaced by a unit called "Beats".A 24 hour day corresponds to 1000 beats.
Sega used internet time for its Phantasy Star Online online games released in 2000 to facilitate intercontinental games between the Japanese, Americans and Europeans.Metroplis Street Racer also seems to have benefited from the Swatch Timing.
On February 14, 2000, Swiss watchmaker Swatch and Japanese video game maker Sega announced a technical cooperation agreement in Tokyo.The goal: to develop a range of new products capable, on the Internet, of ensuring the marriage between a watch and a video game console.Swatch and Sega believed that it was possible to communicate a watch and a video game console through the Internet.
The launch was scheduled for April, May with an introductory price of around 120 - 155 Euro.
Swatch had a watch called "Access" equipped with a memory, like that of a computer, which could record data. This series of watches had two types of chips inside: a SkiData chip, which made it possible to'access to different ski resorts, and a chip that allowed you to pay for all kinds of things like drinks, museum passes or public transport.
Sega wanted to allow the watch to use the full potential of the Dreamcast game console.
The user of a watch could have read the information contained in its memory by plugging into connection points installed by Sega in cinemas, museums ect in order to connect to the DC via the net - deanywhere!
By using "Internet & Wearable" technology, the Swatch Access watch would have interfaced with the Dreamcast via a controller plugin using RFID technology (technology which makes it possible to save and retrieve data remotely on so-called chips.or RFID tags or radio tags) inside the watch.
The Sega network connected watch project came to a halt along with the Dreamcast project, with the death of director Isao Okawa.
Response from the Swatch Archivist:
"Knowing the (proven) technology used for this connection, it is likely that the prototype was functional; it remains to be seen whether the network itself had been tested. I do not know and I have no documentation on this subject.. In my opinion, the shutdown of the project is not due to a technological problem but mainly linked to the shutdown of the Dreamcast. "
Swatch's searches are currently unsuccessful, with the exception of their contract with Sega.There will certainly not be more, albeit with a little luck !!!
Fingers crossed to know more !!!
The only product that came out on the market was the Swatch Sonic The Hedgehog (SQK101), in 2001.
A prototype console limited, the Dreamcast "Swatch Club" was presented at a press conference.Its production phase never started.Its location still remains a mystery.Does it still exist where it was destroyed ?
Sega Japan may well have the answer !!!