Bulova Royal Oak

ATTACK OF THE CLONES! See What Happens When a Body and Face are CLONED – But the Soul is Nowhere to be Found!

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!

bulova2

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?

Bulova Day-Date

and

Bulova Submariner

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.

Gevril Audemars Piguet ROO

GV2 Gevril Corsaro – Audemars Piguet RoyalOak Offshore Grand Prix

And then… well this:

Gevril Tribeca

Gevril Tribeca

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! ;)

Mario Squillacioti

Mario got his first watch as a gift at age 9. That first watch started a life-long passion for watches, mechanical devices and design oriented consumer products. We look forward to reading his exploits as he experiences the very best the international watchmaking industry has to offer in his home of Shanghai, China.

View all articles by Mario Squillacioti

8 Responses to “ATTACK OF THE CLONES! See What Happens When a Body and Face are CLONED – But the Soul is Nowhere to be Found!”

  1. Thomas says:

    The Royal Oak is definitely an AP design, and the Bulova is a clone. A little bit of research shows that the Bulova Royal Oak has an ETA 2892 movement. This movement was introduced in 1975 and the AP Royal Oak was introduced in 1972. So I think that pretty much makes it impossible for Bulova to have produced the Royal Oak before AP. Moreover, in this interview Gerald Genta himself states that the design of the Royal Oak was commissioned by AP: http://www.veryimportantwatches.com/files/pdf/creating_desing_rules_en.pdf

  2. Geo says:

    Very interesting story Ans subject Mario,
    Thanks for the great read.
    Geo

  3. Frank Geelen says:

    We’re fully aware of the entire history of the Royal Oak, Thomas. If you doubt, please search here on Monochrome and you’ll find all historical information and a link to the very same interview. However, some say… ;)

  4. Bob P says:

    Well, where to begin? Look at these for exemple:

    http://www.steinhartwatches.de/en/OCEAN-vintage-Military-,477.html
    Or
    http://shop.skywatchsite.com/

    Going on trial to stop these rip-off brands is too expansive and too long. And who to blame, customers or brands? Most people will never be able to afford a Rolex or Blancpain. But instead of accepting this fact, they buy a cheap substitute. Rip-off brands dwell on this.

  5. D Florez says:

    I thought all the clones came from Invicta and Stuhrling Original.

  6. Brava says:

    Is that abomination you show: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix, really a Genta design or is it basically just as much a “pastiche” of the original Royal Oak, much worse in my view, than the Bulova?

  7. Alex says:

    !!!! I love the Gevril Newman!!! WTF!!!!

  8. Gary says:

    Bulova have a track record of muddying historical waters in order to try and hijack the achievements of others. See the Bulova version of the “moonwatch” saga (to which their two main ACTUAL contributions were a failed attempt to get the Speedy blocked from the US Government and a Bulova instrument dying and requiring that a Speedy be left in the craft as a substitute. Oh, the glory).

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