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It’s almost game over for spare parts in every brand


horologist
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First it was Rolex that stopped supply of parts some 25 years ago!


Then omega followed the same trend about 5 years ago!  Yet you could still get parts for Longines when this happened,even though they were still also part of the SMH group, but then most eta parts were also unavailable!  
 

One company that still offered parts until recently was Zenith until I enquired with them to nay a dial and they said “No”. This was devastating for me as  they had vintage dials in stock going back to the late 1950’s!  This is almost game over for me!

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I do not blame you at all.  It is the one and only reason why I staggered into replicas and Frankensteins.

 

Now Bulova, one of my favorite brands, is refusing to sell parts.  I do not know if it is Citizen policy or Bulova USA policy, and do not know if the Citizen brand sells parts in the USA or not.  I have quite a few vintage Bulova watches and parts for them are still relatively easy to find on the 'net or from old school watch shops/traders, but their modern watch parts policy is now:  'NPFY'.

I say to modern Bulova...No partee 4 mee = No Bulawatchee 4 mee = No Monee 4 you.  FU2.

 

As for rlx...

I am slowly getting all rlx watches running or at least in one piece, then I will sell them all.  Next...sell all the cases, dials, bracelets etc.  Last...sell all movement parts to someone in the repair trade or a supply house. 

Have not decided about 2 or 3 F-steins with genuine movements, probably part them out.

 

I understand why various brands will not sell parts to just anyone, but my guess is the real reason behind it all is to force owners to send their watches to 'factory authorized repair facilities' for high $$, slow, and sometimes shoddy service.

A monopoly in other words.

 

Omega...gave up on them in 1997.  Bought a few low $$ bargains since then.

Vintage Val etc powered chronos...Adios at the same time.  Now have one vintage two register chrono and a few Val/ETA 7750 watches, do not wear them.

Bulova Accutrons...same fate, same point in time but have accumulated a few bargains since then.  I am Not an 'Accutron Accumulator' by any means.

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I can see both sides. Still, with impetus from the ever-willing/improving Asian Switzerland, I think the brands are creating a rift between themselves & their buyers, which is never a good thing. Making gen ownership more difficult while the Asians are making their copies more accurate -- both aesthetically & functionally -- cheaper & accessible cannot end well for the brands. Any of them, including Rolex.

With rep factories like Noob having recently reverse-engineered the 4130 calibre to a fairly accurate degree -- sufficient to replicate OEM feel/function & accept many gen parts as drop-in replacements -- I think it is only a matter of time until traditional Rolex/Omega/Bulova, etc. buyers realize that high-end reps that offer 98% of the overall gen look/feel/experience for a fraction of the gen price make more sense than dealing with ADs, wait (& permission) lists & grey market scalpers (who often charge 2x retail). As it is, I recently read that more than 50% of the 'genuine' Rolex Daytona 116500LNs being displayed on Instragram are Noobs! I have no way to verify that, but I do see alot of Rolexes online that contain tells indicating their source was likely far east of Switzerland.

On the other hand, I can appreciate the frustration of ADs, who are stuck between brands trying to protect their investments/intellectual property & buyers, who are feeling used/abused for the opportunity of having to fund the whole mess. I get that the brands just want to sell (new) watches. After all, that IS their business. But, as was the case with mp3 downloading, Napster & the record companies many years ago, I think the brands need to find a way to co-exist with (& profit from) the reality of a 21st Century luxury watch business that includes cheap CNC production, 3-D printing & global communication. I just do not see a way to have a successful business model based on exclusive distribution channels while those channels are inherently distributed & impossible to control.

Remember IBM thinking they could market a PC & use their clout to maintain control of the PC market? Then, companies like Compac reverse-engineered the PC & produced a better PC for less money with more features? Well, I think history is about to repeat itself. As I posed elsewhere, what happens when (not if) Noob (or someone like them) begins offering spare parts &/or (reasonably priced) service for their reverse-engineered Rolex calibres? Of course, the question is completely rhetorical, because I think we all (including Rolex) know the answer. This is the ultimate nightmare for Rolex & the other brands --
Daytona Gen vs Noob

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“Rolex sells every watch they make”

 

so they say?  

the trick I have seen with boutiques (of whatever kind )to rise prices and sell at those prices is; in creating an artificial shortage as to entice potential buyers sitting on the fence to swing towards queuing up and paying big £££€€€$$$$ for something they would still be be in two minds about!is a plus plus for the seller!
 

