Apple Replica Watch design story makes Swiss and Japanese traditionalists nervous

With the long-anticipated Apple Replica Watch now available to view and pre-order, and purchasing expected to commence this Friday, no one will be watching the take-up more closely than traditional replica watches brands. This was flagged at the recent Baselworld watch fair, where despite not being on show, the most talked-about timepiece was Apple’s newcomer, with opinions divided on the impact it will have on an industry dominated by the Swiss, and to a lesser extent the Japanese.

The head of LVMH watch brands Replica Hublot, Tag Heuer and Zenith, Jean-Claude Biver, told attendees Apple was unlike previous competitors in that “they make as much in a month as the whole Swiss industry makes in a year.” Apple, the world’s richest company, is a threat for another reason – it’s a “cool” brand, the likes of which the Swiss have not come up against before.

No one will be watching the take-up of the Apple Replica Watch more closely than traditional watch brands.

The Swiss are particularly vulnerable in the youth market where ‘brand’ cachet and wearable cred doesn’t extend to names like Jaeger LeCoultre, Breguet or Patek Philippe Replica – things your father might sport. But did Apple actually set out to achieve world dominance in swiss replica watches?

Apple designers at its Infinite Loop headquarters in Cuppertino are keen to stress they were in fact regular “watch guys”, who loved their Replica Rolexes and Tag Heuers. On the other hand it was obvious to the team when the device was first proposed by design head Sir Jonathon Ive back in 2011 that the next Apple device had to be wearable and the only natural place for it to sit was on the wrist.

This presented some unique challenges: they were working in the digital space, apps would be critical to the usefulness of whatever it was going to be, but the sheer physical restraints of the forearm meant simply adapting an iPhone-like interface was not possible.

Different design needs

The team quickly realised the face was “too small to pinch and zoom”, that your fingers obscured the display, and even that standard typefaces didn’t reproduce with adequate crispness. Thus Apple set to work experimenting with a replica watch-like crown, which ultimately became the Digital Crown, while typographers were brought in to craft a dedicated typeface that scaled up or down without loss of clarity.

While all this resulted in something that worked on a technical level – the crown alone involved decisions about resistance, how far it should protrude, the right number of grooves – the designers had to consider not only questions of fashion and style, hardly new fields for Apple, but also how the new device might feel against the skin – something they’d not previously had to prioritise. It was also decided the replica watches uk had to be independent of its partner in crime, the iPhone, at least for functions such as time, music and basic fitness functions such as measuring pace and distance.

Finally there was the question of how the fake watch might be attached to the wrist – and here’s there’s an intriguing Australian connection, namely Sydney-born internationally renowned uber-designer Marc Newson. Newson has more than dabbled in replica watches before; he set up his own up-market timepiece line, Ikepod, in the late 1990s, parting ways with the brand only in 2012.

Commentators have noted that bands of the Apple replica watch bear a striking resemblance to those the Ikepod uniquely sported, while the rectangular case-shape too is not unlike more recent Ikepod efforts. The puzzle – if you can call it that – is that Newson joined the Apple design team only moments before the fake watch was officially announced.

One explanation given is that Newson and Ive have long been friends, and had probably been scribbling away together at the dining room table for yonks – with Newson’s later official appointment merely confirming his earlier involvement.

New leadership

Another outsider brought in was Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who was recruited as senior vice president for retail and online stores. At the official launch of the replica watch in San Francisco in late March, Apple CEO Tim Cook said such appointments demonstrated the company’s understanding of the need for not just a different device, but a different retail experience, citing the desirability of “choice and soft expression”.

Whether a combination of clever product and soft-sell is enough to make the Apple a replica watch industry game-changer we’re about to find out. In their favour, the Swiss, and at the high end Japan’s Grand Seiko, produce hand-crafted timepieces of such quality and complexity that they should continue to win hands down when it comes to character and cachet. They are also largely obsolescence-proof.

As such, Biver feels that the real threat is to lower-end timepieces, not mechanical masterpieces. But a question remains: what if young people in particular become accustomed to having something more multifunctional on the wrist than a simple time-teller? Will they turn to the revered traditional brands, many of whom – Breitling, Bulgari, Tag Heuer, Frederique Constant – are now also working feverishly on offering various levels of connectivity, or will generation Y embrace a cheeky newcomer?

Given recent history – and the transformative effects we’ve witnessed thanks to the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, it’s a brave watcher who’d bet against the latter. Bani McSpedden is watch editor of The Australian Financial Review and; he travelled to Cupertino as a guest of Apple.

Glare of the spotlight


The reality is that politicians, as public figures, can no longer ask for privacy. After all, no one asked them to be politicians and they cannot cherry-pick their choice of publicity. WELL, it was only a matter of time before this came out. Images of Malaysian politicians wearing luxury replica watches, as well as cheap ones as a comparison, have gone viral on social media. Those named have chosen to remain quiet except for Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was clearly peeved.

