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The Watch Appreciation Thread (Reviews and Photos of Men's Timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, JLC etc...) - Page 2614  

post #39196 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowndes View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippyh View Post

This sense of outrage over Rolex and US Customs seems to come up periodically on every watch forum I've ever frequented for as long as I can remember.

From http://www.crownandcaliber.com/watches/rolex/how-do-you-import-a-rolex-watch-into-the-united-states/
Why is Rolex allowed to place these restrictions? According to the US Customs regulation, restrictions on imported goods do not apply when: (1) Both the foreign and the U.S. trademark or trade name are owned by the same person or business entity; [or] (2) the foreign and domestic trademark or trade name owners are parent and subsidiary companies or are otherwise subject to common ownership or control.” Many assume that Rolex USA is under common ownership with Swiss Rolex in Geneva. However, the owner of Swiss Rolex, Manufacture des Montres Rolex S.A. Bienne, has granted Rolex USA with the U.S. Registration for the “Rolex” logo. Therefore, the trademark of the Swiss Rolex watches that are created in Geneva and sold in the United States are owned by Rolex USA, which means the foreign and U.S. trademark are owned by separate business entities. This is why the Rolex watches sold in the United States are applicable to the importation restrictions.

Just to be clear I wasn't outraged at all. At first it simply didn't make any sense to me as to why Customs would be confiscating Rolexs so I figured there had to be more to it. After researching a bit it at least made some sense.

Sorry, the sense of outrage comment wasn't aimed at you.
post #39197 of 48312
As an aside, I wonder what happens to the confiscated watches...
post #39198 of 48312
From that link I posted, "The Rolex watches were confiscated and were later auctioned off for export only."

I remember a long time ago reading someone's personal experience with this issue talking about how he was at least able to get them to return the watch to the dealer who sent it. This was in the late 90's.

I also recall some one describing how they bought a Rolex while on a cruise and being hassled on entry to the US because they were also wearing one they already had. But I think that had more to do with customs trying to assess duty on the one he already had since he had no proof he hadn't just bought it.
post #39199 of 48312
What if you bring two rolexes with you on an international trip? Do they confiscate them upon re-entry? It's price protection not trademark protection and shouldn't be something that our government is protecting through our customs agents.
post #39200 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tried and True View Post

I don't know....

Lol plus one.
post #39201 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowndes View Post

No, what I am saying is that as owner of the Rolex trademark they get to set whether their goods can be imported into certain countries and under what circumstances. This has more to do with trademark law than with a distribution agreement (although I'm sure the distribution agreement says the same thing Customs wouldn't be enforcing this if there was no trademark on the product. U.S. Customs could care less what a third party distribution agreement says I would imagine). Basically it sounds like Rolex has told Customs that they do not want Rolexs being imported into the U.S (which they have the right to do as owner of the trademark) and Customs is enforcing that. From what I have read this seems to be more of a concern when somebody attempts to mail a Rolex into the U.S. as opposed to bringing one in while travelling.

As far as the penalty then yes that sounds like the consequence. Although as a consumer that is buying a fairly expensive item I would hope they would read the rules regarding importing an item before purchasing. It really takes less than a minute googling to figure out that it is not a great idea.

Also, I'm not a trademark lawyer and could be completely wrong on the above but that is what I came up with after doing a bit of research.

Understood - thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

...

There is an old saying, "Ignorance is not a defense."  I know if I were going to buy an expensive watch overseas and ship it to the US, I would do my homework.  Hell, knowing that watches do on occasion get stolen in the shipping process, I know its not something I would contemplate doing just to try to save a little money.  

In the end, I'm sure plenty of people get away with shipping a Rolex into the US.  However, if you are unlucky and get caught shipping a Rolex into the US, the watch gets confiscated by customs.  I'm not saying I agree with this policy, simply I wouldn't waste my time trying to battle Rolex USA and US Customs.  I would either buy a Rolex in the US, or physically travel abroad, buy the Rolex I want and then import it lawfully by wearing it back into the US, thereby avoiding any problems.   Its simply again a matter of a person's level of risk aversion.  If someone wants to play roulette with an expensive watch they just bought, that is totally up to them and I wish them the best of luck!!!

Thanks Dino - while I am familiar with the saying, this makes little sense to me. If you buy a luxury item overseas - that is not endangered or prohibited back home - and carry it back for personal use, I can understand that you may have to pay duties/taxes, but confiscating seems bizarre. Not sure that I can think of other non-endangered/prohibited items that get the same treatment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zippyh View Post

This sense of outrage over Rolex and US Customs seems to come up periodically on every watch forum I've ever frequented for as long as I can remember.

