Market watch: Tesla shares jump after company unveils ‘Model W’ timepiece on April Fools

Tesla's Model W watch (Tesla Motors)
In the eyes of investors, Tesla Motors can do no wrong. A blog post unveiling the company’s “Model W” ‒ a watch ‒ sent stocks surging momentarily… until, perhaps, people actually read the post that referred to an orangutan and Big Ben.

Joining the online April Fools Day fray mere minutes before the stock market closed on Wednesday, Tesla announced “a whole new product line called the Model W.”

“As many in the media predicted, it's a watch. That's what the ‘W’ stands for,” the company wrote. “This will change your life. Reality as you know it will never be the same.”

Screenshot from teslamotors.com

The Model W’s specs include knowing the date as well as the time, and being "available in platinum!" It’s also “infinitely adjustable, able to tell the time no matter where you are on Earth. Japan, Timbuktu, California, anywhere!”

It even has the ability to “dramatically improve your health. If you work out.” However, Tesla did mention a slight drawback with the watch’s design, warning that the “current version requires wrist strength of an Orangutan.”

The announcement came five minutes before the closing bell, and in the next minute, Tesla stock jumped about $1.50 ‒ approximately 0.75 percent ‒ from the previous minute, with about 400,000 shares traded during that time.

The Model W caused the heaviest one minute of trading volume in the company's stock since February 12, Reuters reported.

The wire service was one of at least two news organizations that jumped on the Tesla announcement before realizing what Wednesday’s date was. That increase came after Tesla revealed a plan to produce battery packs strong enough to power houses within six months.

"We have withdrawn the headlines and regret putting out the material," a Reuters spokeswoman said.

The prank came just days before Tesla competitor Apple is set to begin pre-orders of its Apple Watch on April 10. The two companies are contending on at least two different fronts: Apple is developing an electric car to compete with Tesla Motors vehicles already on the roadway, and it has also been accused of poaching employees from Elon Musk’s company. For its part, an unnamed Apple employee told Business Insider that Tesla employees are jumping ship voluntarily.

Of course, Tesla denied there was any truth that the Model W was a jab at the Apple Watch.

"This is in no way a competitive response to what some other company is doing," Tesla concluded its blog post.

But the Model W wasn’t Tesla’s only April Fools joke on Wednesday. It also released a video about a software update for its Model S, which was already set for an upgrade at the beginning of April and another one over the summer that will allow for a self-driving mode.

The gag video reveals a “ticket avoidance mode” for the Model S, allowing the car to prevent a meter maid from placing a parking fine on the windshield by setting off the wipers. And if that fails, it will just drive itself away from the scene of the crime.

Tesla shares reached a high of $188.50 on Wednesday in the minute after the announcement, but lost that value almost as quickly, closing the day at $187.59, or 0.63 percent lower than they were at the end of the trading day on Tuesday.

Screenshot from teslamotors.com