The designers at struggling manufacturer Motorola appear to have been taking their minds off the financial crisis by designing an ostentatious gadget, revealed this week as the Aura.

Featuring craftsmanship inspired by high end watches, the Aura claims to “mark the return to the golden age of hand crafted design”.

In keeping with the watch inspiration, it also claims to be the first device to feature a circular display. Although, 20 plus years of rectangular displays suggests there’s a reason why circular ones never took off.

That same display also boasts a Grade 1, 62 carat sapphire crystal lens, housed in stainless steel and supported by a Swiss-made main bearing to produce a sliding ‘blade’ mechanism, which is “more like opening the door on a luxury car versus accessing a mobile phone”. All the gubbins inside are also protected with the same coatings used in high performance racing engines.

The luxury phone will start shipping on December 4, for the luxury price of $2,000.

We’re not about to tell Moto how to run its business, but surely its time would be better spent knocking out more affordable, mass market devices. After all, second quarter sales at the Mobile Devices segment slipped 22 per cent year on year to $3.3bn, while the operating loss widened to $346m, compared to a loss of $332m a year ago.

The appearance of the Aura also reveals that the company has still got designers capable of churning out something other than endless revisions of the RAZR. Maybe if they could be coerced into working with less pricey materials, such as plastic, or recycled cardboard, all would not be lost.