Growing pains are likely to come with any emerging product category. While Android Wear can’t claim credit for starting the smart watch category, it can take credit for its skyrocketing popularity. The platform’s potential grows day by day in many different areas, though there’s one big area they nailed early on: customization.
Custom watch faces are awesome and allows users to have the watch they want with little ease, and the flexibility to change how said watch looks at the simple click of a button. Unfortunately that great power comes with some great responsibility. Luxury watch designers don’t like the fact that folks are making digital renditions of their timepieces and they’re not hesitant to let anyone know about it.
According to TorrentFreak, the legal hounds from IWC, Panerai, Omega, Fossil, Armani, Michael Kors, Tissot, Certina, Swatch, Flik Flak and Mondaine have been issuing cease and desist orders and takedown notices for sites hosting smartwatch faces that copy their watch designs.
One such site is FaceRepo, a great one-stop shop for Android Wear watch faces that we’ve covered here in the past. The website allows users to upload their watch faces for others to download. Many of the uploads are great, unique and original creations, though some look to do nothing but emulate existing mechanical watch faces through the advent of digital design.
The owner of FaceRepo understands the sort of trouble that can come from hosting watch faces like these, and he’s no less respectful of the plight of the aforementioned watch designers:
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.
Thankfully he responds to all valid takedown requests with compliance so his site won’t be under legal scrutiny and pressure. While there aren’t many other popular destinations for finding custom watch faces (Google Play being the obvious first stop for many), these companies aren’t shy in protecting their work in the early going and have seemingly issued a warning shot for anyone who might look to step on their toes in the future.