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Positive Change with Pen & Paper

by J.Edwards

positivechange

If you happen to have been keeping an eye on the conversation that sprouted from this earlier post regarding the spare parts policies of several brands that sell their products in the United States, you may already be aware that the case for making parts available to watchmakers is being revisted in US courts this month. Although I am not American citizen and I do not operate as a watchmaker in the United States, the outcome of this case will undoubtedly have an impact on a more global scale. Especially for those of us who place orders with American watch part suppliers.

The last time this case went to court, the brands won out and those brands who have chosen to have been very successful in restricting parts from being supplied to third parties to repair and service their timepieces. The unfortunate result of this previous settlement has been the degradation in quality of service for brands that have chosen to restrict their parts, which in turn has yielded a souring effect on the unfortunate owners of their timepieces. Simple tasks, such as ensuring the water resistance of a particular timepiece can easily be executed by any capably equipped watchmaker as long as brand X is willing to supply the appropriate crown and gaskets. In cases where the brand chooses not to supply such parts, it can be impossible, at times, to achieve proper water resistance. When this happens, if the owner of the watch wishes to have the water resistance of their timepiece restored, they are forced to ship the watch to said brand. The client pays for shipping to and from the brand. The brand then charges an oftentimes exorbitant amount of money to reseal the watch and the client is more than likely stuck without their watch for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. All of this, when the parts could have been ordered, installed, and tested, on site – possibly for less than it would have cost the client to ship their watch, insured, to the company. This is just one the of many scenarios that we, as watchmakers, deal with every day and it needs to change. It’s bad business and our clients deserve better service.

The case is being re-opened in the courts on June 23rd. Myself and numerous other watchmakers have written letters expressing our concerns and hopes for the outcome of this case to the Honourable Judge Chen, who will be overseeing this case. Form letters have been made available by some watchmakers on their websites to aid others in writing letters. A sample letter for consumers can be found here and one for watchmakers is available as well. Andre Fleury, who has been diligently fighting for the cause, has also posted an emailable version on his website, which you can fill out in a matter of seconds if you are pressed for time.

If you have time to write, I encourage you to. Nothing says I mean it like good old-fashioned pen to paper. To aid you in writing effective letters, I also highly recommend trying to get your hands on a copy of The Oxford Guide to Effective Writing and Speaking, which has helped me considerably.

All letters should be addressed to:

US District Court Clerk
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 16th floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Be sure, as well, to quote case number CV 05 04525 EMC in your letter.

5 Comments

  1. Posted June 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Jon, Jp- Bravo!
    This is an intrinsic part of ‘Mafioso’ politics in watchmaking, and many good watchmakers have found that they are up against a collective ensemble of arm twisting and it hurts the ethics of the Industry very dearly.
    Andre, bless the man, has had the verve to take the fight to the Swiss watch companies, who operate in any flight of fancy land with no rules attahced save for saving their own skin.
    I have too, long tarried in taking a stance, and I will be writing an exhausting article very soon. Yes, I am concerned for the sake of preserving the long tradition of Swiss watchmakers, and Swiss watch training.
    Noone should be able to dictate the same, including all the biggies out there- no names mind!
    Cheers for the post, and for that matter, I will write and share this with Andre Fleury.
    Prem C.

  2. Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks Prem! I look forward to reading what you have to write in your article.

  3. Posted June 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ve posted my letter to Judge Chen and notified others here:

    http://www.watchandclockforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=6269

    Best,

    S.

  4. Posted July 6, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for that Shundi. Revisitation of the case was pushed back and, in the end, the motion to annul or revise the final settlement was rejected. You can keep an eye on the comments on this earlier post for more updates, from those closer to the case, as they progress.

  5. Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Is AWCI serious or just talk again????
    Here is my last letter to AWCI that will gives us the answer:

    March 24, 2014

    Dear President Yazijian, board members,

    I must commend you on your decision to discuss internationally, the parts situation involving over sixty Swiss watch companies.

    However, I must remind you that then AWCI President Warner and past President Cleves have signed a very controversial court settlement which protects Richemont watch companies from being sued again except by approximately three hundred of us. Since Richemont group is the major guilty company in parts restriction, and Mr. Warner, Mr. Cleves and Mr. Butterworth approved of this settlement, it will leave you without any bargaining chips so needed for expecting any changes about the parts restriction with the Swiss.
    Furthermore to have parts availability from all companies, now hiding behind this settlement, again not a Jury decision but a settlement between two parties, the settlement must be revisited.

    Therefore it is only logical, if you as AWCI President sincerely wish for a positive discussion about parts restriction, to investigate and find the truth of what happened that placed us all in this dire situation.
    Mr. Warner and Mr. Cleves, in their motion Doc. 231, irrevocably affirmed to Judge Chen a settlement recovery that brought “nearly ten million dollars” to the class and that justified the settlement. Were Mr. Warner and Mr. Cleves truthful in that above statement, and or did they knowingly mislead all for personal reason or benefit?

    It is unquestionable that the “nearly ten million dollars” recovery is yet to be seen and if untrue would give a huge opportunity to have that settlement revised. Of course you could be the one saving the membership and validity of AWCI, or you can choose as Mr. Butterworth did to protect Mr. Warner and Mr. Cleves and confirm how irrelevant and deceitful AWCI has become. If the latter is chosen it suggests AWCI is in collusion with Mr. Warner and Mr. Cleves to hide the truth about this settlement and that: “nearly ten millions recovery”.

    I trust you will be diligent and that parts availability is not like in the past, words without any meaning.

    Sincerely

    Andre Fleury

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