Swiss Protection Racket

As some of you may know, the Swatch Group has decided in their monopolistic wisdom to follow other prestige watch brands such as Rolex and TAG Heuer, and will stop selling spare parts for their watches to independent dealers and repairers such as ourselves.  This ruling will come into force on 1/1/2016 and will affect the owners of the following watch brands:

  • Longines
  • Omega
  • Rado
  • Union Glashuette
  • Breguet
  • Harry Winston
  • Blancpain
  • Glashuette Original
  • Jaquet Droz
  • Leon Hatot
  • Tissot
  • Balmain
  • Certina
  • Mido
  • Hamilton
  • Calvin Klein
  • Swatch
  • Flik Flak

How this affects you

Swatch will tell you this move is to protect the integrity of their brand, and in particular ensure that only ‘qualified’ watchmakers will work on your watches.  Of course the real reason is Swatch want to ensure that owners of their watches pay through the nose for any repair and servicing work, ensuring you have no option other than to pay whatever they want.   By any standards this is an abuse of free market economics and represents a monopoly that is impossible to justify.

They are effectively attempting to devalue the large investment you have made in buying one of their watches and effectively tie you in to a no get out maintenance contract at high cost.  We would urge you to visit their showrooms and tell them directly that you won’t be purchasing a new watch because you don’t want to be tied to their overpriced servicing.

You can also feel free to tell the Swatch Group what you think of their decision by contacting them.

How it affects your Watch Repairer 

It’s going to get very difficult for Independent repairers to work on the watch brands listed above.  Swatch is telling the watch industry that any existing watchmaker or service provider is welcome to apply become an accredited repairer.  What they don’t tell you is this will involve the purchase of circa £35K’s worth of equipment, much of which they already have, but specifically branded tools must be bought from ‘their friends’ in the industry in order to be able to repair all the various brands.  This ultimately would mean a complete rebuild and re- tool of any existing workshop with multiple equipment being purchased to do the same task.

The argument of service quality is of course complete nonsense.  As an independent repairer of vintage Omega watches, we put a lot of time and effort into repairing your watches, and in many cases bring watches back from the dead that the Swatch Group wouldn’t touch with a very long bargepole.  We also do it a fraction of the price charged by Swatch Group.  The current Swatch repair price list is shown at the bottom of this page.  Perhaps Swatch can answer this question;  ‘What kind of idiot would pay £616 ($925USD) to service a typical Omega cal 267 manual wind watch when the watch itself is worth  only worth £300?’.  We currently charge £80 for a basic service on this model….

Without access to spare parts, this is going to be more difficult to do in the future, but not impossible.

How we will continue to defeat the Swiss Protection Racket

We will continue to offer service provision on Omega vintage watches and of course bring good quality serviced and prepared vintage models to market for purchase online via our website.  In most cases we can complete satisfactory servicing without the need for any additional parts at all. High quality generic parts will continue to be available such as mainsprings, crystals and gaskets.  We also hope that the monopoly situation will be exploited by entrepreneurial manufacturers who will tool up to create more pattern parts.

Genuine Omega spares will continue to available from certain  ‘out of network’ sources and we will take great delight in continuing to exploit these where available.  We will also continue to use New old Stock and quality donor parts where an option to buy new doesn’t exist.

Protecting your investment

It’s important to stress that Swatch don’t care at all about independent watchmakers.  They want them only to disappear, so we have no power to reverse their decision.  Only you the customer can influence the Swatch Group and we would urge you to express your dissatisfaction directly to them.

Swatch have no interest in your vintage collection either or even protecting their own brand heritage, they just want your money.  We love vintage watches, and will continue to do everything we can to support their sale and repair.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I just recently had to get a Submariner serviced because it was losing time. It was less than 4 years old! Over £400. Felt ripped off! However, I just had a new battery fitted to a Seamaster in Debenhams for £40. (Including pressure testing). I pointed out that I had another Seamaster battery replaced by Watches of Switzerland a few years previously and it was over £100. The guy told me most of the jewellers in Glasgow send the watches to Debenhams for batteries and then charge the customer a small fortune!!!!!!!

    • Martin says

      Same has happened with car dealerships. I am not into the latest computer driven cars but am content with a couple of old Mercedes I have had for many years. Both are immaculate and both serviceable by independants. Recently bought a Peugeot for my elderly mother, figured a french brand living in france could not go wrong. BIG mistake…Only repairable by Peugeot who charged an arm and a leg to fit parts that only they carry and then they had to program the new replacement part to the car. A total rip off and excessive servicing prices too.
      Recently took in my gold Polaris to have a battery changed to dealer…..if they had quoted me a reasonable price would have done it…but 95 euros for a Renata battery??

  2. says

    that doesn’t surprise me at all Brian. Depressing but true. Finding anyone in a high street jeweller who even knows how to open the back of the watch is pretty hard these days. I had a jeweller guy ring me recently who didn’t even own a basic watch case opening tool.

  3. says

    For curiosity sake I asked how much it would cost to give my 1966 C-case Constillation a service at the Omega shop in Glasgow. I got told it would cost around 500 quid and they would have to send it to Switzerland!? It only cost me £600 to buy. I declined the kind offer. ????

  4. Mel Price says

    I have a collection of watches and rotate wearing them. My Omega Geneve cal 601 is almost 50 years old and runs perfectly, the dial is in great condition. I get it cleaned and serviced by an old chap who used to have his own watchmakers shop. You can still find good repairers if you look around.

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