The Replica Luxury Watch Market Exposed

by: Amani Liggett

When one hears the words “replica luxury watch” the first thing the generally pops into mind is a comical image of a shady guy in a trench coat trying to sell a replica Rolex on the street.  But it is not necessarily a laughing matter; these illegal copies of authentic watches cause an estimated one billion dollars of losses each year to the watch industry. The Swiss Customs Service estimates that up to 40 million counterfeit watches are put into circulation every year. So with each purchase of a counterfeit watch, consumers are not only hurting the legitimate watch industry, but also slowing the global economy, as well as participating in criminal activities.

 

The most common fakes are made to resemble watches made by Rolex and Brietling, big names in the luxury watch industry. But there is also a huge replica watch market for the popular brands Chanel and Gucci. About half of these counterfeits are made in China and sold to tourists. However, a fair amount are made in America and moved across the country to be sold out of car trunks along with fake purses and wallets. Many websites online actually boast the authentic look of their fake watches, and insist their product is better and more reliable than other replicas.

 

There are two main types of counterfeits on the market, one is by trademark violation and the other is by design violation. A trademark violation watch will copy the brand name or symbols of a legitimate watch. It also includes any false claims like “Water/Shock Resistant” or claiming to be made of gold, silver, or any other precious metals. Oftentimes, replica watches will have a few legitimate parts, such a leather straps or gold buckles to fool potential customers. A design violation is when a counterfeit is designed to look like an original, such as using the same model as a Rolex or Audemars.  Both of these types of counterfeits are illegal and production can result in jail time.

 

fake Rolex
A fakeRolex, or Folex

As Valentine’s Day approaches, and many feel their purses tightening, the temptation to wow your significant other with what they think is a genuine Chanel or Bvlgari watch is probably quite hard to resist. The risk factor, however, is not truly worth the gain. Especially if your girlfriend finds out that Gucci watch she has been showing off is a fake! Best to stick with a modest but classy watch for Valentine’s this year.

Stuhrling Original: Luxury or Just Luxury Style? Inexpensive Fine Watches Inspire Mixed Reviews

Written By: Catherine Wolinski

Stuhrling Original, a well-known watch maker, has been getting some mixed reviews from customers regarding the authenticity and worth of its products. While many are appreciative of the much more modest pricing of Stuhrling watches, others resent the brand for selling mock luxury timepieces at lower prices.

Stuhrling Original Winchester Revolution
Stuhrling Original Winchester Revolution

 Looking at the Stuhrling Facebook page, one would deduce that the young watch manufacturer (the company was only established in 1999) is experiencing great success on the market.  The page displays comments from customers, fan photos, and a generally very positive reaction to Stuhrling products.  However, other reactions around the web are anything but.

 A post from the watch forum watchlords, titled “I Hate Stuhrling Orginial,” reads:

“I can’t stand the sight of that intellectual property thief Larry Magen…Take almost any Stuhrling and you will find a high end brand that the design has been lifted from.”

The author of the statement refers to Lawrence “Larry” Magen, Stuhrling’s president of North American Operations.  While it is stated in Magen’s company bio that he has a history of “’wholesale to the public’ name brand discount operations”, he is described as a successful businessman with a specialty in creating top-quality, high-end merchandise for buyers of fine jewelry.  Larry is quoted in the site biography:

“This position gives me the opportunity to bring my talents, my abilities, and my passion for watches to the table…The purchase of a beautifully crafted timepiece is indeed a magical experience for the client filled with excitement, anticipation and pleasure. And I have found that I get just as much of a rush providing a fine piece of jewelry or timepiece as my client does in receiving it.”

Larry Magen, Stuhrling Original president of North American Operations
Larry Magen, Stuhrling Original president of North American Operations

The watches are largely sold through direct response marketing, better known as home shopping networks. Many Stuhrling owners view Magen’s television program on ShopNBC, a shopping network that offers top brands at more reasonable values.  Viewers can purchase the product online as they view the program on their television, and the system appears to be well received:

“Great looking watches on ShopNBC on the Stuhrling show,” one Facebook fan writes.

