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Watchmakers are cracking down on bootleg smartwatch faces

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 24, 2014
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Did you get a G Watch R or Moto 360 and promptly give it a watch face that simulates a mechanical timepiece? Don't count on doing that again. TorrentFreak understands that watchmakers like Omega, Panerai, Swatch and Tissot are sending takedown requests to sites hosting smartwatch faces that allegedly violate "trademark, copyright and design rights." The companies aren't speaking on the record, but this is more about legal obligation than attempting to protect sales -- if they don't crack down on bootleg digital faces, they'll have a harder time taking action against real-world counterfeits.

FaceRepo and other affected watch face hosts are usually quick to honor these requests, and they're implementing filters to prevent troublesome uploads. With that said, some of these watch faces are still relatively easy to find. I quickly spotted a Moto 360 replica of Patek Philippe's Grandmaster Chime, an ultra-rare watch whose real version costs a whopping $2.6 million. It's doubtful that watch brands will sue as long as their takedowns succeed; many of these faces are available for free, and it's doubtful that there are any lost sales when many of these analog watches are far more expensive than smartwatches. Still, it's clear that watch face piracy is going be a problem for a long time to come.

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