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'Access Cyberspace' With the Swatch .beat Sonic Watch


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Well here's something we didn't know existed! Sega has teamed up with watch maker Swatch to create a special Sonic-themed timepiece. It's called the "SEGA Sonic .beat Special", and is a version of Swatch's line of .beat 'internet watches' themed in the platforming star's classic red, white and blue design.

The main appeal of the .beat watch, according to Swatch, is that it can help tell the universal 'time' of the world wide web. So this Sonic watch includes 'beats', which is the equivalent of internet 'seconds', as well as the traditional time. It's all part of a broader partnership between Swatch and Sega that also involves Swatch Internet Time integration in Dreamcast games and other branding collaborations - the theme, according to the press release, being 'Access to Cyberspace'.

The watch also comes with a bunch of Sonic branding and packaging, which you can see below.


The watch was actually announced in February 2000 (way before this website was even made), so it's probably been kicking around for a while, but this is the first we've heard of it so we figured it would be good to talk about it - in case you wanted to go out and buy one. I know I would! There's a press release for this below.


February 24, 2000-Sega Enterprises, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan and SWATCH, A.G., Biel, Switzerland, the leading Swiss watch brand and inventor of Swatch Internet Time (measured in Swatch beats) today formally agreed to team up to develop ideas under the key concept, "Access to Cyberspace."

Sega Enterprises is the creator of Dreamcast, the revolutionary game console which became the world's first to incorporate a high-speed modem that brings Internet communication to homes round the world, enabling e-mail, web searches, multi-player games, TV phone, videomail and photomail via a simple, cheap Internet connection. Swatch having revolutionised the world watch market more than once became in 1998 timekeeper of cyberspace with Swatch Internet Time. The Swatch Access, a watch that "thinks", thanks to an integrated microchip, will once again change the habits of people in accessing the Internet world. The two companies will combine and integrate their enormous resources in Cyberspace bringing together two technologies to create unique interactivity.

This will see the integration of Sega's properties including Internet terminal Dreamcast services, characters and games with Swatch watches, including the Swatch beat product. The two companies are currently in the process of defining product profiles and marketing strategies in the following areas.

  1. The introduction of Swatch Internet Time, "beat", the standard time unit for the Internet invented by Swatch, into Dreamcast chat, e-mail and online Internet and network games promoted by Sega;
  2. The creation of a Swatch .beat watch integrating Sega's world famous corporate character, Sonic the Hedgehog;
  3. The provision of revolutionary products and services offering access to Cyberspace making the consumer's Internet experience more emotional and practical. This is focused on making Sega Dreamcast compatible with the Swatch Access technology and providing a new Internet service.

Dreamcast is a revolutionary digital entertainment machine for the new millennium. Dreamcast's 128-bit performance is based on cutting edge technology and immerses users in an astonishingly real 3D environment, providing the fastest game play ever developed by Sega. Dreamcast is the world's first game console to provide networking capabilities, which include e-mail, photomail, videomail, TV phone, Internet connection and multi-player gaming on TV. Currently, 30% of Dreamcast buyers worldwide, about 1 million people, have an Internet connection.

The company plans to ship a cumulative total of 6 million units worldwide by the end of March 2000 with cumulative total sales of 16 million units by the end of March 2001. Based on current trends, the number of Dreamcast Internet users at this point is estimated to be about 5 million worldwide.

Swatch is the most recognized watch brand and is a member of the Swatch Group, the world's largest watch manufacturer. Since its establishment in 1983, Swatch has sold over 300 million watches. The total revenue in 1999 amounted to CHF 3.626 billion, an increase of almost 11% on the previous year. The Group includes famous brands such as Omega, Blancpain, Rado and Calvin Klein, Breguet, and Longines.

Sega Enterprises Chairman and CEO, Isao Okawa commented, "We are delighted that Swatch has agreed to work with Sega and in particular with Dreamcast. The co-operation with Swatch will bring the potential of Cyberspace to game users and will enhance Sega's position as the undisputed world leader in on-line gaming technology. In the future, we will be able to offer a wider range of functions which will ensure that Dreamcast will continue to be the world's leading games console."

Nick Hayek Jr., President of Swatch concluded, "Cyberspace has no limits-nor does the potential of our Internet activities. Swatch is keen to make a further step towards revolutionising the way people access the web and Sega seems a natural partner with which to meet this challenge."

Professor Nicholas Negroponte, Director of the MIT Media Laboratory mentioned, "Little did we know at the onset that sponsor-to-sponsor relations would evolve into an important part of the Media Lab. Swatch and Sega are two of the most active sponsors. It is not surprising that they should find business affinities. Both companies are driven by strong leaders. Each is interested in both youth and lifestyle. Today's young people know them equally well. The Media Lab is delighted to be the midwife to such collaboration."

Image and detail via http://users.iol.it/tictac/Infor.html and SPOnG (Press Release)

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