Make it hard to get and make it look rare, is a strong psychological power game!  Similar to how the fashion industries work but slightly different!

 

Has anyone ever questioned who is the real power broker behind the replica industry?  Is it a group of pensioners/enthusiasts running a hobby farm from their back yard sheds? Really? Some of the equipment to make these high quality elaborate replicas can be as expensive as those used. by genuine production  factories themselves! Who in their right mind would have that sort of capital.to risk running & losing millions only to be caught and shut down to lose it all!!  Certainly not me or any entrepreneur that has better and safer ways to invest their nest eggs!! Then the  giveaway to this (-if  we were to consider this a conspiracy theory) is why are these replicas never made to be exactly 1:1? Do you think it is because they are too stupid or not skilled enough to replicate them 1:1 with the modern technology that exists if they can get this far doing a great job? Or are they purposely made that way so that they can be purposely distinguished by those that know them well like most of us here and the owner who probably owns the factory that makes both the genuine and the replicas?? Food for thought!

 

The noobmariner F520117 in my opinion was one of the closest replicas ever made to the 16610 for the money you paid!  Yet the crystal sizes are remarkably different by a mm, I believe this was done on purpose, not by lack of skill or design?  As long as you can fool the masses, then ever  Tom and Harry is happy!😃 

 

let’s not forget that fake items are also good advertising for the genuine brand if the genuine brand markets for two different leagues of consumers!

 

Yes, then Rolex does sell every watch they make!

 

the above is my opinion and my opinion only!

 

nuff said!

Edited by Timelord
Grammatical errors
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"Some of the equipment to make these high quality elaborate replicas can be as expensive as those used. by genuine production  factories themselves!"

 

My (educated) guess is some of the replica cases/bracelets/dials etc. are made in the same facilities that make cases/bracelets/dials etc. for genuine brands and the machines are programmed to make extremely accurate replicas during late hours etc. 

 

Example...Swatch and many other swiss brands have cases/dials/bracelets etc. made in China,  I remember about ten years ago when eBay was flooded with steel 'Tissot' quartz chronographs, new with B/P for about one third of the genuine watch price. 

The quick and easy way to tell the replica from a genuine watch was the price.  I had one, ETA movement and all, it even had a 'Tissot' owner's manual and 'History Book' with it.

Here is a genuine example in case anyone sees one for sale...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJwoiiu0kYE

There was more than one grade of these replica chronos, mine must have been from the top of the heap.

 

China, Taiwan, Vietnam and a few other countries have factories that can make any of the watch cases etc. as accurate to genuine as the guy paying for them wants them to be.

Take the USA for example:

No doubt a first class job shop could duplicate a rolex case to 100% perfection.

Q...Why has it not been done on a large scale, that we know of?  

A...Because labor here is many times higher than China/Taiwan etc. so it is not worthwhile.  It is also more risky because RUSA would chase them down one way or another as soon as word got out.  No one can keep a good secret.

RWC does not have much clout in China/Taiwan/Vnam.

 

This brings me back to the genuine rolex replacement '444' cases...a detailed Yuki 5512-5513 case (for example) from a few years ago with a '444' serial number would more than likely pass for genuine.  I saw a few at a watch show with genuine movements, case tubes/crowns/dials/hands and no doubt they would pass as genuine. 

Q...How do I know they were not genuine?

A...I knew the guy who had them.

 

I used a Yuki case for an example because other than a few small details, they are the spittin' image of a '444' case.

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On 11/25/2022 at 5:38 AM, automatico said:

I

 

My (educated) guess is some of the replica cases/bracelets/dials etc. are made in the same facilities””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

 


I could not have put it better myself!  Makes perfect sense!  If Benetton can have some of their products made in Bangladesh, then why is there such a taboo with other luxury exclusive products?

 

Big brands prey on small minds!

-analogous to what has happened in the world in the last 3 Years where the cat has slowly crawled out of the sack !

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On 11/23/2022 at 1:17 PM, freddy333 said:

I can see both sides. Still, with impetus from the ever-willing/improving Asian Switzerland, I think the brands are creating a rift between themselves & their buyers, which is never a good thing. Making gen ownership more difficult while the Asians are making their copies more accurate -- both aesthetically & functionally -- cheaper & accessible cannot end well for the brands. Any of them, including Rolex.

