This is not the first time that the Royal Oak design has been ripped-off. It is one of the most copied watches in the industry. Higher-end brands do not rip off each other's designs. I am sure I define "higher end" different than others out there but anything whose starting price is around $500-$700 I consider "higher end". There are a few exceptions to this rule such as the Frederique Constant Classics Index Auto vs. Patek Philippe Calatrava. We all know that of course the FC rips off the PP. The thing that Audemars Piguet got mad about though is that SWI (Swiss Watch International), who runs World of Watches, was selling a Swiss Legend Trimix for around $150-$200. A Royal Oak retails for around $15,000 and AP was saying that the Trimixs design was a trademark violation. The judge ruled in favor of AP because he said that there was no major differences between the two watches. The subdial layout is different but the case, the main part of the aesthetic of the watch, is almost an exact match and the bezel is that instantly recognizable octagon. SWI said that an octagon was one of the few possible shapes for a watch and that AP has no right to trademark it. The court, as the title suggests and as I mentioned earlier, ruled in favor of Audemars Piguet, who was suing for 9.8 million dollars in damages. In addition, SWI must remove all the existing watches Swiss Legend Trimix from their website and from other retailers such as Amazon. SWI says that they plan to appeal the verdict. Personally I agree with the decision. If both watches were seen from a distance of over 5 feet there would be no way to tell them apart just because of the same font numbers on the dial, the same case, the lugs that attach the bracelet to the case and the bezel (of course!) seals the deal for me. What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments.
Some information gathered from: http://www.nationaljeweler.com/watches/brand-profiles/Audemars-nets-Royal--2285.shtml
Jake Fogarty is the founder and writer for most of what you will read here. If you want to contact me you can visit the contact and advertising page.