Pay For Groceries With Your Contactless Watch?

Contactless Watches Are On The Way

Some of us are only just getting used to paying for things with contactless credit cards! Now it seems that contactless watches are on the way!

The original Timex Fairfield Contactless Watch

Barclays has a contactless payment service called “bPay“, which allows you to pay with, “your keys, your wrist, or just about anything – giving you choice over how you pay and making buying fun, fast and secure”. How exactly does that work…?

Well, for goods £30 and under, wherever you see the contactless symbol you can use a pre-paid bPay account that links to most major credit or debit cards. The trick to keeping fraud levels low is the phrase, “pre-paid”, which means you can only lose as much as is in the account. Apparently there are 400,000 locations in the UK currently accepting contactless payments.

bPay actually has their own online store where you can buy contactless items, from wrist bands and watches to keyrings and stickers! Each device you buy is valid for at least two years, then has to be replaced, so they’re naturally fairly low-cost items.

It seems that bPay wants to reach a wider audience, so has teamed up with watchmakers to offer “wearable payments” in watches and timepieces. The brands are GUESS watches, Mondaine, Timex, Kronaby, Suunto, ADEXE and LBS. This expansion builds on the success of the initial Fairfield Contactless watch created in partnership with Timex (shown, right).

To modify an existing watch, you can obtain a bPay payment chip, which looks like a bit like a SIM card, insert the chip into a loop, and slide the loop onto the strap of the watch…

bpay contactless payment watch strap

From the press release…


The growing appetite for wearable payments

These agreements come as data from Barclaycard’s latest Contactless Spending Index shows that wearable payments are surging in popularity, as spending via bPay jumped 129 per cent year-on-year in 2017*. This spike in usage indicates not only an increased demand by consumers to pay quickly and easily, with ‘touch and go’ saving seven seconds per transaction compared to chip and PIN, but also a desire to opt for a contactless payment method which best suits their needs.

Adam Herson, Business Development Director, Barclays Mobile Payments said:

“Consumer appetite for wearable payments is reaching critical mass, and we’re proud to be meeting this growing demand with the help of our industry-leading partners. Thanks to the range of products these agreements will bring to market, customers will be able to buy a watch or fitness tracker that not only suits their taste, but also unlocks benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases.

“Whether buying a bottle of water when out for a run, or a newspaper on an afternoon stroll around the city, today’s shoppers are looking for ‘built-in’, seamless payment experiences. Our game-changing, flexible bPay chip means we can transform any traditional timepiece into a smart device – without sacrificing style.”


This creates a whole new dimension for custom watches!

British Watchmaker Announces Garrick S1

Garrick, the specialist English watchmaker, has announced a new, limited-edition, hand-made skeleton timepiece called the S1.


Only ten S1 watches will ever be made, and there’s only one currently in existence. When you consider that, and the stunning looks of the watch itself, you can be sure it’ll be a highly coveted item.

In fact, it takes four months to make each individual watch by hand, in Garrick’s UK workshop.

As Garrick says, “The dial freely discloses a plethora of gears. Each gear is cut, finished and assembled by hand. Prospective purchasers are able to choose from a selection of different hand styles. Both the hands and screws are thermally blued, consistent with fine watchmaking practice. A small seconds display and power reserve indicator occupy the upper portion of the dial.”

Did you note the customisable nature of the watch? Yes, here at Custom Watches we don’t miss a trick! You can choose from different hand styles! 🙂

The only drawback to this magnificent piece of British engineering is the price… just £27,995, inc VAT.

But if your pocketbook can stretch to that, Garrick also offers a fully bespoke service where “clients can express their own character, specifying design details which are important to them”.

Here’s a look inside the Garrick workshop, courtesy of BusinessInsider…


Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph

One of the most famous names in watches is that of Vacheron Constantin. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, they claim to be the, “world’s oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operations since 1755“!

Naturally, their watches are stunning, and come with equally impressive price-tags. Take, for example, this “Overseas Versatile Elegance” watch, shown in the video, below…

If you go to the website, the current price for that watch is £27,100 (guide price, tax included).

Why would you pay such a premium price for a timepiece? Well, perhaps because you want to be inspired by the evocative history of the Overseas brand, which includes the fact that it’s,  “… designed to suit an active lifestyle, it inspired the 1996 creation of the first Overseas models, powered by the spirit of travel and openness to the world. This remarkably technical collection soon became a touchstone for the Maison. Its dynamic lines, its signature bezel and its solid caseback adorned with a depiction of the famous Amerigo Vespucci three-masted ship are an open invitation to travel the seven seas. Vacheron Constantin has gradually developed the identify codes of this line over the years, such as the metal bracelet introduced in 2004 and featuring a motif evoking the Maltese cross brand emblem. In 2016, the new-wave, Hallmark of Geneva-certified Overseas is casting anchor in the 21st century.”

The Hallmark of Geneva is a certification given to only watches made in Geneva, Switzerland. (“The characteristics require, at a minimum, that the watch was made in or made on commission by a qualified Genevoise craftsman from the City or Canton of Geneva.”)

Seal of the Canton of Geneva
Seal of the Canton of Geneva

The Hallmark of Geneva applies to the whole “Overseas” collection, certifying a, “four-fold consumer guarantee of provenance, resilience, accuracy and expertise, the Hallmark of Geneva establishes high production standards serving to achieve the best possible results in terms of reliability and aesthetics, while ensuring respect for traditional hand workmanship as well as the transmission of these skills. Vacheron Constantin is its most loyal representative since 1901.”

Overseas chrono blue 5500V
Overseas chrono blue 5500V

The watch movement is, “the result of a five-year development process, this 263-component calibre is fitted with a column wheel coordinating the chronograph start, stop and reset functions, as well as a vertical coupling clutch preventing any jerking of the hand when the chronograph starts. A signature feature of new Vacheron Constantin chronographs, the column wheel is adorned with a screw shaped like the Manufacture’s signature Maltese cross emblem. This movement is equipped with a twin barrel enhancing its torque and its reliability while ensuring over 50 hours of power reserve. Protected from magnetic fields by a soft iron ring, it powers the hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph and date indications.”

Overseas chrono bleu 5500V
Overseas chrono bleu 5500V

In addition to the movement, the watch consists of a, “silver-toned or blue dial adorned with sunburst, snailed and velvety finishes. The gold facetted hands and hour-markers hands are coated with a luminescent material ensuring optimal readability.

The Overseas Chronograph comes in a stainless steel or 18K pink gold 42.5 mm-diameter case. Its screwed-down pushpieces, crown and caseback guarantee water-resistance to 150 metres, while its transparent back reveals a 22K gold oscillating weight adorned with a wind rose. The new stainless steel models are each delivered with three interchangeable bracelet/straps: a steel bracelet with an easy-fit system, along with rubber and leather straps. The two latter are fitted with an equally interchangeable stainless steel folding clasp. The pink gold model comes with two straps: one in leather and the other in rubber, both fitted with an interchangeable pink gold folding clasp.”

If you want a more personalised watch, and have the necessary funding, you can take a look at the custom watch service offered by Vacheron Constantin! 🙂