Of all the responses we've seen to the Apple Watch, from both the tech industry and traditional watch makers, this might just be the most committed. Luxury watchmaker H. Moser & Cie has unveiled what it's calling the Swiss Alp Watch, a timepiece that looks near-identical to the Apple Watch but that is, shall we say, unapologetically mechanical. As is made clear in the Alp Watch's promo video (complete with Apple-like product close ups and voiceover), the timepiece offers "no phone, no messaging, no sketches or heart beats to send." It'll never need upgrading and it can always be powered up with a twist of the (non-digital) crown. Its creators urge viewers to "get a life, upgrade to a mechanical watch," before ending the video with what sounds very much like someone taking a bite out of an apple. As marketing goes, it's not subtle.
The Alp Watch is a tongue-in-cheek response to the smartwatch era
According to watch blog Hodinkee, the Alp Watch "looks and feels just like the Apple Watch on the wrist, and in fact is the same size as the 38 mm variation." Hodinkee reports that 50 units of the watch are available in white gold for $24,900 (that's several thousand dollars more than the 18-karat gold Apple Watch), and points out that H. Moser isn't one of the giants of the Swiss watchmaking industry — it's a small business that produces around 1,500 watches a year. With that in mind, it's more appropriate to think of the Alp Watch as a tongue-in-cheek joke rather than a bitter jab at Apple.
"The Swiss Alp Watch is symbolic. It represents our resilience, our ferocious desire to fight for our values and traditions. It embodies everything we believe in," says H. Moser's CEO Edouard Meylan in a press release. "[It] does not allow you to make calls, or send messages to share the latest gossip; it does not give you the option to send beautiful sketches [...] It does much more than that: it lets you reconnect to what matters in life. It takes you back to sharing emotions with your nearest and dearest without a filter, interface or embellishment."
And who knows, even for $24,900 there are bound to be some customers who will buy the thing just to be able to correct people. "An Apple Watch? Oh, no, I wouldn't dare: this is an Alp Watch."