There’s a new “most expensive smartwatch” on the block: an Apple Watch with a twist. Actually, a pair of twists, because it isn’t made by Apple and it isn’t a smartwatch at all. So what gives? The Swiss Alp Watch is a self-confessed statement against smartwatches that costs more than any of them.
As the company behind the Swiss Alp Watch, H. Moser & Cie., notes on its website, the threat of the smartwatch revolution is of grave concern to the Swiss watch industry. There’s more than a hint of fear in the statement, pointing out the fact that even the highest turnover of a Swiss watch maker pales in comparison to just the R&D budget of the smartwatch industry.
But there are also quite a few digs in the statement as well. The Swiss Alp Watch is absolutely a mechanical watch in the Swiss tradition, but it unashamedly imitates the appearance of the Apple Watch. But H. Moser and Cie. don’t stop there, subtly taking TAG Heuer to task for its “opportunistic approach to combin[ing] tradition with technology”.
“Rather than create a model with an electronic heart trying to look like a mechanical watch”, the Swiss Alp Watch does the opposite. You can decide for yourself if simply doing the inverse of what TAG Heuer did with the TAG Heuer Connected is any braver or more true to tradition, but at the very least it’s clever.
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If the smartwatch revolution really does mean the end for the Swiss watch industry, H. Moser and Cie. is definitely going out swinging. Or being sued, as the case may be. It will be interesting to see if Apple takes as much offence to non-tech companies ripping off their intellectual property as it has with the likes of Samsung and HTC. If you’ll sue for rounded corners on a smartphone, one can only assume this blatant a rip-off won’t go unnoticed.
But you have to give the company credit for not sitting idly by as times change without them. The company perhaps justifiably pats itself on the back for “fight[ing] for the values underpinning the reputation of several centuries of Swiss watchmaking”.
At the same time, smartwatch users get a slap on the wrist for disconnecting themselves “from what matters in life”. There’s even a funny Apple-style product video, complete with Jony Ive-esque narration and jokes about the revolutionary power source at your fingertips (you need to wind a mechanical watch, remember?).
Whether anyone will actually buy one of the limited edition Swiss Alp Watches we can’t say. But with a $25,000 price tag and a limited run of only 50 timepieces, the Swiss Alp Watch is also borrowing Apple’s exclusivity angle as well. How will this all play out? Only time will tell.