From http://www.crownandcaliber.com/watches/rolex/how-do-you-import-a-rolex-watch-into-the-united-states/
Why is Rolex allowed to place these restrictions? According to the US Customs regulation, restrictions on imported goods do not apply when: (1) Both the foreign and the U.S. trademark or trade name are owned by the same person or business entity; [or] (2) the foreign and domestic trademark or trade name owners are parent and subsidiary companies or are otherwise subject to common ownership or control.” Many assume that Rolex USA is under common ownership with Swiss Rolex in Geneva. However, the owner of Swiss Rolex, Manufacture des Montres Rolex S.A. Bienne, has granted Rolex USA with the U.S. Registration for the “Rolex” logo. Therefore, the trademark of the Swiss Rolex watches that are created in Geneva and sold in the United States are owned by Rolex USA, which means the foreign and U.S. trademark are owned by separate business entities. This is why the Rolex watches sold in the United States are applicable to the importation restrictions.

All of this seems rather bizarre and customer unfriendly to me; but if they can get away with it, Rolex has a very powerful protection mechanism.
Edited by TheTukker - 12/23/14 at 5:48am
post #39202 of 48312
Unsavory, if not illegal.
post #39203 of 48312
Is any other watch brand able to do this? Or for that matter, any other brand?
post #39204 of 48312
Also another question (this one can probably be answered by Google but am on a mobile and am lazy) Rolex USA and Rolex in the rest of the world have different owners? How did that come about.
post #39205 of 48312

I don't blame them.  Rolex have a powerful brand. Maintaining it is expensive, and a big part of the price paid by enthusiastic TWATters.  Like many other luxury manufacturers, they are faced with the dual problem of an easier grey market thanks to the internet, that exploits relatively small price differentials that they use to tune their market strategies in different countries, and the massive increase in counterfeiting and its quality.

 

To name but a few: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Panerai, Omega, Raymond Weil and Tissot all have their own boutiques  now, even in the small market where I live.  The trend is towards "solus" outlets - one brand, one price, everyone knows what they get.  Yes, it's an effort to take control of pricing and restrict the grey market.  Yes, it costs some independents their business (unless, as in several of the cases above, those independents open the boutiques in question as the price of the agency).  And yes, it makes it harder for any of us to find a good discount.

 

But, so what?  If it were my brand and I'd built it, I'd try to prevent someone from undermining my full price sales by shifting massive numbers from markets where I'm trying to grow or maintain share with a discount or, more commonly, keep prices harmonised in different tax regimes, at my own cost.  I'd also try damn hard to stop people importing fakes of my product, and stealing both from my bottom line and my reputation.

 

So, Rolex had a smart idea: they incorporated a company in the US.  They "sold" it the exclusive rights to the Rolex trademark in the US.  That's not unsavoury, that's just smart: now, if they have to discount to compensate for high sales taxes in the EU, some sneaky devil there can't export back into the US and exploit their subsidy to unfairly undermine their US agents who are supposed to be selling at the same price.  What's more, they no longer have to rely on a US Customs official to be aware of, let alone expert in, identifying fakes.  Nobody can ship a fake Rolex to the US: all the Customs guy has to see is the name and logo and it's illegal as a trademark infringement, and that's that.  Even if that's not the real concern to Rolex, it's a very tidy way of dealing with it.

 

I sympathise, especially as a bottom-feeding cheapskate who can't bear to pay full price for anything.  But business is business, and I've no criticism of Rolex for being really good at protecting theirs.  After all, isn't that brand integrity and excellent residual value part of the whole appeal of owning a Rolex in the first place?  It's certainly part of why I'd like one.

post #39206 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post

I don't blame them.  Rolex have a powerful brand. Maintaining it is expensive, and a big part of the price paid by enthusiastic TWATters.  Like many other luxury manufacturers, they are faced with the dual problem of an easier grey market thanks to the internet, that exploits relatively small price differentials that they use to tune their market strategies in different countries, and the massive increase in counterfeiting and its quality.

 

To name but a few: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Panerai, Omega, Raymond Weil and Tissot all have their own boutiques  now, even in the small market where I live.  The trend is towards "solus" outlets - one brand, one price, everyone knows what they get.  Yes, it's an effort to take control of pricing and restrict the grey market.  Yes, it costs some independents their business (unless, as in several of the cases above, those independents open the boutiques in question as the price of the agency).  And yes, it makes it harder for any of us to find a good discount.

 

But, so what?  If it were my brand and I'd built it, I'd try to prevent someone from undermining my full price sales by shifting massive numbers from markets where I'm trying to grow or maintain share with a discount or, more commonly, keep prices harmonised in different tax regimes, at my own cost.  I'd also try damn hard to stop people importing fakes of my product, and stealing both from my bottom line and my reputation.

 

So, Rolex had a smart idea: they incorporated a company in the US.  They "sold" it the exclusive rights to the Rolex trademark in the US.  That's not unsavoury, that's just smart: now, if they have to discount to compensate for high sales taxes in the EU, some sneaky devil there can't export back into the US and exploit their subsidy to unfairly undermine their US agents who are supposed to be selling at the same price.  What's more, they no longer have to rely on a US Customs official to be aware of, let alone expert in, identifying fakes.  Nobody can ship a fake Rolex to the US: all the Customs guy has to see is the name and logo and it's illegal as a trademark infringement, and that's that.  Even if that's not the real concern to Rolex, it's a very tidy way of dealing with it.

