Valais watchmaker Soprod joins forces with LG to develop a smartwatch

Manufacturer Soprod has collaborated with South Korean giant LG to develop its latest smartwatch, which features analog watch hands on a digital display.

Supported by The Ark and the HES-SO Valais, Soprod contributed to the development of LG’s new smartwatch, the W7 | © LG

W7 is the name of LG’s latest smartwatch introduced two weeks ago in the United States, and the result of a collaboration between the South Korean manufacturer and Soprod. The Sion-based company conceived the analog part of the watch, which is composed of a micromotor with two hands and an electronic module. They also manufactured the clock hands and created the link between the analog and digital components of the timepiece.

The Valais foundation for innovation The Ark and the HES-SO Valais support Soprod, who employs 80 people in Sion.  “This is a big project for us. About 10 engineers have been working on it since 2016”, explains Denis Piquerez, director of Soprod. “The demand is there. Our tool distinguishes itself from other connected watches due to the presence of clock hands. It is the first product of its kind to merge analog and digital components on one same dial. Its lifecycle is also longer.”

A market with growth potential

Soprod manufactures thousands of parts every year. Digital technology is profitable and represents a significant part of its sales. On the connected products segment, Soprod also collaborates with companies such as Garmin and Withings (formerly Nokia Health). With 32 million units sold in 2017, the smartwatches market is booming. According to the Gartner research institute, worldwide sales should reach 81 million in 2021.

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