Though Rolex did not respond to request for comment, a few of the faces on FaceRepo.com appear to resemble the brand’s Oyster Perpetual but with the crown logo and Rolex name all but removed. Photo courtesy of FaceRepo.com
New York--Richemont and Swatch Group are among the watch brand owners that have sent cease-and-desist letters in an effort to stop the creation of virtual versions of their famous faces. 

Last week, A Blog to Watch ran a story about the growing variety of digital faces available for smartwatches, some of which are reproductions of existing mechanical watches including Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual and the Omega Seamaster. Business Insider picked up the story and used the headline, “You Can Trick Out Your Smartwatch To Make It Look Like A Rolex.” 

This, apparently, isn’t entirely true. 

Swatch Group confirmed via a spokesperson that it did indeed send cease-and-desist letters to “certain web platforms” promoting watch face apps mirroring watches produced by several of the group’s brands, adding, “The Swatch Group is strongly committed to protecting its brands’ trademarks, designs and their copyrights and, therefore, cannot tolerate such non-authorized digital replicas of its products.”

While Richemont declined to comment, the man who operates one of these watch face websites, FaceRepo.com, confirmed via email Monday that he has received cease-and-desist letters from IWC and Panerai (both Richemont owned);  Fossil, Armani and Michael Kors (all Fossil owned); as well as Omega, Tissot, Swatch, Certina and Flik Flak (all Swatch Group owned.) 

FaceRepo is a website created to allow smartwatch wearers to browse, share and download various faces for their AndroidWear devices and smartwatches that are compatible with Google’s Android operating system. Individual designers submit the faces, and the site is not affiliated with Google or any one smartwatch brand.

FaceRepo.com’s owner, who would give his name only as Luke to protect his privacy, said that they have removed “several faces” from the site. Though he did not provide specifics on the number or brands, he noted, “To date, all requests for removal of infringing material have been satisfied within a matter of hours.” 

Luke added that the people who uploaded the infringing faces were notified, and repeat offenders will be barred from adding content to the site. 

“It has never been (and never will be) FaceRepo’s goal to provide a harbour for infringing content,” he said in a statement shared with National Jeweler via email. “Although some 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.” 

Rolex was not among the brands from which Luke said FaceRepo reported received a cease-and-desist letter. Rolex did not respond to request for comment but, as of late Monday afternoon, what appeared to have once been virtual versions of the brand’s Oyster Perpetual watch face had had the “Rolex” name and crown logo blurred.  


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