“Larry has hit a home run with the new Winchester Revolution,” says another. I just love it. I got the Goldtone. And my gosh, two mainsprings, wow.”

 However, no opinion is ever unanimous, and some consumers continue to express bitterness toward Stuhrling name, due to its questionable integrity.  Another comment from watchlord reads:

“No, I don’t’ want a Tourbillon for $800 if it means stealing Cartier’s Balon Bleu Tourbillon design.  Fake ‘originial’ designs for fake people, or just plain uninformed [people].”

The range of response received by Stuhrling Original is certainly an interesting and unusual characteristic of a luxury watch maker, but does not seem to be significantly harming sales.

Michael Kors – A Brief History

Michael Kors watches

One of the most personal things one can wear is their watch; they are a perfect mix of function and form and represent all that Michael Kors Watches stands for, luxurious and chic design. To capture the jet setter in all of us, Michael Kors brings value and quality to his line of watches that is reflected in the pricing. The unique aspect is the attention to detail in the designs, from stitching to fabrics used; they perfectly coordinate with his clothing line, handbags and accessories.

In the 1980’s in New York, Michael Kors began a line for Lothar’s in Manhattan. He immediately began to draw customers in and soon the press took notice. He branched out in 1981 to launch his own brand and in 1983 his talent was recognized with the First American Original award from Dupont, the first of many he would receive. His focus was on ready-to-wear clothing that incorporates accessories and swimwear in a manner that they all work in unison. In 2001 he launched a men’s line which also incorporated accessories as well as a full scale line of clothing. In 2004 timepieces for both men and women were included in the mix with the Michael Michael Kors launch.
There are flagship boutiques throughout the United States and internationally in such places as Japan, the Middle East, Seoul, Milan, Munich and London. In 2006 accessories were aggressively campaigned throughout the world.

Fashion and style are a major focal point for Michael Kors, each watch shares features such as water-resistance, stainless steel or leather straps and they are either analog or chronograph. He uses Swarovski crystals or mother of pearl on the dial face and plated over stainless steel in black, silver, two-tone, gunmetal, rose gold or yellow gold metals.
The straps are also made of polyurethane, ceramic, acetate or polyurethane wrapped links. The leather straps are done in mixed materials and patterns from python to crocodile and other exciting patterns. They are available in bright colors as well. The more formal versions come with a signature adjust-o-matic closure and the sports styles use a secure sport clasp. Some of the unique features on Michael Kors Watches are the signature buckle and crown and the etched case backs. A built-in stop watch is featured on the chronograph style with a push button start and rest. Michael Kors does everything with style and finesse, his logo is inscribed throughout the design details of the watch and on the closure clasp and dial.

Finding Discount Watches online

With so many luxury timepieces costing thousands of dollars, it’s easy to see why many consumers would seek out discount watches.  The problem is where to find them.  There are many reputable horological dealers across the country, but finding the right one can be a difficult task.  There are also many networks of owners looking to trade or sell their luxury watches, though identifying and entering these networks can be difficult as well.

watch store
Finding the right place for Discount Watches can be trick

Fortunately, the internet offers a few solutions for those looking for discount watches.  Ebay offers a bevy of fine watch pieces.  Ebay also has things such as watch sets, fancy bracelets or straps, or watches without straps for customizations.  Craigslist also offers many of these items, though lacks the reputation and security of Ebay, so should be used with caution.  Amazon also occasionally has discounts on new watches, as well as used watches being sold by Amazon customers.  There are also a variety of specialty sites selling used and vintage watches for discounted prices.

Of course, buyers must always be careful of discount watches they are interested in purchasing over the internet.  Buyers should be wary of poor quality images or stock photos used to display any watch; moreover, watches with no photos should generally be avoided.  Also, because the chances of inspecting the watch prior to purchase are slim to none, it is almost impossible to verify whether or not the watch is what is actually advertised on any website.  This isn’t to say that every watch put on these sites are damaged, replicas, or otherwise not what they appear.  Simply, one must always use common sense and take deals that seem too good to be true with a grain of salt.