As smartwatches continue to nibble away at the market share of traditional mechanical timepieces, Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie is sticking with the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach with the latest version of its Apple-inspired Swiss Alp Watch that now even includes a mechanical spinning loading icon.
When the Swiss Alp Watch first debuted back in 2016, it was even introduced with a tongue-in-cheek video parodying Apple’s product launches. But it wasn’t just Apple’s marketing that H. Moser was aping. With its boxy case, the Swiss Alp Watch looked like a clone of the Apple Watch, but only on the outside. Inside was a genuine Swiss movement that needed winding to keep the timepiece’s only ‘application’ — telling the time — working. Just 50 of them were produced, with a price tag of $US25,000 ($32,838) to appeal to devoted horology enthusiasts wanting a wearable statement about not jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon.
Five years later, H. Moser has revealed what it’s calling the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade — another jab at Apple’s annual upgrade cycle for its smart wearables. The always-visible face of the original Swiss Alp Watch is a dead giveaway that it wasn’t from Apple, but it’s harder to tell the Final Upgrade from the most recent Apple Watch iterations.
The reflective face of the original Swiss Alp Watch has been painted over using the same light-absorbing (over 99% of visible light) Vantablack paint that caused a museum visitor to fall into an eight-foot hole that looked like it was painted onto the floor. Paired with hour and minute hands painted black, it makes the Final Upgrade look like it’s sporting a genuine OLED display.
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While the first Swiss Alp Watch used a smaller traditional watch face to display the movements of the timepiece’s second hand, on the Final Upgrade, it’s been replaced with a spinning gradient disc revealed through a series of apertures that recreates the loading icon most often seen on Apple’s smartphones. But underneath the face, you’ll find H. Moser’s Calibre HMC 324 movement that runs for about 96 hours between windings.
Like the original, the Swiss Alp Watch, Final Upgrade is being limited to just 50 pieces — but they’re now priced at $US30,800 ($40,456). For that much money, you can buy almost 40 of the most expensive Apple Watch Series 6 models and wear a different one each day for well over a month. But while the Final Upgrade lacks apps, it will run longer than the Apple Watch before needing a power-up.