Apple Watch Alternative – 3 of the Best


Apple Watch face 2

In terms of user-friendliness, fitness sensors and way cool apps, Apple’s smartwatch has got it wired. If you want a quartz, mechanical, meca-quartz or Spring Drive Apple Watch alternative, the world is your [Rolex] oyster. If you want a totally rad anti-Apple Watch alternative walk this way . . .

H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Limited Edition – $21,950

H. Moser & Cie Apple Watch Alternative Playboy bunny

Assuming you have enough funds in your digital wallet to buy 55 Apple Watch 6’s, the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Limited Edition is the obvious choice. H. Moser & Cie’s Apple Watch-shaped watch (38mm x 44mm) is a two-handed, two-fingered V sign to Cupertino’s world dominating wrist-borne computer.

H. Moser and Cie made just 20 Swiss Alp Limited Edition watches; a few have made their way onto the gray/pre-owned market. And don’t worry: the watch only looks like the Playboy bunny logo a few minutes before “happy hands.”

Apple watch alternative - Moser caseback

The H. Moser & Cie HMC 324 hand-wound in-house movement behind the exhibition caseback is a drop-dead gorgeous symphony of meticulously assembled parts. And not a single AMS NFC signal booster in sight!

An alligator died for the Swiss Alp’s strap but not in vain. The Swiss Alp’s band is an extravagant combination of black leather and blood red suede. You can also swap it out for the $399 Hermes Single Tour Apple band, creating even more of the [nudge-nudge] “confusion” that makes the HM&C Swiss Alp an ideal Apple Watch alternative.

Ha Ha Bird Abacus Wristwatch – Nothing Much

Apple Watch alternative - Abacus watch

The Abacus Wristwatch is a roll-your-own production by Nathan, following-up on his popular Abacus bracelet. That too-wood-for-its-own-good creation lacked the high-tech Apple Watch alternative vibe we’re looking for. The pseudo titanium Abacus Wristwatch nails it.

No nails involved. Just computer downloads (, 3D printing, glue and some little bitty beads. Oh, and don’t even think about making an Abacus Wristwatch without first purchasing a pair of precision pliers.

Next question: do you know how to use an abacus? Wear Nathan’s creation and someone’s bound to ask for a demo. Here’s an explanation via

Suppose you want to add 2,364+3,473. To do this put 2364 on the abacus [as above]. You need to move 3 to the center on the right-hand string. There aren’t three singles. Instead, you can move a 5 to the center and move 2 1’s back. Move 2 ones and one 5 to the center on the tens string. You have two 5’s on the tens string so you can regroup. Move the two 5’s on the tens string away from the center and move a 1 to the center on the hundreds string. Now you need to move 4 to the center on the hundreds string. To do this move 5 to the center and one away from the center on the hundreds string. Last step: move 3 ones to the center on the thousands string. You now have five ones at the center on the thousands string, so you move them away and replace them with a 5. 

Got it? Sure you do. Hence the invention of the Siri-enabled Apple Watch (“2,364 plus 3,473 is 5,837”).

If you make and use an Abacus Wristwatch, remember to keep your wrist VERY steady when channeling your inner Babylonian. What does this miniature calculator have to do with telling the time? Well exactly.

23 Jewel Ball Hamilton Grade 999N Pocket Watch – $3,750


No matter how weird or fancy schmancy your traditional wristwatch, it’s not really an FU to Apple. It’s a petulant “I don’t need you so there, nuh” statement. You can’t get any more “I don’t need no stinking smartwatch” than pulling out and consulting a fully functional pocket watch.

They don’t come any more minimalistically magical than this Ball Hamilton railroad watch, courtesy The Pocket Watch Guy.


From its flawless dial, to its beautiful blued hands, to its immaculate and accurate movement, it is the ultimate embodiment of Webb C. Ball’s fanatical attention to detail.

The 999’s rose gold-filled case – complete with the sought-after stirrup bow – deserves special consideration. It is, in a word, magnificent. Another? Unmolested. A perfectly preserved home for a highly-prized 23-jewel, open face, level set masterpiece, one of just 800 made that year.

999 locomotive

Bonus! What can you say about an Apple Watch? Check it out? The Ball pocket watch affords you the opportunity to regale unsuspecting admirers with stories of train wrecks death, perfidious railroad magnates, rapacious entrepreneurs, marketing genius (the model was named after the 1893 locomotive world land speed record holder) and technical innovation.  

And there you have it: three small steps away from Apple, one giant leap for Luddite kind.


  1. I’ve always laughed at the haughty folks who sniff derisively as they declare “watches are obsolete (‘cuz I have my phone).”

    I guffawed when I recalled this sage admonition, “watches are obsolete”, as I recently learned that a watch bloggo-dealer, named after what sounds like a euphemism for a pecker, was valued at $100MM.

    • The Hodinkee valuation, putting it at roughly the value of three Patek Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010s, has more to do with Fed policy than justifiable value based on discounted future earnings. Everything is overpriced. The deranged valuation of commodity metal basher Tesla is going to drag down returns on the S&P 500 for more than a decade. Good for Ben Clymer, but before people get too excited about the Hodinkee valuation they should remember Movado paid $100 million for MVMT.

      • I learned everything I know about valuation on “Shark Tank” and “Pawn Stars.” Actually, a pretty good education on the subject! I agree that it’s all overpriced. Crazy.

        Movado jumped on a MVMT grenade. Whoops.

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