I’m truly sorry to dredge up this subject once again – but I’ve been asked by some highly influential people to pontificate on the sordid subject of ‘so called’ clone watches.
A few weeks ago I shared an exchange of messages back and forth with Monochrome-Watches.com Editor, Founder, Head-Honcho and newly-wed: Frank Geelen. This tête-à-tête was initiated by a ‘clone’ watch Frank saw in the window of an Italian jewelry shop. We then played a little game of ‘yeah – but did you know about THIS one’ sending links to auctions for clone watches back and forth. By the time we were done we were both a bit shocked at how many there were and we were also a bit horrified that the companies that created these watches were not fly-by-night organizations, they were generally well-regarded brands in the industry, with serious credentials and credibility at stake!
Frank asked if I could revisit the subject touched upon in August’s write-up about the legal action between Audemars Piguet and Tommy Hilfiger (read it here). This time we’ve ratcheted up the stakes by focusing on real watch brands – not just a fashion designer’s ‘also ran’ watch contraptions. Bulova, place your hands on the dashboard – you are under arrest!
From the proud maker of the very first electronic wristwatch come a slew of clones! I know that I have mentioned the Bulova “Royal Oak” before. There’s one for sale on Ebay (click here). What the exact historical context is, we don’t know. Some rumors even say that Genta offered this design to Bulova, before selling it to Audemars Piguet. Whether that’s the case or not, Bulova has found “inspiration” from other brands on another occasion. It seems that the proud American firm dialed down in the rolodex to the section marked “R” for these. Tell me if they remind you of anything?
Gevril(ly got to see these!) It literally (and accurately) states on the Gevril website: “Although the company has been making fine Swiss watches for more than 250 years, many people never heard of Gevril until it was acquired in 2001 by watch industry insider Samuel Friedmann.”
Too true! Anonymity aside, Gevril as a holding company controls and/or distributes a basket of brands: Fortis and Lorenz two name two of the more horologically significant. How much ‘horological significance’ went into these? First up, a pastiche of a Gerald Genta creation that some of you may recognize.
And then… well this:
Utterly Speechless / Cover bands:
In the music industry there is a tradition performing ‘cover’ songs. Performers pay homage (there’s that word again!) to the artists that inspire them by interpreting their songs. In the 60’s lots of acts that went on to acclaim in their own right began by performing cover versions of popular songs. It could be argued that a whole genre of music, the much-maligned ‘Progressive’ movement, was spawned by performers taking pop hits and transforming them into obtuse sounding songs with entirely new arrangements. But we’re not talking about music. We’re not talking about new arrangements or innovations. At the end of the day we’re talking about an octagonal bezel with 8 hexagonal screws in it. We are talking about a 40mm diving case with a black dial and the familiar face that we know as the Submariner! Also – we’re not talking about up-and-coming brands – or back alley creations. The watches shown here are made by successful organizations with lengthy histories and achievements… taking the easy way out.
Feel free to shock us! Comment with some of your favorite cover-watches! (Remember, Monochrome-Watches.com is family entertainment, so do try to keep your comments respectable!