He defended his purchase of three luxury swiss replica watches allegedly worth more than RM1mil in total, saying he was a corporate figure before becoming a politician. The Umno vice-president questioned the need for the Malaysian Crime Replica Watch Task Force (MyWatch) to monitor replica watches worn by politicians. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan also quickly defended himself on Twitter although he wasn’t highlighted prominently in the expose, saying he has never owned a RM40,000 Rolex Submariner.

Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin were implicated in the fake watch issue. Social media has become both a boon and bane to politicians everywhere. From their choice of restaurants to how they shop and what they want to buy, politicians and their spouses have never been so openly scrutinised. It is no longer about the paparazzi or press. Anyone who has a smartphone is able to capture anyone else in a public place and post that image online.

The reality is that politicians, as public figures, can no longer ask for privacy. Public figures only have public lives. After all, no one asked them to be politicians and they cannot cherry-pick their choice of publicity. Politicians with expensive replica watches uk are now the talking point of the Malaysian public, but they are not the first to come under such scrutiny. Four years ago, Chinese officials wearing such high-end fake watches found themselves being watched. An official of ministerial rank earned only RM50,000 a year, so questions were raised on how certain officials could afford luxury brands like Replica Rolex, Piaget, Omega and Cartier Replica Watches, which probably cost more than half of their annual income.

Those caught in the expose by the Chinese Internet activist included China’s railways minister Sheng Guangzu. Among the reported glittering timepieces identified by an activist when he zoomed in for a closer look at Sheng’s wrist were a Rolex Replica Oyster Perpetual DateJust, a Piaget Replica Altiplano and an Omega Replica Constellation. Together, these three timepieces were worth a total of 400,000 yuan (RM237,000).

Ironically, Sheng took over the job after the previous railways minister Liu Zhijun was arrested and investigated for corruption, with reports in China’s official media alleging that he had taken up to RM500mil in bribes. Sheng lost his job after the ministry was dismantled. Nearer to home, Indonesia’s military commander was photographed wearing a watch from Richard Mille brand’s Filipe Massa collection, reportedly worth more than RM360,000.

Gen Moeldoko quickly refuted the accusation, saying the timepiece was actually a cheap Chinese fake worth only five million rupiah (RM1,400). To prove his point, he removed his replica watch and showed it to reporters who were covering his press conference, saying “this is a Chinese-made fake watch… how could such a watch be original?” while slamming the fake watch onto the floor. A Singapore website had also shown photos of Moeldoko wearing other luxury replica watches.

Moeldoko appeared unnecessarily defensive as he actually comes from a very wealthy family with numerous land assets. In fact, he had reported to the anti-graft commission last year that he had assets worth about 36 billion rupiah (RM10mil). Back to Malaysia. There must be something about replica watches, especially for male politicians. There could be a correlation between an expensive watch and the male ego but for sure, a replica watch can land many male politicians into trouble.

Well, it happened to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in that infamous sex video involving a man resembling the opposition politician. To refresh our memories, a mysterious video purportedly featuring Anwar surfaced in Kuala Lumpur in 2011, allegedly showing him having sex with a Chinese woman believed to be a prostitute. The trio of Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, Datuk Shazryl Eskay and Datuk Shuib Lazim, who referred to themselves as “Datuk T”, showed the video to some members of the press, including this writer, at Carcosa Seri Negara.

The single luxurious fashion accessory that was mentioned was an Omega replica watch said to be worn by the man resembling Anwar on that day. One of the Datuk Ts was allegedly asked by the person in the video to pick up the replica watch, which the latter had accidentally left in the room. That Datuk T, who is actually Shazryl Eskay, claimed to have the replica watch in his possession before handing it to the police for further investigation.

Of course, Anwar was challenged to reproduce the infamous Omega replica watch but he denied that he was the man in the video. Anwar’s wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has insisted she has in her possession the expensive fake watch, which some said was a gift from a Saudi Arabian royal family burnished with a royal crest, but until now, no one has seen it. While Malaysians do not expect our politicians to live like paupers or lead a pretentious life of poverty, what most of us find hard to swallow is the flaunting of wealth. Such a blatant show of extravagance will certainly not go down well with most Malaysians struggling with their daily lives.

Malaysians already find it hard to understand why many of our politicians must go everywhere with an entourage – don’t these government officials or party leaders have work to do? If only they could emulate the likes of Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mustapa Mohamed and Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Wahid Omar and Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who are all so simply down to earth. Travellers taking the ERL from KL Sentral to KLIA have often seen Mustapa travelling alone with no hangers-on.

The reality is that political leaders are being watched closely – not just them, but also their spouses and children. And it is not just about what they indulge in, but also their behaviour. Our leaders need to stay connected to ordinary Malaysians. They need to be sensitive so that they can understand fully how most of us cope on a daily basis.

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.