 

Amen. I can't tell you how many AD's I have gone to trying to purchase a 126610LV. Most wouldn't even put me on a list. Resellers have had the market drop on them a bit, but it's still a 50-60% markup over MSRP.

I bought a VSF, originally just as a placeholder. After getting it and wearing it regularly, I have stopped looking to buy the gen. The VSF is close enough, and a very good watch in it's own right.

Maybe TC was the smart one. Go to the top level rep factories, get them to custom build you a high quality version of a popular rep, changing out enough parts to get past the "copyright/patent" issues. Sell them at higher than rep price, but less than a name brand gen.

Edited by tomhorn
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3 hours ago, tomhorn said:

I can't tell you how many AD's I have gone to trying to purchase a 126610LV. Most wouldn't even put me on a list. Resellers have had the market drop on them a bit, but it's still a 50-60% markup over MSRP.


I think the major brands are going to have to rethink their marketing strategies before they alienate their existing & potential customer base. Unfortunately, your experience has become the norm, rather than the exception.

Charging top prices for mostly unobtainium products, or requiring a potential customer to pass a social media background investigation before being granted the privilege to pay (often questionable) 'luxury' prices (mainly for a better fit & finish relative to their Chinese analogues -- never thought I would have to say that, but, now, it has to be said), or having your catalog available for hands-on demo/actual purchase only via the gray market is a recipe for failure.

Though, to be fair, here is the official word on the subject from Rolex --
'The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part. Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches – something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised. This level of excellence requires time, and as we have always done, we will continue to take the necessary time to ensure that all our watches not only comply with our standards of excellence, but also meet the expectations of our customers in terms of quality, reliability and robustness. Rolex does not compromise on what it takes to produce exceptional watches.
All Rolex watches are developed and produced in-house at our four sites in Switzerland. They are assembled by hand, with extreme care, to meet the brand's unique and high-quality standards of quality, performance and aesthetics. Understandably, this naturally restricts our production capacities – which we continue to increase as much as possible and always according to our quality criteria.
Finally, it should be noted that Rolex watches are available exclusively from official retailers, who independently manage the allocation of watches to customers.'

Why the Rolex watch shortage is a 'perfect storm'

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17 hours ago, freddy333 said:

Though, to be fair, here is the official word on the subject from Rolex --
'The scarcity of our products is not a strategy on our part. Our current production cannot meet the existing demand in an exhaustive way, at least not without reducing the quality of our watches – something we refuse to do as the quality of our products must never be compromised. This level of excellence requires time, and as we have always done, we will continue to take the necessary time to ensure that all our watches not only comply with our standards of excellence, but also meet the expectations of our customers in terms of quality, reliability and robustness. Rolex does not compromise on what it takes to produce exceptional watches.
All Rolex watches are developed and produced in-house at our four sites in Switzerland. They are assembled by hand, with extreme care, to meet the brand's unique and high-quality standards of quality, performance and aesthetics. Understandably, this naturally restricts our production capacities – which we continue to increase as much as possible and always according to our quality criteria.
Finally, it should be noted that Rolex watches are available exclusively from official retailers, who independently manage the allocation of watches to customers.'

Why the Rolex watch shortage is a 'perfect storm'

 

Laughable. They can hire enough people to build as many as they want. The problem is that if they built enough to keep up with demand, they become another Omega or Tag Heuer, and then they aren't "special" anymore.

 

The last part is correct though. The AD's aren't doing them any favors. Case in point, I have a good friend that used to live in the midwest before he moved to Florida. He was back in his old hometown, and walked into the local AD that he had bought a Daytona from 20+ years ago. When asked if the AD had anything in stock, he was initially told no, that everything they had allocated was already spoken for and there was a waiting list for everything. Friend asked if he could get on the list for a Sub, was told it would be years, so he asked if there was a list for a YachtMaster II and was told yes. After wandering around the store and talking about watches in general, the AD walks into the back room and produces a YMII and tells him it's his if he wants it. No Rolexes on display, and everything was allocated, to here's a YMII if you want it.

 

 

 

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On 11/29/2022 at 11:01 AM, tomhorn said:

Laughable. They can hire enough people to build as many as they want. The problem is that if they built enough to keep up with demand, they become another Omega or Tag Heuer, and then they aren't "special" anymore.


I think there may be some truth to Rolex's comments --

Rolex Is Reportedly Building a New $1 Billion Factory

 

Rolex plans new factory and 2,000 jobs in Switzerland

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