Late last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a company earnings call that the Apple Watch was generating more revenue than every watch brand other than Rolex. Quartz has argued previously that Swiss watchmakers will not be able to compete against the Apple Watch, as Apple is working with a much larger pool of potential customers.
Now it seems that the industry is following an age-old adage: If you can’t beat them, join them.
H. Moser, a high-end Swiss watchmaker, released the Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz this month, a line of mechanical watches that look almost identical to the Apple Watch’s unique rounded-rectangle face. In a press release, the company compares the design to “a smartwatch which is powered off or on standby.” The release goes on to lightly taunt Apple’s fondness for minimalist designs, and the awkwardness of using the Apple Watch’s tiny screen to actually try to do anything:
Behind its contemporary design lies a 100% mechanical watch. The black dial—stripped not just of any signature, but also of its indices—is strictly minimalist. On this model, there is no interface: the Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz is designed to display the time, something it does beautifully. Seemingly simple, it is anything but.
At the heart of the Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz, the HMC 324 form movement beats with the rhythm of the balance wheel’s rotations. In response to the cold electronics of connected watches, H. Moser & Cie. presents the soul of mechanical watchmaking. With a minimum power reserve of 4 days, fully rechargeable by hand, it couldn’t be further from the world of the smartwatch.
Apple wasn’t immediately available for comment on its thoughts regarding the similarity between its wearables—which cost anywhere between $200 and $1,500—and a watch that Bloomberg reports costs roughly $27,000. I might have to pick one up.