We've seen some ludicrous luxury watches in recent years, and the cost of living crisis certainly doesn't seem to be dissuading watchmakers from outdoing themselves. H. Moser, the company that gave us a watch made from cheese (it's based in Switzerland), has now made a watch that demotes telling the time to an afterthought, putting the focus on an elaborately engraved QR code that looks like it's made out of fuse beads.
The name of the timepiece? It's called the ‘01100111 01100101 01101110 01100101 01110011 01101001 01110011’. And while, there aren't quite as many figures in the price tag, it still makes the best Apple Watch Ultra prices look like absolute bargains.
The name, in binary code, translates as 'Endeavour Centre Seconds Genesis’, which isn't a whole lot catchier than the ridiculous list of zeros and ones. The 40mm case isn't made of cheese this time but titanium and steel. But the dominating feature of the design is a dial and the 3D-printed bezel that looks like a Pacman maze but is actually QR code painted in satin grey and Vantablack – famous for being the darkest man-made substance.
H. Moser is keen to point out the QR code does have a function. Scan it with your phone and it will open an app that provides 'access to NFTs' including an NFT 'documenting the birth of their watch'. Users can also activate the e-guarantee and e-insurance for their watch and can visit a virtual chalet in the metaverse... and buy more watches.
Those seem like somewhat limited functions for such a domineering design feature, and it's not entirely clear what advantages are of this elaborate mechanism. H. Moser says it worked with Deloitte and the Aura Blockchain consortium, to develop a "consumer focused" ecosystem. But it looks suspiciously like an absurdly expensive gimmick. On the video, it looks like the QR code practically obscures the watch hands, making it a device useful only for activating insurance, looking at NFTs and buying more watches. I think I preferred the cheese watch.
Only 50 Genesis watches are being produced, and the price is CHF 27,000, about $29,000. The promotional video all feels very earnest, but the Swiss Mad cheese watch shows that H. Moser is company with a sense of humour so perhaps the whole thing is intended as an elaborate satire (see our pick of the best satirical ads for more of that).