As smartwatches based on Android Wear and other operating systems continue to proliferate, users have been increasingly looking to download digital likenesses of high-end watch faces onto their favorite wearable tech devices. The luxury watchmakers behind the real-world design of the digital "fake" versions are now attempting to put an end to those creating smartwatch clones of their products, according to TorrentFreak.

Last week, Apple released its WatchKit developer tools, allowing developers to begin creating apps for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Those developer tools do not currently support the creation of custom watch face designs, but it is possible they could do so in the future once Apple begins supporting fully native Apple Watch apps next year.

Companies including IWC, Panerai, Omega, Fossil, Armani, Michael Kors, Tissot, Certina, Swatch, Flik Flak, and Mondaine are sending cease-and-desist notices to websites, and even individuals, thought to be offering faces for Android Wear and other smartwatch platforms without permission. The watchmakers are citing various registered trademark, design, and copyright violations.

Richemont, the company behind IWC, Cartier, and Panerai, is one of the front-runners of the legal action and is giving owners of the pirate watch face sites as little as twenty-four hours to remove all infringing content.

Screenshot (5)
TorrentFreak spoke with Luke, the owner of FaceRepo, one of the watchface download sites targeted by pirate allegations. He voiced support of the anti-piracy steps being taken, and detailed the use of a keyword filter they use that helps stop infringing content before it can even be uploaded. Users are also notified if their created designs are infringing copyright, and goes so far as to deactivate accounts of repeat offenders.

“Although some of the replica faces we’ve received take downs for are very cool looking and represent significant artistic talent on the part of the designer, we believe that owners of copyrights or trademarks have the right to defend their brand,” Luke explained.

“If a copyright or trademark owner contacts us, we will promptly remove infringing material. To date, all requests for removal of infringing material have been satisfied within a matter of hours.”

Apple itself hasn't even become a player yet in the smartwatch market and has already faced allegations such as these. Back in 2012, the Swiss Federal Railway service accused Apple of copying its iconic railway clock. A few months after the allegation, Apple reportedly paid the company $21 million for the rights to the clock face design.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

DanielSw Avatar
99 months ago
That's a lot for a watch face...

No it isn't, mainly because you don't know the intended usage, nor the terms of the licensing agreement.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rossatron Avatar
99 months ago
Well that's just stupid, most high end watch faces are standard and used among many brands.

that is untrue on so many levels
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
99 months ago
That's a lot for a watch face...

And stupid considering they ditched it in iOS 7.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
99 months ago
That's a lot for a watch face...

That's because someone at Apple messed up and used the design, and _afterwards_ Apple paid for a license, from a very very bad negotiation position. It would have been a lot less if Apple had negotiated first and signed the contract and _then_ used the design.

Let's say you drive away in my car in front of a dozen witnesses. You are caught and you say "I didn't want to steal that car, I wanted to buy it and used it for a test drive. How much do you want for it"?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
99 months ago
Why can't all companies sit down and establish some kind of standard together for plain smartwatch faces? (standard 12/24 hours clock with the date)
Then everyone's watch would look double-plus identical.

----------

The killer app for smart watches will be watch face editors. You want a Mickey Mouse watch with the bloody hands from Escape from Tomorrow? Just rip the images from websites (or make your own), and assign them to the relevant parts in the editor.

Well maybe not a killer app, but the smart watch equivalent of ringtone editors.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lincolntran Avatar
99 months ago
ah

And welcome to the world of Android :o

The wild west where laws are optional?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

home app ios 16

Apple Confirms iPad Will No Longer Be Supported as a Home Hub in iOS 16

Wednesday June 22, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
The iPad will no longer be able to be used as a home hub following the launch of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and the HomePod 16 software this fall, Apple confirmed today. As discovered in iOS 16 code by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, Apple says that the iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub. This information will be displayed in the Home app after updating to iOS 16.A home ...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hints at AR/VR Headset: 'Stay Tuned and You'll See What We Have to Offer'

Wednesday June 22, 2022 6:34 pm PDT by
CEO Tim Cook this week did an interview with China Daily, where he once again commented on on the future of augmented reality and hinted at Apple's work on an AR/VR headset. Render via designer Ian Zelbo Cook said that Apple is excited about the opportunities available with augmented reality, which is not too far off from prior comments that he's made, but he went on to say that people should ...
customize wallpaper setting ios 16

iOS 16 Beta 2 Tidbits: New Wallpaper Colors, Backup Over LTE, SMS Filtering and More

Wednesday June 22, 2022 2:16 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, and the new betas introduce new features and refine some of the changes that Apple made with the first iOS 16 release. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Lock Screen Photo Wallpaper Customization When customizing a photo on the Lock Screen, there are two new DuoTone and...
Shazam Music Recognition Control Center

iPhone's Built-In Music Recognition Feature Syncs With Shazam App on iOS 16

Tuesday June 21, 2022 7:37 am PDT by
Since the release of iOS 14.2 in 2020, the iPhone has included a built-in Music Recognition feature in Control Center powered by Shazam. And with iOS 16, and also the iOS 15.6 beta, the feature has received a small but useful upgrade. As noted by Twitter user @someone_andrew, songs identified with Music Recognition in Control Center finally sync with the Shazam app. It also remains...
2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers

Wednesday June 22, 2022 10:07 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming two weeks after Apple unveiled the new software at WWDC and released the initial betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. Given...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple Rumored to Announce 'Game-Changer' AR/VR Headset in January 2023

Friday June 24, 2022 2:52 am PDT by
Apple is "likely" to announce its long-rumored mixed-reality headset as soon as January 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated. Concept render based on purported leaked information by Ian Zelbo In a detailed post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple's headset will be a "game-changer" for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market. Describing some of the headset's...