 

I sympathise, especially as a bottom-feeding cheapskate who can't bear to pay full price for anything.  But business is business, and I've no criticism of Rolex for being really good at protecting theirs.  After all, isn't that brand integrity and excellent residual value part of the whole appeal of owning a Rolex in the first place?  It's certainly part of why I'd like one.


Hate those Rolex dudes.

cb19845533b7ad3253205aa665bdfe79.jpg
post #39207 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post

I don't blame them.  Rolex have a powerful brand. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Maintaining it is expensive, and a big part of the price paid by enthusiastic TWATters.  Like many other luxury manufacturers, they are faced with the dual problem of an easier grey market thanks to the internet, that exploits relatively small price differentials that they use to tune their market strategies in different countries, and the massive increase in counterfeiting and its quality.

To name but a few: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Panerai, Omega, Raymond Weil and Tissot all have their own boutiques  now, even in the small market where I live.  The trend is towards "solus" outlets - one brand, one price, everyone knows what they get.  Yes, it's an effort to take control of pricing and restrict the grey market.  Yes, it costs some independents their business (unless, as in several of the cases above, those independents open the boutiques in question as the price of the agency).  And yes, it makes it harder for any of us to find a good discount.

But, so what?  If it were my brand and I'd built it, I'd try to prevent someone from undermining my full price sales by shifting massive numbers from markets where I'm trying to grow or maintain share with a discount or, more commonly, keep prices harmonised in different tax regimes, at my own cost.  I'd also try damn hard to stop people importing fakes of my product, and stealing both from my bottom line and my reputation.

So, Rolex had a smart idea: they incorporated a company in the US.  They "sold" it the exclusive rights to the Rolex trademark in the US.  That's not unsavoury, that's just smart: now, if they have to discount to compensate for high sales taxes in the EU, some sneaky devil there can't export back into the US and exploit their subsidy to unfairly undermine their US agents who are supposed to be selling at the same price.  What's more, they no longer have to rely on a US Customs official to be aware of, let alone expert in, identifying fakes.  Nobody can ship a fake Rolex to the US: all the Customs guy has to see is the name and logo and it's illegal as a trademark infringement, and that's that.  Even if that's not the real concern to Rolex, it's a very tidy way of dealing with it.

I sympathise, especially as a bottom-feeding cheapskate who can't bear to pay full price for anything.  But business is business, and I've no criticism of Rolex for being really good at protecting theirs.  After all, isn't that brand integrity and excellent residual value part of the whole appeal of owning a Rolex in the first place?  It's certainly part of why I'd like one.

Thanks Mimo - you are making good points here and I should have been more clear: I am not blaming Rolex; all the more power to them. I am just surprised that this is being enforced, thereby facilitating Rolex approach to differentiate pricing strategies in various markets.
post #39208 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleksandr View Post

Also another question (this one can probably be answered by Google but am on a mobile and am lazy) Rolex USA and Rolex in the rest of the world have different owners? How did that come about.
It's common practice for multinational corporations to create separate corporate entities in the various countries where they operate. It is usually done for liability protection rather than, in the case of Rolex, price protection. The Rolex/Rolex USA setup is not bulletproof. I have a dozen lawyers in my Rolodex (yep, old school) who could pierce the veil, given the time and resources.
post #39209 of 48312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tried and True View Post

It's common practice for multinational corporations to create separate corporate entities in the various countries where they operate. It is usually done for liability protection rather than, in the case of Rolex, price protection. The Rolex/Rolex USA setup is not bulletproof. I have a dozen lawyers in my Rolodex (yep, old school) who could pierce the veil, given the time and resources.

Yes but I would imagine they would all eventually go back to the same bunch of beneficial owners?
post #39210 of 48312
So I came across an interview with the person who drew up a staggering number of famous watches for everyone from Timex to Patek Philippe, and I thought it might be of interest...

Gerald Genta Interview: Creating Design Rules

He gives props where due:

Interviewer: Is there a watch that you would have liked to
have designed?
Genta: I regret not having designed the Oyster!
Because, to me, it represents the biggest
success in watchmaking. Today, we cannot
find a single watch that could possibly
stand up to and pose a challenge to the
Oyster in terms of stylistic breakthrough!


This concisely sums up most of the industry:

Interviewer: However, there are clients who like them…
Genta: The taste of the client is important. And
the client could be anyone from among us.
Historically, there have been junctures in
time when there were many people who
were utterly lacking in culture, in fine taste.
We sold them anything.

Worth reading in its entirety. The bit about cranking out watch designs for 15 CHF a pop early in his career is amazing, not to mention the fact that he was never credited for his work until much later in life. It's satisfying to find stuff like this; for actual content, it outweighs a thousand blog advertorials, as far as I'm concerned. Would love to know what others think.
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