John Gruber on the Swatch Group deciding to make their own watch OS:
Developing your own OS is hard. Most such efforts never really get off the ground (e.g. Samsung’s Tizen). Some get off the ground but never get anywhere (e.g. Windows Phone). It’s especially hard for a company that doesn’t already have experience developing software platforms.
A third-party watch OS is never going to have tight integration with phones running iOS or Android.
“Around the end of 2018” is a long ways off. I expect Apple to ship major updates to Apple Watch in September 2017 and again in 2018. So whatever Swatch is planning isn’t going to debut competing against WatchOS 3 and second-generation Apple Watch hardware — it’ll be competing against WatchOS 5 and fourth-generation Apple Watch hardware. Good luck with that.
Gruber is totally right. This is not going to work.
What would be super cool is if Swatch sold custom watch faces and bands for Apple Watch. Kids are all about retro fashion and the 90s is back, but Swatch could also offer more sharp, modern designs. There’s tons of possibilities. I’d love some funky Swiss faces and bands for my Apple Watch. It could roll out much the same way the Hermes partnership did.
Is this likely? No.
I would guess convincing Swatch to “collaborate with” Apple would be asking them to go against their watch philosophy. It’s very much like Nintendo. What makes Nintendo what they are is just as much about their fun hardware as it is their fun games.
Remember, it took 8 years for us to get just one Nintendo game on iOS.