Art is a lie. Nothing is real. No, I haven’t disappeared up my own ironically detached, painfully post-modern backside. Rather, it’s tough to not be cynical in the year of Brexit, Trump, Ronaldo winning an international tournament and the false dawn of an Arsenal title challenge.
My sense of wariness has only increased with some of the timepieces released this year and, this week, we will talk about three that are not necessarily awful – in fact, in a way I love them – but leave one feeling slightly dirty for liking them.
We begin with the H Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch S. Yes, it looks like an Apple Watch. And yes, that’s deliberate. What started as an elaborate joke (we think, although, as I said, art is a lie, nothing is real) has now become something of a hot seller for H Moser.
The original Swiss Alp Watch was released in January as a humorous riposte to the Apple Watch that has been stalking the Swiss watch industry like Banquo’s ghost. H Moser initially released an Appley press release and video and created 50 pieces, presumably as a novelty never to be repeated. Fast-forward six months and, having sold out, H Moser has eschewed all attempts at satire and created the Swiss Alp Watch S.
Now, let’s get the bad out of the way first. The “joke” in aping the design of the Apple Watch as well as the way the po-faced tech company markets its products is, let’s be frank, pretty lame. But, if you can look beyond that, the Swiss Alp Watch S is simply a beautiful timepiece. The gorgeous midnight-blue dial has a smokey effect and wonderfully catches the light. The other highlight is the oblong shape, a novelty for an H Moser watch that really is something to continue. And, of course, for the purists, inside is an in-house HMC 324 calibre movement that pumps out four days of power.
For guys who like the class and virtue of mechanical watchmaking, the Swiss Alp Watch S is a defiant two fingers to technology. However, be warned: it will cost you a lot more than the Apple Watch. The Swiss Alp Watch S is priced at an eye-watering HK$195,000.
Next up we have the Gorilla Fastback, the first watch from Octavio Garcia since he left Audemars Piguet. I’ve talked about this timepiece with a few people and it’s a “Marmite” – you either love it or hate it.
I love it, I’ll confess, as it’s ridiculous, has a nifty design and, best of all, is priced at US$880, making it a viable second watch. The movement is nothing to write home about and the features are pretty standard, but everything focuses on the automotive-inspired dial and the carbon-fibre case.
The in-your-face design isn’t for everybody but it’s certainly different and will attract attention. The watch is limited to 500 pieces.
Finally, a time zone piece from Aerowatch that caught my eye recently. Aerowatch is a brand I don’t pay much attention to, but the Renaissance 7 Time Zones has me so flustered, I can’t work out whether I hate it or like it.
The practical benefits of such a watch are obvious – it has time zones clearly marked for seven cities – and that’s about it; the rest of the watch is pretty meh. It does look rather striking but I still haven’t worked out whether that’s in a good way or a bad way.
The Renaissance 7 Time Zones is priced at €3,300 (HK$27,850).